Portal:Northern Territory

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Flag of the Northern Territory
Location within Australia

The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, occupying much of the center of the mainland continent, as well as the central northern regions. It shares borders with Western Australia to the west, South Australia to the south, and Queensland to the east. To the north, the territory is bordered by the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Despite its large area, over 1,349,129 square kilometres (520,902 sq mi) – making it the third largest Australian federal division – it is sparsely populated. With a population of 215,000, it is the least populous division in the country.

The history of the Northern Territory began over 40,000 years ago when Indigenous Australians settled the region. Makassan traders began trading with the indigenous people of the Northern Territory for trepang from at least the 18th century onwards, and possibly for 300 years prior to that, while the coast of the Territory was first seen by Europeans in the 17th century. The British were the first to attempt to settle the coastal regions of the Territory in the 19th century; however no attempt was successful until the establishment of a settlement at Port Darwin in 1869. Today the economy is based on tourism, especially Kakadu National Park in the Top End and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in central Australia, and mining.

The capital city is Darwin. Perhaps unusually for Australian states, the population is not concentrated in coastal regions, but rather along the Stuart Highway. The other major settlements are Katherine, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Nhulunbuy in the state's north-east.

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Central business district of Darwin in 2005
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin has a population of 105,991, making it by far the most populated city in the sparsely peopled Northern Territory, but the least populous of all Australia's capital cities.

The city itself is built on a low bluff overlooking the harbour. Its suburbs are spread out over some area, generally considered to begin at Lee Point in the north and end at Berrimah in the east – past Berrimah, the Stuart Highway goes on to Darwin's satellite city, Palmerston, and its suburbs.

The original inhabitants of the greater Darwin area are the Larrakia people. On 9 September 1839, the HMS Beagle sailed into Darwin harbour during its surveying of the area. John Clements Wickham named the region "Port Darwin" in honour of a former shipmate, famed scientist Charles Darwin.

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Cape Arnhem Coast, Kakadu National Park
Credit: Tourism NT

Arnhem Land is an area of 97,000 km² in the north-eastern corner of the Northern Territory, Australia. The region was named by Matthew Flinders after the Dutch ship Arnhem which explored the coast in 1623. Declared an Aboriginal Reserve in 1931, it remains one of the largest Aboriginal Reserves in Australia and is perhaps best known for its remoteness, its art, and the strong continuing traditions of its Indigenous inhabitants. Northeast Arnhem Land is home to the indigenous Yolngu people, one of the largest Indigenous groups in Australia, and one of the few groups who have succeeded in maintaining a vigorous traditional indigenous culture.

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