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Northern Territory

The Northern Territory belongs to the category of tropical countries. The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia. Darwin is the capital city and was totally rebuilt after the devasting effects of cyclone Tracy. Alice Springs is approximately 1,500 kilometres to the south of Darwin and the other major city is Katherine, located near the Top End.

The earliest discovery of Australia has been attributed to the Portuguese, on the evidence of a chart dated 1542 now in the British Museum. The first recorded visit, however, is that of a Dutch vessel, the 'Duyphen,' which in 1606 accidentally fell in with the E. coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the same year the Spaniard Torres, sailing from Peru, navigated the strait that bears his name, and probably sighted the mainland. The Dutch actively prosecuted their researches along the coast, and have left numerous memorials of their presence in the names of various objects and districts.

Arnhem Land in West Australia was so called because discovered in 1623 by the Dutch ships, the Arnhem and the Pera, equipped by the governor of Amboina. Arnhem Bay and Cape Arnhem were so named by Flinders in 1803, in commemoration of this early voyage of discovery. ARNHEM (Arnheim) in the Netherlands is 'the home of Arn,' a personal name meaning ' eagle. Initially "Arnhem's Land" formed the easternmost portion of the north coast of New Holland, lying to the west of the Gulf of Carpentaria [today, Arnhem Land is over 94 000 km2 (36 200 mi2) in area and lies between Kakadu National Park, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia's Northern Territory. Modern Arnhem Land is Aboriginal territory. Visitors must obtain a permit from the Traditional Owners before entering the land.]

In 1636 little was known, and much was unknown, of the coasts of "the South-lands." The Dutch knew the West coast of Cape York Peninsula. They called it Nova Guinea, and thought that it was probably continuous with our New Guinea, which they called "the West end of Nova Guinea." They had some little knowledge also of Arnhem Land; but they had no knowledge of any land between Cape York Peninsula and Arnhem Land. They called the sea between these two lands the Gulf of Carpentaria. In April 1636 Pool sailed for New Guinea, but was "murdered by the barbarous inhabitants at the same place where the skipper of the Arnhem was killed in 1623." The voyage was continued under Pietersen. But winds blew him to "a new land," which he called Van Diemen's Land, and afterwards identified with Arnhem Land ["Van Diemen's Land" was the name subsequently applied to Tasmania]. He came home with the report that he had seen "many fires and frequent clouds of smoke, but no natives, houses, prows, or fruit-trees, though he had paddled close along the shore with an orangebay, and gone ashore in places, finding the shore wild and barren." The addition made to Dutch knowledge was that Arnhem Land or Van Diemen's Land was as "wild and barren" as all the other parts of the South-land hitherto explored.

In 1824 Captain Bremer took possession of the Northern Australian coastline for Great Britain as part of New South Wales. The attempts to occupy North Australia had not met with much success : by the mid-19th Century settlements had been placed at the mouth of the Adelaide river in Arnhem Land, and at Somerset near Cape York. Alexandra Land was the name given in 1865, without any precise definition of its limits, to the territory of N. Australia, or to that part of it which extends from the parallel of Central Mount Stuart (lat. 22" S.) northwards to the mouth of the Adelaide river (lat. 12 15' S.), thus including a portion of what has hitherto been known as Arnhem Land. The country S. of Central Mount Stuart, and intervening between it and the northern limit (lat. 26 S.) of the colony of S. Australia, had been named Stuart Land, after the indefatigable traveller J. M'Douall Stuart, who was the first to cross (in 1862) the middle of the Australian continent from S. to N., and who has given the designation of Alexandra Land to the new country which he traversed.

On 06 July 1863, the Northern Territory, or Alexandra Land an it was then called, until that time a part of the colony of New South Wales was, by Royal Letters Patent, annexed to the province of South Australia, as a reward for the enterprise shown in the promotion of the exploring expeditions of Stuart, McKin'ay, and others. It was thereupon resolved to found a settlement in this newly acquired domain, and extensive sales of land were immediately held. The first expedition, however, became disorganised, years rolled by while preliminaries were being settled, and the holders of land-orders clamored for the refund of their payments.

