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Darwin: an Australian community

Darwin: Australias Asian gateway.

[4.1] Aerial view of Darwin


Geography for Australian Citizens

In this chapter you will

learn about:

learn to:

factors that contribute to Darwins sense of identity factors causing change in Darwin individuals, groups and levels of government involved in the process of change community responses to change the purpose, structure and actions of community groups in responding to change.

define the community describe the factors causing change in Darwin and the impacts of change on the community analyse the strategies of individuals, groups and different levels of government in responding to change explain the impacts of change on the community of Darwin identify a community group and describe how it responds to change interpret maps using geographical tools interpret population pyramids.

Darwin: a changing Australian community

Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, its seat of government, and a major commercial and administrative centre. Darwin was named by Lieutenant Stokes in 1839 during an exploratory voyage around the coast of northern Australia in the HMS Beagle. He named the city after the famous scientist and naturalist Charles Darwin, who had earlier sailed with him on the Beagle. However, it was not until 1869 that European Australians finally successfully settled in the area. Darwin The first European settlement Palmerston was under South Australian Location: 12 40'S 130 80'E administration and remained so until the Northern Territory was ceded to Area: 210 496 square kilometres Population: Darwin 114 400; Palmerston the Commonwealth in 1911. 71 900; Litchfield 25 900 Europeans, of course, were not the first to live in the Darwin area. Tens Indigenous population: 9.7 per cent of thousands of years before European settlement, the area was inhabited Age structure: 22.6 per cent of the population by the Larrakia people, who moved about their country hunting and fishing. between 0 and 14, and 14.9 per cent 55 years and over (2006) The arrival of Europeans threatened the lives of the Larrakia. Europeans Median age: 32 years brought diseases that the people had not been exposed to before, and as the Europeans established settlements and cleared the country, the land and sea resources, which the Larrakia had relied upon, began to diminish. Nevertheless, the Larrakia people have survived in Darwin and they continue to maintain their culture.
Darwin Harbour is twice the size of Sydney Harbour in area; however, it is much shallower.

[4.2] Key to map of Darwin

The Northern Territory comprises approximately 17.5 per cent of the landmass of Australia but is inhabited by only 1 per cent of Australias population.

4 : Darwin: an Australian community

[4.3] Topographic map of Darwin



Geography for Australian Citizens

Darwin is located in the tropical north of Australia, and is closer to many Asian cities than to Sydney or Melbourne. It is strategically located as a major potential gateway to Asia Australias frontier city as [4.4] shows. Despite its proximity to Asia, Darwin is quite different from many Asian cities to its immediate north, particularly in terms of population size. Darwins population has been constrained by poor soils and a harsh environment.

frontier city a city located on the boundary of two regions

[4.4] Darwin is strategically located as a gateway to Asia

[4.5] Darwin city is mostly low rise with a tropical and relaxed atmosphere

[4.6] Diners at the wharf precinct in Darwin

Factors contributing to the sense of identity

Tropical climate
Darwin has a tropical monsoon climate with a distinctive wet season in the summer months and a dry winter. Most of the rain falls as a result of the summer monsoon, between December and March. On average Darwin is Australias wettest capital, with a mean annual rainfall of 1706.5 millimetres. During the wet the humidity is regularly over 80 per cent. During the dry season from May to August there is little or no rainfall, temperatures are a little cooler and the air is much less humid [4.7]. Due to Darwins location, 12S of the Equator, the city experiences very little temperature variation, with warm temperatures all year round.

4 : Darwin: an Australian community

[4.7] Climate graph for Darwin
C 35 30
Temperature average maximum


mm 400

Precipitation average minimum

The lifestyle in Darwin is relaxed and leisurely as the climate and coastal location encourage outdoor living for much of the year. People tend to dress casually to suit the tropical climate. During the wet season, low-pressure systems form across northern Australia. Tropical cyclones occur during this period from October to April.

