Portal:Northern Territory

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The NORTHERN TERRITORY PORTAL

Introduction

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.

Selected article

Photograph of Darwin and the damage caused by Cyclone Tracy in 1974
Cyclone Tracy was a tropical cyclone that devastated the city of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, 1974. It was the most compact tropical cyclone on record, with gale-force winds extending only 48 km (30 mi) from the centre. After forming over the Arafura Sea, the storm moved upward and affected the city with Category 4 winds on the Australian cyclone intensity scale and the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale, although there is evidence to suggest that it had reached Category 5 when it made landfall.

Tracy killed 71 people, caused $837 million in damage (1974 AUD) and destroyed more than 70 percent of Darwin's buildings. Tracy left homeless more than 20,000 out of the 49,000 inhabitants of the city prior to landfall and required the evacuation of over 30,000 people. Most of Darwin's population was evacuated to Adelaide, Whyalla, Alice Springs and Sydney, and many never returned to the city. After the storm passed, the city was rebuilt using more modern materials and updated building techniques. Bruce Stannard of The Age stated that Cyclone Tracy was a "disaster of the first magnitude ... without parallel in Australia's history."

Selected picture

Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Credit: Johannes Püller

Alice Springs is a town and the second largest centre in the Northern Territory of Australia. Popularly known as "the Alice" or simply "Alice", it had a population of 26,486 in 2005. Averaging 576 metres above sea level, the town is nearly equidistant from Adelaide and Darwin, close to the geographic centre of Australia. The site is known as Mparntwe to its traditional inhabitants, the Arrernte, who have lived in the Central Australian desert in and around what is now Alice Springs for more than 50,000 years.

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