Curtin Springs

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Curtin Springs
Fuel pumps and pub at Curtin Springs Station
Curtin Springs is located in Northern Territory
Curtin Springs
Location within Northern Territory
Former namesMount Conner Station
General information
TypeCattle station
LocationPetermann, Northern Territory,
AddressLasseter Highway
Coordinates25°18′S 131°45′E / 25.300°S 131.750°E / -25.300; 131.750Coordinates: 25°18′S 131°45′E / 25.300°S 131.750°E / -25.300; 131.750
OwnerSeverin family
Landscape with Mt Conner
Signage at Curtin Springs station

Curtin Springs is a pastoral lease operating as a cattle station in the Alice Springs region of the Northern Territory of Australia.

Occupying an area of 416,400 hectares (1,028,947 acres) the working cattle station and roadhouse facility is located on the Lasseter Highway, 85 kilometres (53 mi) east of Yulara and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The property shares a boundary with pastoral leases Angas Downs to the north west, Lyndavale to the south east and Mulga Park to the south. It also abuts the Katiti Aboriginal Land Trust to the west.[2]

The land was originally known as Mount Conner Station in the 1930s when it was first taken up by Paddy DeConlay.

Abraham Andrews leased Mt Conner Station, together with vacant crown land, which became known as Curtin Springs Station around 1956, after John Curtin.[3]

Curtin Springs was built in 1943 and is now owned and operated by the Severin family who took over the pastoral lease in 1956.[4]

Peter Severin had previously worked as the head stockman on another cattle station and was gifted 1,400 head of cattle when he took over Curtin Springs for the value of the debts.[5]

Peter Severin, his wife and young son had a lonely existence with only six visitors in the first year. Going was tough with the family residing under a bough shed for the first three years.

By 1957, Len Tuit had begun operating return trips from Alice Springs to Uluru and was using Curtin Springs as a wayside to store fuel and water required for the return trip. This was the beginning of tourism in central Australia.

Soon the Severins installed fuel tanks to service the bus tours that had commenced from Alice Springs to Uluru and provided food and drink to tourists on board.

Later Severin acquired a liquor licence and started a pub which later became part of the restaurant.[5]

The Curtin Springs liquor licence has not been without controversy. It has been opposed by many local Aboriginal elders and in particular the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Women's Council, because it is considered by them to have contributed to alcohol-related violence and other social problems in nearby Aboriginal communities such as Mutitjulu, Imanpa, and Pukatja (Ernabella). In 1988, a number of elders took an action in nuisance against Severin in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, but were unsuccessful.[6] The liquor license held by Curtin Springs is now subject to special restrictions prohibiting the supply of alcohol to any Aboriginals from the surrounding communities and anyone suspected of travelling to local communities.

Water for the station and livestock is supplied by pumping it from underground with diesel or solar pumps and windmills. Cattle watering points are located in yards so that they may be passively mustered through the use of water trapping.

Murray Grey cattle are increasingly being used to improve the herd’s temperament and quality.[7] Murray Grey cattle are able to acclimatise to the desert heat better than some other breeds and their light coat colour also helps to reflect heat. Murray Grey's also have a smaller calf size so birthing is not as risky.

Over the years the Severin family have diversified the business and now offer accommodation and other services to tourists. The station offers a campground with free unpowered camping sites (without electricity). There are also powered sites (with electricity), budget accommodation and ensuite rooms available to hire. Bookings are preferred but it is possible to enquire on the day. There are also bathrooms with showers available for campers.

The station has a collection of birds in multiple aviaries around the homestead. All birds have been rescued after an injury or have been bread from captive animals so they are unable to be released into the wild.

Local tours include parts of the Amadeus Salt Lake Chain and Mount Conner which is located on the private property of Curtin Springs Station. Self-guided tours are not possible. Please contact SE-IT Outback Australia or Curtin Springs Station to book these tours.

Curtin Springs Paper and Curtin Springs Walks are two new opportunities for visitors to really engage with the Central Australia Landscape.

Curtin Springs Walks offer private guided walks for 1 or 2 days with fully packaged accommodation, meals and private guides. These walks must be booked in advance. The program of walks is available on the Curtin Springs website.

Curtin Springs Paper creates handmade paper from some of the seventeen (and counting) native grasses on the station. One hour tours run daily at 10.30 am and 4 pm. Bookings are referred. These tours allow visitors to see how the production process works and how nature can literally be transformed in this remote and special part of Central Australia. Tour participants are able to enjoy a hands on experience and access the full range of Curtin Springs Paper and jewellery (made using Curtin Springs paper) products.

In 2011 the area was plagued by the largest bushfires that had been seen there since the 1970s, some 200,000 acres (80,937 ha) of Marqua Station was burnt out.[8] More bushfires, started from lightning strikes ignited bushfires at the station in September 2012, the Lasseter Highway had to be closed in the area due to the resulting smoke hazard.[9] More fires started from dry storms in October 2012 and were left to burn in areas that were inaccessible and where high winds made containment too difficult.[10] The station lost over 250,000 acres (101,171 ha) of bush, nearly one quarter of its pasture land, as a result of the fires.[11]

The Severin family run conservative cattle numbers so they can best manage disasters such as fires and drought.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Localities within the Petermann-Simpson sub-region (CP 5080)". NT Place Names Register. Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Northern Territory Pastoral Properties" (PDF). Northern Territory Government. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  3. ^ Curtin University - Places, buildings, events, etc commemorating John Curtin's prime ministership
  4. ^ History Retrieved on 6 July 2009
  5. ^ a b Shuba Krishnan and James Dunlevie (25 April 2016). "Starting from nothing". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  6. ^ Malya Teamay; Tony Tjamiwa; Emantura Umbidong; Norman Tjakalyiri; Nelly Patterson; Judy Trigger; Lois Kanarai; Alan Wilson and Hector Burton v Peter Armstrong Severin [1988] NTSC 78 (22 December 1988), Supreme Court (NT, Australia)
  7. ^ Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society, Grey Country Magazine, June 2009, Murray Greys in the Red Centre, p.15
  8. ^ Brain, Caddie (6 September 2011). "Bushfires still burning in Red Centre". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  9. ^ Brain, Caddie (4 September 2012). "Lasseter Highway closed due to fire". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  10. ^ Brain, Caddie (23 October 2012). "Fires out of control in Central Australia". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  11. ^ Sleath, Emma (10 October 2012). "Curtin Springs battles on". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 3 January 2013.

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