25 20 15

At 1 am on 25 December 1974, Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin. It had a profound effect on the changes that have occurred in Darwin in the past thirty-five years. 100 10 The tropical cyclone originated on 20 December 1974 in a tropical low that had 5 developed in the Arafura Sea between Timor and Irian Jaya. By 21 December, the low had intensified and moved south. By 24 December it was heading directly for 0 0 J F MAM J J A S O N D Darwin and in the early hours of Christmas Day wind gusts of up to 217 kilometres per hour were recorded at Darwin airport. low pressure an area in which warm After Cyclone Tracy new construction standards and building codes were air is rising; it cools, introduced. There are now annual public awareness campaigns about practical safety condenses into cloud and rain may fall measures for dealing with cyclones. Residents are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the general system of cyclone warnings [4.8] There are public awareness programs about and stages. These are broadcast regularly on radio and TV as a safety in the event of a cyclone in Darwin community service. Many households keep a well-stocked cyclone emergency kit. After Cyclone Tracy, Darwin had to be virtually rebuilt. As a result it is a very new city. There are not many buildings in Darwin older than 35 years.


Cyclone Tracy

[4.9] Most of Darwins houses, many of which were built of fibro sheeting on stilts, were destroyed by Cyclone Tracy


Geography for Australian Citizens

Darwins population
Cultural diversity
Darwin is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Australia with people from 130 countries speaking sixty languages. In the 2006 ABS census, 20.6 per cent of Darwins population was born overseas. The three most common languages spoken at home other than English were Greek, Chinese languages and Australian Indigenous languages.

Indigenous population
Aboriginal people own approximately half of the Northern Territory under the Land Rights Act.

Indigenous people make up a significant proportion of Darwins population 9.7 per cent of Darwins population identified themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in the 2006 ABS census. This contrasts with the figures for Australia as a whole in which 2.3 per cent of the population identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The Chinese community

Chinese people originally came to the Northern Territory in the nineteenth century to work as labourers in mines and on roads. Today they continue to be an integral part of the Darwin community, playing a significant part in the social, cultural, political and economic affairs of Darwin. The Chinese community is particularly active. This is evidenced through the activities of the community organisation the Chung Wah Society. The society aims to: promote harmony and goodwill between Chinese residents in the Northern Territory and people of other nationalities promote the general, cultural, educational and social interests of its members provide and maintain the Chinese temple as the centre of worship. An initiative of the Chung Wah Society was to establish the Northern Chinese Museum in Darwin in the 1990s. The museum contains a wealth of information on the history of the Chinese in the Northern Territory. It pays tribute to the ancestors of Darwins Chinese community and the contribution they have made to Darwins multicultural society.

In the late nineteenth century, there were up to seven times more Chinese in the Northern Territory than any other ethnic group.

[4.10] Darwin is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Australia

4 : Darwin: an Australian community The Greek community

A long-established and significant Greek community resides in Darwin. Greek people began migrating to Darwin in the early twentieth century. A large group of people came from the island of Kalymnos in the 1950s. Today there is still a large group of Greek-born people living in Darwin, although their numbers are declining as the population ages. In 2006, Greek was still the most common language other than English spoken by Darwin residents at home, with 2.3 per cent speaking Greek at home. Darwins Greek community continues strong cultural traditions through organisations such as the Greek Orthodox church and the Greek school in Nightcliff, and maintaining the Greek language and organising the annual Glenti Festival, which attracts Greek people from all over Australia.


South-East Asian communities

Darwins sister cities are Ambon in Indonesia, Anchorage in Alaska, Haikou in the Peoples Republic of China, Kalymnos in Greece and Milikapiti on Melville Island in the Northern Territory.

South-East Asian communities, in particular Filipino, Timorese and Indonesian, are well represented in Darwin. They play an important economic, social and cultural role in Darwin. While some of Darwins East Timorese community have lived in Australia for decades, many arrived over the past two decades to escape the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. The Darwin communitys support for the East Timorese was seen when they rallied to their defence when the Department of Immigration refused to grant some refugees visas, saying that it was safe for them to return to East Timor. The difficulty for many of these people is that their children have been born in Australia and it is the only life they know. They are also worried about there being few job prospects for them in East Timor. The opposing argument is that many of these people would have the skills to assist in reestablishing the newly independent East Timor.

