Mataranka, Northern Territory
|Population||252 (2006 census)|
|LGA(s)||Roper Gulf Region|
Mataranka is a community of about 400, in the Top End region of Australia's Northern Territory. The town is located about 420 km (260 mi.) southeast of the territorial capital, Darwin, and 107 km (66 mi.) south of Katherine. At the 2006 census, Mataranka had a population of 252.
The town is located near Roper River and Mataranka Hot Springs. This area is the setting for Jeannie Gunn's autobiographical account of the year 1902, We of the Never Never. The homestead, which she shared with her husband, Aeneas Gunn, until his death, has been reconstructed near to the hot springs.
The Mataranka Station is part of the Katherine Rural College of Charles Darwin University.
World War II
The Australian Army set up No. 42 Australian Camp Hospital near Mataranka. The 10th Australian Advanced Ordnance workshops camped in buildings made from paper bark trees and serviced wrecked and damaged vehicles. An ammunition depot was also in the locality. These depots were served by railway sidings off the main line.
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The main attraction in the Mataranka region is the Elsey National Park which contains Roper River and two thermal pools: Bitter Springs and Rainbow Springs. The headwaters of the Roper River inside Elsey National Park are popular for bushwalking, birdwatching, canoeing, swimming and fishing. Crocodiles are managed there. Bitter Springs Thermal Pools is on the north east side of Mataranka township at the end of Martin Road. These pools flow at a constant 32 degrees C. and are still very much in their natural state. Swimmers can glide with the current downstream to view the beautiful riparian vegetation and birdlife along the way. With a mask and snorkel, small fish and turtles can be seen as the water is fantastically clear. Rainbow Springs or Mataranka Thermal Pools as it is also known has been accessible to the public for much longer than the other areas of Elsey National Park and hence has been enhanced over time through the installation of concrete walls, staircases, boardwalks and paved areas. Rainbow Springs is about 9 km south east of Mataranka at the end of Homestead Road. The water here flows at a constant 34 degrees C. and is also beautiful and clear, superb for swimming.
Mataranka was served by the original narrow gauge railway that closed in 1976 after cyclone damage. The new standard gauge railway opened in 2003. It passes about 20 km. to the west of the town.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Community Profile Series : Mataranka (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census of Population and Housing. Retrieved 20 December 2011.