Darwin Northern Territory

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Template:Infobox Australian City Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, and is a city of 109,478 (est. June 2004) people on Australia's far north-western coastline. Darwin has a tropical climate, and is subjected to tropical thunderstorms and cyclones; the first recorded cyclone to hit Darwin was the 1867 cyclone, and much of the city was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. It is also the only Australian capital city to have come under substantial attack during any war: on February 19, 1942, Japanese planes made two major air raids on Darwin, the first of 63 air attacks experienced by the city during World War II.

Darwin has the largest proportional population of Indigenous Australians of any Australian capital city, and a significant percentage its residents are recent immigrants from South and East Asia. As such, Darwin is often called the "multicultural capital of Australia". Due to its proximity to Asia, Darwin is an important port, particularly for the live export of sheep and cattle, and of minerals. It is also the site of a large Australian Army base and a naval facility supporting patrol boat activity off Australia's northern coastline.


Darwin's harbour was first sighted in 1839 by John Lort Stokes of HMS Beagle. The ship's captain, John Clements Wickham, named the port after Charles Darwin, the British naturalist, who had sailed with him on an earlier expedition of Beagle.

The Northern Territory was initially settled and administered by South Australia, until its transfer to the Commonwealth in 1911. On 5 February 1869, George Goyder, the Surveyor-General of South Australia, established a small settlement of 135 men and women at Port Darwin. Goyder named the settlement Palmerston, after the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. In 1870, the first poles for the Overland Telegraph were erected in Darwin connecting Australia to the rest of the World. The discovery of gold at Pine Creek in the 1880's further boosted the young colony's development. Upon Commonwealth administration in 1911, Darwin became the city's official name.

On 19 February 1942, during the Pacific War, 242 Japanese warplanes attacked Darwin in two waves. It was the same fleet that had bombed Pearl Harbour, though a considerably larger amount of bombs were dropped on Darwin, than on Pearl Harbour. This aspect of Darwin's history is often overlooked when discussing World War II. The attack killed at least 243 people and caused immense damage to the town. These were by far the most serious attacks on Australia in time of war, in terms of fatalities and damage. They were the first of many raids on Darwin.

Darwin was largely destroyed on 25 December 1974 by Cyclone Tracy, which killed 50 people and destroyed over 70% of the town's buildings, including many old stone buildings such as the Palmerstone Town Hall, which could not withstand the latteral forces generated by the strong winds. After the disaster, an airlift evacuated 30,000 people. The town was subsequently rebuilt with newer materials and techniques during the late 1970s by the Darwin Reconstruction Commission. A satellite city of Palmerston was built 20 km south of Darwin in the early 1980s.

On 17 September 2003, the Adelaide-Darwin Railway was completed.

Geography and climate

Darwin is situated in the Northern Territory, on the coast of the Timor Sea at geographic coordinates Template:Coor dm.

Darwin is closer to the capitals of three other countries than to the capital of Australia: Darwin to Canberra is 3144 km. Dili (East Timor) is 656 km from Darwin, Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) is 1818 km, and Jakarta (Indonesia) is 2735 km from Darwin. Even Singapore is only slightly further away at 3360 km, and so is Manila (Philippines) at 3206 km.

Darwin has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry season runs from May to September. In the coolest months of June and July, daily temperature range is 15 to 35°C. The Wet season is associated with tropical cyclones and monsoon rains. The majority of rainfall occurs between December and March when thunderstorms are common and humidity is regularly over 70 per cent. Some of its climatic averages:

  • Mean January maximum temperature — 32°C (89°F)
  • Mean January minimum temperature — 24°C (76°F)
  • Mean July maximum temperature — 30°C (86°F)
  • Mean July minimum temperature — 20°C (68°F)
  • Mean annual rainfall — 1669mm (65.7 inches)
  • Wettest month on average — January, 422 mm (16.6 inches)
  • Rain Days: 110


File:Darwin Legislative Assembly DSC03592.jpg
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Darwin has been administed by the Darwin City Council since 1957. The Darwin City Council consists of the Lord Mayor and 12 aldermen, 3 from each of the four electoral wards, Chan, Lyons, Richardson, and Waters. The current Lord Mayor is Peter Adamson.

The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory convenes in Darwin.