[4.11] The strong Asian presence in Darwin is particularly evident at the markets where there is a range of Asian foods available

The young capital of Australia

Darwin is the youngest capital in Australia, with 32 the median age of the population compared with 36.6 years for Australia as a whole. Only 5 per cent of residents are over 65 compared with 13 per cent nationally. The age structure of Darwins population can be compared with the age structure of Australias population in [4.12] and [4.13].




Geography for Australian Citizens

[4.13] Population pyramid for Australia, 2006
males females 100 years and over 95-99 90-94 85-89 80-84 75-79 70-74 65-69 60-64 55-59 50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39 30-34 25-29 20-24 15-19 10-14 5-9 0-4 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 males females

[4.12] Population pyramid for Darwin, 2006

100 years and over 95-99 90-94 85-89 80-84 75-79 70-74 65-69 60-64 55-59 50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39 30-34 25-29 20-24 15-19 10-14 5-9 0-4 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

Source: 2006 Census of Population and Housing Australia

Source: 2006 Census of Population and Housing Australia Source: ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing, Darwin (Statistical Division) NT, 2068.0

Impact of Darwins location on the population

Many Anglo-Celtic Australians in Darwin do not originate from Darwin. They have come to Darwin for work or for a change in lifestyle. They find themselves in a remote location far from family and friends. As a result, for these people Darwin tends to be a social place where people forge and develop new links within the community. Aboriginal people have a strong sense of identity in Darwin. They make up a large percentage of the population of Darwin and the Northern Territory. Here there has been much greater recognition of their rights and responsibilities as traditional owners of the land and sea than in many other parts of Australia. Many Aboriginal people in Darwin have a high level of confidence and pride in their Aboriginality and a strong sense of identity. There is a high level of social and cultural interaction between those Aboriginal people living in Darwin and those living in the communities of the top end. The ancestors of many AsianAustralians in Darwin were among the first nonIndigenous settlers. Others have arrived more recently, following political and social change in their home countries, including a significant East Timorese community. For many of these people, they are living in a climate that is very similar to where they have come from. They are also not far from family and friends in their home country and so can maintain close links.

Sporting life
People in Darwin tend to play several sports. The Northern Territory has one of the highest sport and recreation participation rates in Australia. There are a number of major sporting facilities located in Darwin, including the Marrara Sporting Complex,

4 : Darwin: an Australian community

[4.14] AFL is a very popular sport in Darwin
Hidden Valley Motor Sports Complex, Darwin Turf Club and Gardens Oval Complex, as well as many other sporting ovals. In addition, a range of major sporting events are held in Darwin: the city hosts the Arafura Games every two years, which attracts 4000 competitors from a range of AsiaPacific nations and from northern Australia the Darwin Cup Carnival, one of the highlights of the Northern Territorys sporting calendar, is an eight-day horse-racing carnival beginning on the first Monday of August every year the annual Australian Rules football match in which an AFL team plays a Northern Territory side made up of Indigenous players [4.14] the annual World Solar Car Challenge starts in Darwin in September each year and ends in Adelaide several days later the Territory round of V8 super cars.


[4.15] Pandanus basket weaving by Aboriginal women is an example of the many cultural activities at the markets

Markets are a popular attraction for both residents and tourists in Darwin. There are markets at Parap every Saturday morning and Rapid Creek every Sunday morning, as well as the very popular Thursday sunset market at Mindil Beach. In the dry season, the markets at Mindil Beach attract huge crowds. People start to arrive at about 5.30 pm. They bring tables and chairs and settle under the coconut palms to watch the sunset. A huge array of foods is available including Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Italian and Greek. There are also cake stalls, fruit salad bars and handicraft stalls.

[4.16] Beautiful tropical flowers can be purchased at the Parap market

[4.17] Tourists and locals alike enjoy eating a variety of Asian foods in the relaxed atmosphere of the markets


Geography for Australian Citizens

Learning about
1 2 3 4 5 Describe the location of Darwin. Describe the climate in Darwin. List the factors that contribute to a sense of community in Darwin. Describe the changes that Cyclone Tracy brought about in Darwin. Describe the age structure of Darwins population.

