History - NT

Indigenous Australians have lived in the present area of the Northern Territory for an estimated 40,000 years, and extensive seasonal trade links existed between them and the peoples of what is now Indonesia for at least five centuries.


With the coming of the British, there were four early attempts to settle the harsh environment of the northern coast, of which three failed in starvation and despair. The Northern Territory was part of New South Wales from 1825 to 1863, except for a brief time from February to December 1846, when it was part of the short lived colony of North Australia. It was part of South Australia from 1863 to 1911. Under the administration of South Australia, the overland telegraph was constructed between 1870 and 1872.

A railway was also built between Palmerston and Pine Creek between 1883 and 1889. The economic pattern of cattle raising and mining was established so that by 1911 there were 513,000 cattle. Victoria River Downs was at one time the largest cattle station in the world. Gold was found at Grove Hill in 1872 and at Pine Creek, Brocks Creek, Burrundi, and copper was found at Daly River.



On 1 January 1911, a decade after federation, the Northern Territory was separated from South Australia and transferred to Commonwealth control.


In late 1912 there was growing sentiment that the name "Northern Territory" was unsatisfactory. The names "Kingsland" (after King George V and to correspond with Queensland), "Centralia" and "Territoria" were proposed with Kingsland becoming the preferred choice in 1913, however the name change never went ahead.


During World War II, most of the Top End was placed under military government. This is the only time since Federation that an Australian state or territory has been under military control. After the war, control for the entire area was handed back to the Commonwealth.


In 1978 the Territory was granted responsible government, with a Legislative Assembly headed by a Chief Minister.


Floral Emblem of Northern Territory - Sturt's Desert Rose (Gossypium sturtianum)


is a woody shrub, closely related to cultivated cotton, found in most mainland states of Australia and the Northern Territory. It has a life cycle of about 10 years, grows from 1–2 m tall and 1–2 m wide. The colour of the petals can range from pale pink to dark purple to maroon. The five petals are arranged in a whorl and have a dark red centre. There is a small cotton spore in the centre of the flower. They can be seen for most of the year but peak in late winter. They are up to 12 cm in diameter. The leaves are different shades of green, round and strongly scented when crushed.



Fauna Emblem of Northern Territory - Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)


is the largest of all kangaroos, the largest mammal native to Australia, and the largest surviving marsupial. It is found across mainland Australia, avoiding only the more fertile areas in the south, the east coast, and the northern rainforests.

Males have short, red-brown fur, fading to pale buff below and on the limbs. Females are smaller than males and are blue-grey with a brown tinge, pale grey below, although arid zone females are coloured more like males. It has two forelimbs with small claws, two muscular hind-limbs, which are used for jumping, and a strong tail which is often used to create a tripod when standing upright.


Bird Emblem of Northern Territory - Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax),


Sometimes known as the Eaglehawk (an unfitting name, as it is among the largest raptors) in its native range, is the largest bird of prey in Australia, but it is also found in southern New Guinea. It has long, fairly broad wings, fully feathered legs, and an unmistakable wedge-shaped tail. Because of both its tail and its size — it is one of the largest birds of prey in the world — it can be identified at a glance as a "Wedgie" even by the non-expert.

The Wedge-tailed Eagle is one of twelve species of large predominantly dark-coloured eagles in the genus Aquila found worldwide. A large brown bird of prey, it has a wingspan of up to 2.27 metres and a length up to 1.04 metres.

Northern Territory Northern Territory - Territorial Flag