What Is the Capital of Northern Territory?

Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia at sunset.
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia at sunset.

The capital city of Australia's Northern Territory is Darwin. The city is located on the coast of the Timor Sea. With a population of 142,300 people, Darwin is the largest city in the Northern territory, but is the smallest of Australia's state and territorial capital cities. Due to its strategic position near South East Asia, it is the link between Australia and other nations such as East Timor and Indonesia. Darwin was named after Charles Darwin, who was a geologist, biologist, and naturalist.

History of Darwin

The first people to inhabit Darwin are believed to have been the Larrakia people. In addition to establishing trade routes in Australia and beyond, the Larrakia people are known for developing songlines throughout the country. The Dutch tried to settle in Darwin in the 1600s, but were turned away by the Larrakia. In 1839, the first British Navy, under the command of Lieutenant John Stokes, landed in Darwin. By 1875, the population of the whites in the town had increased to 300. In 1911, Darwin became the official name for the city.

The Darwin Rebellion occurred between 1911 and 1919, which included local demonstrations against unfair treatment by the Vesty Meatworks Company and the federal government, which was under the leadership of John Gilruth. Demonstrators demanded Gilruth’s resignation. Both Gilruth and Vesty Meatworks took their leave immediately after the demonstration.

There are two other significant events in the history of Darwin town. The first was the attack by Japanese aircrafts in 1942, which destroyed the town and resulted in 243 deaths. In 1974, Darwin was hit by Cyclone Tracy, which led to 71 deaths. The cyclone required the evacuation of 30,000 people, and 70 percent of the town was destroyed, and had to be rebuilt by the Darwin Construction Commission. Darwin was granted city status in 1959 on Australia Day.

Economy of Darwin

Darwin’s economy is driven by mining and tourism. Each year mining contributes about 2.5 billion dollars to the city's economy. The minerals which are extracted include gold, zinc, and bauxite. Tourism, on the other hand, employs about 8% of Darwin residents. The military is also a significant employer in the city.

Recreation and Culture

Many of the events that take place in Darwin happen at the Mindil Beach. Those events include celebration of Territory Day, Chinese New Year, and the Darwin Festival. Territory Day is celebrated on July 1st, and Chinese New Year celebrates the influence of Asians on Darwin city. Another event that draws many people is the World Solar Challenge, which is a solar-powered 3,022 km car race which attracts participation from all over the world. Most teams come from universities and corporations, and a few even come from high schools. The challenge is meant to encourage research and innovation of solar-powered cars.


More in World Facts