Learning to
1 Refer to [4.2 and 4.3] and answer the following questions. a State the scale of the Darwin topographic map. b State the direction of: i Stuart Park from Nightcliff ii Karama from The Narrows. c Name and give the area reference of two recreational facilities in Darwin. d State the grid reference of: i Mindil Beach ii Marlows Lagoon. e Measure the straight line distance from Emery Point to East Point. f Calculate the area of the garbage tip in AR 0929. g Calculate the density of buildings in AR 1524. h Using evidence from the topographic map, explain why Darwin has developed in the direction of Palmerston in the south-east, rather than north of existing northern suburbs such as Karama. i Use the topographic map of Darwin to create your own map showing the general pattern of land use in Darwin. j Compare the scale of the topographic map of Darwin with the scale of the map of Australia [4.4]. State which map has the larger scale and which map has the smaller scale. Explain. Refer to [4.7] and complete the following. a Calculate the average annual precipitation for Darwin. b Which three months have the highest precipitation in Darwin? c Calculate the total precipitation in these three months. d Compare the precipitation in the wettest three months with the precipitation in the driest three months. e Describe the temperature variation in Darwin throughout the year. Visit the Cyclone Tracy section of the Northern Territory librarys website at www.ntlib. Select either the basic or the advanced Cyclone Tracy links and complete one of the following activities. a Click on Cyclone Tracy. Use the information to write a short script for a weather forecast for 24 December 1974. b Click on Cyclone Tracy. Write a newspaper article on the impact of Cyclone Tracy on Darwin or the reconstruction of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy. c Click on Meteorological information. Use the information to prepare a poster on cyclones and their impact. d Click on Oral histories. Use these as a basis for a role play about life in Darwin.

4 : Darwin: an Australian community

4 a Refer to [4.12] and [4.13]. i Calculate the percentage of Darwin residents under the age of 45. ii Calculate the percentage of Australian residents under the age of 45. iii Calculate the percentage of Darwin residents over the age of 60. iv Calculate the percentage of Australian residents over the age of 60. b Write a paragraph comparing the age structure of the population pyramid for Darwin with the age structure of the population pyramid for Australia. Visit the home page of the Chung Wah Society at Write an article for a magazine that discusses and raises awareness of the history and contribution of Chinese people in Darwin. You have been asked by the Northern Territory government to produce a brochure on housing in Darwin to distribute to prospective residents. Your brochure should include: a a description and illustration of types and styles of housing in Darwin b information about the cost of both rental housing and housing for sale in Darwin c a discussion of price variation according to location of housing within Darwin. The website will be useful in researching information for your brochure.


Factors causing change in the community

Between June 2001 and June 2006, the population of Darwin statistical division, which includes three statistical subdivisions (Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield), 1986 5706 grew by 7500 people to 114 400, an average growth rate of 1.4 per cent per year. 1991 7804 Current projections by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimate that by 1996 12750 2021 the population of Darwin could be between 126 500 and 184 500. 2001 20788 In recent years, the biggest growth area in Darwin has been in Darwins satellite 2006 25900 city of Palmerston. Palmerston, located 20 kilometres south-east of Darwin, was established in 1981 when the supply [4.19] Fairway Waters is a typical development in Palmerston of new residential land in Darwin was diminishing. It is now one of Australias fastest growing towns. Between June 2001 and June 2006, Palmerstons population increased by 3300 people at an average growth rate of 2.8 per cent per year reaching 25 900. Population projections conducted by the ABS have estimated that Palmerstons population will reach between 36 000 and 42 000 in 2021. Within Palmerston there are two major shopping centres, nine primary schools and a high school. There is also the Palmerston campus of the Charles Darwin University (formerly the Northern Territory University).
Year Population

[4.18] Population of Palmerston, 19862006

Population growth


Geography for Australian Citizens

Urban consolidation
urban consolidation making use of existing services and encouraging medium- and highdensity residential development to prevent urban sprawl

In recent years, while a number of Darwins outer suburbs have experienced a decline in population numbers, the inner city and inner suburbs have experienced a population increase due to urban consolidation. This is particularly evident in the inner suburbs of Larrakeyah, Stuart Park and The Gardens, where a number of townhouses and high-rise units have been built. Cullen Bay [4.20] is a residential development that includes both detached houses and medium- to high-density residential development. Bayview Haven is a relatively new residential development on reclaimed wetland near Stuart Park, located 2 to 3 kilometres north of the city centre [4.21]. It is one of the larger subdivisions in Darwin, incorporating both single-house and multi-house development.