The South Australian Northern Territory Representation Act of 1888 constituted the Territory as a single electoral district sending two members to the Legislative Assembly and gave representation in the Upper House. In 1901 Federation gave Northern Territory, as a corporate part of South Australia, representation in both Houses of the Federal Parliament. The Commonwealth Constitution Act, however, made provision for the surrender to the Commonwealth of any Territory of any State. But in 1911 the Northern Territory formally passed to the control of the Commonwealth Government. The Northern Territory attained self-government on 01 July 1978.

The Northern Territory gets hot, particularly during the middle of the day. Some people are put off by the mere thought of the Territory's heat, as well as the humidity in the Top End. But those who live here have learned the many advantages of living in such a predictable climate. Central Australia enjoys a typical summer and winter, but without a pronounced spring and autumn. In summer, the daytime temperatures can climb to over 40 degrees Celsius, although the average maximum at even the warmest times of the year is 36 degrees. The lack of humidity, coupled with the relative cool of the night, makes summer in Central Australia not much warmer than many Australian towns. In the winter, daytime temperatures are generally around 20 degrees Celsius, although they can get quite a bit chillier on cold days. Overnight, temperatures can drop dramatically - even below zero at times.

From about Katherine north, commonly known as the Top End, there is no winter at all. People living in the Top End enjoy year round warmth. The Dry season lasts from May to October and is nothing short of perfect. While most Australians are freezing through winter, Top Enders are enjoying an average of 10 hours sunshine a day, just three cloudy days a month, low humidity and average daily temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. It's no wonder that Top Enders believe they live in paradise with sunny days, cool nights, soft breezes and clear blue skies. In fact, the weather is so perfect our schools enjoy a four-week midyear break in June to July. Between November and April spectacular thunderstorms fill the northern sky. The humidity rises markedly and the heat can become oppressive.

November to April is cyclone season - a fact of life that everyone in the Top End needs to realise. This means taking some simple, common sense precautions. For example, during the past century, Darwin has been affected by three major cyclones. After Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the Government introduced strict new construction standards and building codes, so buildings are much safer these days. Every year, awareness campaigns remind people of the steps they should take to stay safe if a cyclone watch is declared.

The Northern Territory is home to a vibrant and extensive arts, entertainment and film industry. Indigenous arts and culture is a dominant feature in Northern Territory society, which is also heavily influenced by our close Asian and Pacific neighbours. The retail, hospitality and business services sectors offer an enormous range of employment opportunities in the Territory. The hospitality industry is the second-largest employer in the NT and opportunities are always available in cafes, restaurants, clubs, bars and nightclubs. The Northern Territory is tourism heaven! Visitors and locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to unique activities and experiences, whether it be adventure, eco, luxury or budget, there are myriad options in all corners of the Territory. World-renowned destinations such as Kings Canyon, Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Parks need no further introduction. Camping and reef or river fishing are enormously popular and needless to say, the tourism industry is one of the largest employers in the Territory.

Just north of the Northern Territory vast gas resources are under development in the Bonaparte Basin. The Timor Sea is regarded as a highly prospective petroleum region and contains world scale oil and gas fields under various stages of operation, construction and consideration. With its abundant petroleum resources, central location to Asian markets and an increasing number of major resource projects in the Timor Sea and beyond, the Northern Territory is ideally positioned to be an energy center of global significance.

Mining is the engine room of the Territory economy. It is the economy's strongest sector, worth $4.3 billion in 2008-09. The Territory has some of the nation's biggest sites, including Ranger, the world's second largest uranium mine; GEMCO, the country's largest manganese project; McArthur River, Australia's third-largest zinc producer; Rio Tinto Alcan, Australia's fourth-largest producer of bauxite and alumina; and Callie, Australia's sixth-largest goldmine, in the Tanami Desert.

The large Defence presence in the Northern Territory creates opportunities for development of Darwin as a regional supply, service and distribution centre, with an increase in Territory companies providing services to Defence prime contractors. The Australian Defence Force is continually recruiting personnel in all facets of the service from Defence reserves, cadets, non-uniform Departmental jobs, and of course, Navy, Army and Air Force employment.



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