The two largest economic sectors are mining and tourism. The mining and energy industry production exceeds $2.8 billion per annum. The most common minerals mined are gold, bauxite, along with manganese and many others. The energy production is mostly off shore with oil and natural gas from the Timor Sea, although there are significant uranium deposits near Darwin. Tourism employs 8% of Darwin residents, and is expected to grow as domestic and international tourists are now spending time in Darwin during the Wet and Dry seasons. Federal spending is a major contributor to the local economy as well. A good example of this is the significant military presence that that is maintained both within Darwin, and the wider Northern Territory. This is both a substantial source of employment and an avenue for federal investment of infrastructure. The continued involvement of Australian Army in the stabilisation of East Timor has swelled the military population of Darwin to over 11,000 individual as of 2001. Darwin's importance as a port is forecasted to grow in the future, due in part to the increased exploitation of petroleum in the nearby Timor Sea, to the completion of the railway link and continued expansion of trade with Asia.

As of 2005 there are two major construction projects in Darwin. One is the construction of a gas plant on Wickham point which is scheduled for completion in 2006. Another project yet to start is the upgrade of Stokes Hill Wharf. The Chinatown project is delayed and may be cancelled.


As of the 2001 census, there were 6,441 students attending primary schools within the area covered by the Darwin City Council. There were also 3,943 students engaged in secondary education; 2,825 in government schools and 1,118 in independent schools. There are currently 35 primary and pre-schools, and 12 secondary schools (including both government and non-government). Most schools in the city are secular, but there are a small number of Christian, Catholic and Lutheran institutions. Students intending to complete their secondary education work towards the Northern Territory Certificate of Education, which is recognised in all states and territories.

The central provider of tertiary education in the Northern Territory is Charles Darwin University. It covers both vocational and adademic courses, acting as both a university and an Institute of TAFE. While it has a number of campuses across the Northern Territory, its primary campus, where a large portion of the university's 19,000 students attend, is located in the Darwin suburb of Casuarina.


Central Darwin, circa 1986

Darwin is known as the "Gateway to Asia", and the city's population is very multicultural. Seventy-five nationalities are represented in Darwin, and nearly a quarter of the population self-identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Darwin's Mitchell Street is lined with nightclubs, takeaways, and restaurants, many with al fresco-style dining.

The Darwin Festival[1] held annually includes comedy, dance, theatre, music, film and visual art and the NT Indigenous Music Awards.

The Beer Can Regatta[2], held in August, celebrates Darwin's love affair with beer and contestants race boats made exclusivly of beer cans. Also in Darwin during the month of August, are the Darwin Cup horse race, and the Rodeo and Mud Crab Tying Competition.

Darwin is also home to Indo-Pacific Marine & Australian Pearling Exhibition which houses an aquarium complete with living coral, and its complementary sea life.


Darwin has only two commercial television channels, Southern Cross Darwin and the Nine Network, with the possibility of Network Ten coming from mid-2005, although it is unconfirmed. SBS and the ABC broadcast in Darwin as well. Darwin has two commercial radio stations, Hot 100 and Mix 104.9 along with other stations, including a uni-based Top 104.1 that is relayed throughout the Territory and ABC Radio.

Darwin has several newspapers Northern Territory News, produced by News Corporation is the only daily news paper in Darwin. The Southeast Asian Times and the Top End Review are produced weekly.


Every two years since 1991, (excluding 2003 due to the SARS outbreak), Darwin has played host to the Arafura Games, a major regional sporting event. In July 2003 and 2004, Darwin had the first cricket match as part of the 3 Mobile cricket tour. Rugby league and Australian Rules Football are played all year round.

One of the major events that occurs in Darwin is the V8 Supercars. This event attracts thousands of locals, interstaters and international tourists. This event occurs in the mid year period and lasts 3 days.

Darwin also has a horse racing cup carnival that starts in the last week of June and goes through to August. While it isn't as popular as the Melbourne Cup, it does draw a crowd and in 2003, Sky Racing began televising most of the races.

File:Darwin skyline.jpg
Looking north towards Darwin from the Charles Darwin National Park on the city's outskirts

Sister cities

External links


da:Darwin (Australien) de:Darwin (Stadt) eo:Darwin (Aŭstralio) fr:Darwin (Australie) he:דרווין (הטריטוריה הצפונית) is:Darwin ja:ダーウィン (オーストラリア) nl:Darwin (Australië) pl:Darwin pt:Darwin (Austrália) sv:Darwin