[4.20] Cullen Bay, in inner-city Darwin, is a commercial and residential development built around a marina

[4.21] Bayview Haven

[4.22] Darwins skyline is changing as high-rise apartments are being constructed along the foreshore

Responding to development
Due to the fact that there has been increasing interest from developers in the central Darwin district, the government has introduced more specific planning documents for central Darwin precincts, including planning guidelines.

Tourism is extremely important to the Northern Territory economy and to Darwin. As an industry it is one of the Northern Territorys biggest employers, accounting for more than 11 per cent of wage and salary earners. This compares to only 7.1 per cent nationally. The dry season is the tourist season in the Northern Territory, as the weather is more pleasant at this time of year and it is much easier to access the national parks.

4 : Darwin: an Australian community

[4.23] Darwin Convention Centre is attracting business travellers [4.24] Crocodiles are an attraction for tourists to the Top End


Many tourists come to Darwin on their way to Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park and Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. However, Darwin also has many of its The Darwin Symphony own attractions including the Mindil Beach markets, the botanic gardens, the nature Orchestra is renowned for performing in a variety of parks just outside Darwin, Indo Pacific Marine, Crocodylus Park, and many arts interesting places, including and cultural attractions such as the museum and art gallery, Darwin Entertainment Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. Centre and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. A major attraction for business [4.25] Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge travellers in particular is the new Darwin Convention Centre, which opened in 2008. The centre has seating for up to 1500 delegates and 4000 square metres of exhibition space. The centre is already attracting international conferences as well as being a venue for other activities such as exhibitions and conferences. The presence of tourists in Darwin is noticeable, with a large number of motels, backpacker hostels, caravan parks and hire car companies. Tourism has been a growing industry in Darwin and the Northern Territory over the past decade. The Ghan tourist service (see page 121) has contributed to increased tourist numbers, along with improved air links and visits by cruise ships.


Geography for Australian Citizens

Air links
Northern Territory tourism suffered severely with the closure of Ansett Airlines in 2001. However, more recently, new air links have opened up. Virgin Blue initially introduced flights from Brisbane to Darwin in December 2001. This was followed by flights from Sydney to Darwin in June 2003 and direct flights from Melbourne to Darwin in April 2004. International air links have also improved. In September 2006, Tiger Airways began flying between Singapore and Darwin. In February 2008 Qantas commenced its SingaporeDarwinCairns route. Royal Brunei airlines also provide services to Darwin. These air links from Asia are helping Darwin to establish itself as a value priced gateway to Australia.

Cruise ships
In recent years increasing numbers of tourists have arrived in Darwin by cruise ship, with over 40 ships arriving in 2007. The government is particularly keen to attract these ships due to the enormous contribution both the passengers and [4.26] Darwin is increasingly a stop for cruise ships crew make to the Northern Territory economy. In 2006 it was estimated that the cruise ship industry generated $13.4 million in expenditure for the Northern Territory. Government estimates indicate that each passenger spends $180 a day, while each crew member spends $150 a day. A new cruise ship terminal is currently being built as part of the Darwin Waterfront and Convention Centre development.

Defence facilities
[4.27] Darwin is home to the Fremantle Class patrol boats that patrol the Australian fishing zone and support Coastwatch and immigration activities throughout the northern sea approaches
In recent years, due to its strategic location, Darwin has seen a growth in the presence of the Australian defence forces. The defence sector has a long history in Darwin, beginning with the development of the Larrakeyah army base in 1933. During World War II, Darwin was a major strategic post. It was also the target of a number of Japanese bombing raids. Between 1942 and 1943, Darwin was attacked sixty-five times by Japanese aeroplanes. Many vessels and over 50 per cent of Darwins buildings were destroyed. As a result of the major relocation of Australian defence capabilities to the

