Quirky and incongruous, this Bohemian castle stands out in the little town of Batchelor in Northern Territory, Australia. Modeled on the famous Karlstein Castle in Czechia, it was built by Bernie Havlik, a retired mineworker from the nearby Rum Jungle Uranium Mine.
Havlik, a Czech immigrant, devoted his retirement to serve the town as a volunteer gardener after the mine closed in 1971. He built this unusual gothic castle to cover an outcrop of stubborn rock in a park in the town center. Havlik worked on the project up until his death in 1990. The castle still stands in his namesake Havlik Park as a tribute to his community spirit.
Havlik’s castle isn’t all that makes Batchelor famous. The remains of the uranium mine and its deep radioactive crater are nearby. And so is the wartime airfield, still in use, where General Douglas Macarthur first set foot on Australian soil in March 1942 after the fall of Corregidor in the Philippines. From Batchelor, the U.S., Australian, and Dutch air forces flew bombing missions on Japanese targets in Indonesia and beyond.