4 : Darwin: an Australian community

Northern Territory and to Darwin, the Northern Territory is currently home to 10 per cent of Australias combat forces and attracts 6 per cent of the national defence budget. Darwin supports five major defence establishments: Robertson Barracks [4.28] Larrakeyah Barracks HMAS Coonawarra RAAF Base Darwin RAAF Base Tindall (at Katherine, 300 kilometres away). The location of the defence forces in and near Darwin contributes an enormous amount to the local economy, creating opportunities for local businesses to compete for maintenance and support contracts with the defence forces and supply goods and services to defence force personnel. The presence of the forces and their families also has had a huge impact on housing in Darwin. Currently, Defence Housing Australia (DHA) manages over 1800 properties on and off bases in Darwin. Many of these houses are located in Palmerston.


[4.28] Robertson Barracks, Darwin

The gateway to Asia

In the twenty-first century, Darwin is trying to establish itself as the gateway to Asia. Billions of dollars have been spent by the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments, and the private sector, on a number of developments including the: East Arm wharf and container terminal development of Timor Sea oil and gas $5 billion liquified natural gas plant and pipeline from Bayu-Undan AustralAsia Railway, linking Adelaide to Darwin.


Geography for Australian Citizens

[4.29] The East Arm Port is the only natural deep-water port on a 1500 kilometre stretch of the Australian coast

Development of the Port of Darwin

During the 1990s, the Northern Territory government focused on improving the freight and shipping facilities in Darwin, with the development of the East Arm wharf $200 million was spent on the first two stages of this development. Trade through the Port of Darwin includes: livestock exports offshore oil and gas rig services container and general cargo dry bulk petroleum and other bulk liquids cruise and naval vessels.

Development of the Timor Sea oil and gas

North of Darwin, in the Timor Sea, there are extensive oil and gas resources. The area is administered by the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the Timor Gap Joint Authority. The Northern Territory government administers the Ashmore Cartier Islands Adjacent Area on behalf of the Commonwealth government and the NT Adjacent Area. There are currently five producing oil fields in the Timor Sea and a number of major gas fields that are being considered for development. The Bayu-Undan gas field was discovered in 1995 and is currently being developed. This field will have twenty-six wells and is expected to provide condensate (a light oil used in refineries) and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) for about twenty years. Conoco Phillips, an American energy company, has confirmed its plans to pipe gas 500 kilometres from the BayuUndan field to Darwin. It will be converted into LPG by a new plant being built at Wickham Point then will be [4.30] Timor Sea oil and gas fields shipped to Japan for sale to DILI JOINT PETROLEUM the Tokyo Electric Company DEVELOPMENT AREA ABADI-1 EAST TIMOR Oecusse and Tokyo Gas. GREATER SUNRISE The Northern Territory KELP EVANS SHOAL Kupang government stands to gain BULLER JAHAL ELANG/KAKATUA BUFFALO considerably from the Timor CHUDITCH LAMINARIA HINGKIP TIMOR SEA BLUFF KRILL Sea oil and gas operations. BAYU-UNDAN ASHMORE AND CARTIER In addition to royalties the ISLANDS ADJACENT AREA OLIVER TENACIOUS AUDACIOUS government receives as a BRONTOSAURUS JABIRU MAPLE percentage of exploration CHALLIS DARWIN SWAN SKUA PUFFIN PROMETHEUS and operational expenditure, TALBOT N.T. PETREL PADTHAWAY MONTARA TAHBILK Darwin is benefiting and will & BILYARA CRUX TERN W.A. TITANICHTHYS continue to benefit through SPARKLE BREWSTER CORNEA BLACKTIP its role as a logistics base. Oil SCOTT REEF DINICHTHYS NORTHERN GORGONICHTHYS BRECKNOCK TERRITORY and gas operations are able BARNETT INDIAN OCEAN PRODUCING OIL FIELDS to take advantage of supply WESTERN SHUT DOWN OIL FIELDS AUSTRALIA DISCOVERED UNDEVELOPED vessels and the helicopter OIL FIELDS DISCOVERED UNDEVELOPED support and servicing GAS FIELDS PROPOSED GAS PIPELINE facilities based in Darwin. 0 100 200
LAMINARA Also includes Corellina GREATER SUNRISE Includes Sunset Sunrise, Loxion Soals, Bard and Troubadour ELANG/KAKATUA Also includes Elang West & Kakatu North

Bayu-Udan Gas Fact Sheet, Office of Territory Development, Department of the Chief Minister

4 : Darwin: an Australian community


AustralAsia railway
In September 2003 the long-awaited 1420 kilometre rail link between Alice Springs and Darwin was finally completed, creating a 3000 kilometre link between Adelaide and Darwin. The first freight train completed its journey along the rail line in January 2004 [4.31]. The railway had been planned for many years. When the Commonwealth took control of the Northern Territory in 1911, part of the plan was to build a railway linking Adelaide with Darwin. However, no date was ever specified, and for many years the line only reached as far as Alice Springs. The AustralAsia railway project was a joint initiative between government and private interests. The federal government and the South Australian and Northern Territory governments provided a [4.31] The AustralAsia railway, the worlds newest transcontinental railway combined $480 million, while the other connecting Adelaide with Darwin two thirds of the $1.3 billion project was funded through AsiaPacific Transport, Darwin Katherine 1420 km 1108 km the parent company of Freight Link. First train from 900 000 million Currently there are five freight trains Adelaide arrives sleepers produced 17 January at 1.30 pm during construction a week between Adelaide and Darwin. at Katherine Factory The freight trains are 1.8 kilometres long and are capable of carrying 250 Completed Length of containers. Previously, with the line 25 September 2003 freight trains ending in Alice Springs, freight from 1.8 km Tennant Creek 475 km No. of personnel Adelaide had to be offloaded and Sleepers 1.1 million sleepers 434 2 million transferred to road trains. produced and 1 550 000 tonnes of ballast In addition to the freight trains, Rails Tracks laid 146 000 tonnes 1420 kilometres the railway is being used by the Ghan Bridges tourist service. The Ghan, run by Great Alice Springs 0 km Inaugural journey 90 FreightLink train, Southern Railway, leases the track for First train leaves Adelaide to Darwin, Ballast Alice Springs and two passenger services a week between 15 January 2004 2.835 million tonnes heads for Darwin on 15 January at 2.15 pm Darwin and Adelaide. It also stops at Adelaide Alice Springs and Katherine. There is still some scepticism about how viable the railway will prove to 0429 be. While many hope that it will assist [4.32] The Ghan sleeper train provides transport and an experience Darwin in becoming a major hub for for tourists exports to Asia, this hinges on its ability to compete with the road train business as well as attract enough international shipping to Darwin in order to be able to export goods. Currently there are already well-established shipping routes from Asia to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, where the bulk of Australias population lives. To be successful the railway has to be able to compete with these established shipping routes.




Geography for Australian Citizens

The Indigenous population

The Larrakia and native title
Larrakia is the language group name for the Aboriginal people of Darwin. There are over 1600 Larrakia people in Darwin today, made up of eight major family groups comprising a number of interrelated individual families. There is much evidence of the long-established habitation of the Darwin area by the Larrakia people: there are hundreds of named and registered Larrakia sacred sites in the Darwin area there is significant archaeological heritage including shell middens along the shell middens significant archaeological mangrove fringes of the harbour coastline sites that contain evidence of past oral traditions and written documentation of unbroken relationship with the land, human activity sacred sites, stories and resources. The Larrakia people have lodged land claims under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and the Native Title Act 1993. One of the oldest land claims is the Kenbi (Cox Peninsula) land claim, originally lodged in 1978. In December 2000 the Aboriginal Land Commissioner recommended that the land under claim be handed back to the traditional owners. In 1996 the Larrakia also lodged a native title claim to available vacant crown land in Darwin. In April 2006 the Federal Court determined that native title did not exist in the claim area. The Larrakia appealed the decision, but in April 2007 the appeal was dismissed by the full Federal Court. Since 1997 the Larrakia people have been represented by an umbrella organisation, the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation (LNAC). The LNAC, with the assistance of the Northern Land Council (NLC), has successfully negotiated several native title agreements with the Northern Territory government and incarceration being in jail commercial developers. As a result of these, developments such as the Wickham Point LNG plant have been allowed [4.33] The Larrakia are the traditional owners of Darwin to proceed and lengthy and costly court battles have been avoided. The agreement has also made it possible for the Larrakia to undertake property development projects, including a housing development in Palmerston, which may bring substantial economic benefits to the Larrakia people. The LNAC provides services for Indigenous people living within the Larrakia Nation. In particular, the organisation focuses on providing a positive future for the young and growing Indigenous community in Darwin through employment and enterprise initiatives. They are working to address a number of challenges, including high unemployment, family violence, substance abuse and high levels of incarceration in the community.

4 : Darwin: an Australian community


The itinerant Indigenous population

The election of the Labor government in the Northern Territory in 2001 has seen a major change in the treatment of Darwins itinerant Indigenous population. Previously the Country Liberal Party government had taken a very hard line on the itinerant population and had enacted laws to control public assembly. These laws were revoked early in the term of the current Labor government. Most of the itinerant people come from top end Aboriginal communities. They come to Darwin for a whole range of reasons, including medical appointments, meeting family and friends, sporting activities and entertainment, or because of the limited opportunities in Aboriginal communities for jobs and fulfilment. They stay in Darwin and many are homeless. Many congregate around local shopping centres, drinking and engaging in anti-social behaviour. In 2003, the government introduced a strategy to deal with this population, now known as The Community Harmony Project (formerly the Darwin and Palmerstons Itinerants Project). The project includes: intervention strategies to reduce anti-social behaviour provision of adequate infrastructure including shelters, day and community facilities, accommodation health treatment and care services including expansion of current available services. The strategy experienced considerable success and hundreds of people were flown back to their communities. The government established an office in Darwin to book their travel and had paid for it upfront. Repayments came out of each individuals welfare payments in the following weeks. Accommodation was built in Darwin for the itinerant people that need to be there, and day activities such as painting and carving were introduced to keep them off the streets. The Larrakia people have played a role in reducing the anti-social behaviour of the itinerant people. Larrakia Nation cultural protocols require visitors to respect Larrakia country in the same way Larrakia or other visitors might respect other peoples country. Larrakia people visit shopping centres and other places where the itinerant people congregate and work to educate visitors to improve their behaviour and respect local traditions. Forty other service agencies in Darwin have also been involved. For example, Mission Australia, a non-denominational Christian organisation, introduced a day patrol to keep track of the itinerant people and look after their basic needs.

A community group responding to change

The Environment Centre Northern Territory
estuary a body of water where salt water and fresh water mix inter-tidal the region between the high-tide mark and the low-tide mark salt marsh low coastal grassland found in estuaries

The Environment Centre Northern Territory is a non-government organisation established in 1983. Since this time it has fought active and determined campaigns for environmental protection and management throughout the Northern Territory. A long-standing and significant effort has been the Environment Centres campaign to protect the marine environment of Darwin Harbour, which has been threatened as the city of Darwin has grown and developed. Darwin Harbour is a tropical estuary of approximately 450 square kilometres, including 23 kilometres of inter-tidal mangrove and salt marsh communities.


Geography for Australian Citizens

[4.34] Extensive mangroves occur on the tidal flats in the Darwin Harbour region

The mangroves provide nursery habitat for marine life and are home to waterbirds and other fauna. They also provide protection from storm surges and coastal erosion, and improve water quality by acting as a sink for sediments and nutrients. The harbour is also home to a huge variety of species of coral, forty-eight species of waterbirds, including twenty-five listed under international migratory bird agreements, five species of marine turtle as well as other species including dugongs, threatened Irrawaddy River dolphins, saltwater crocodiles and fish. In addition to drawing attention to the environmental value of Darwin Harbour, the Environment Centre has promoted the cultural and social values of the harbour. These include both the use of the harbour by Aboriginal people for traditional foods an essential part of their culture and the use of the harbour for recreational activities. These include fishing, diving, sailing and water skiing. The Environment Centres campaign to protect Darwin Harbour has had wide community involvement, with support from members and volunteers and donations from the public. Campaign activities have included lobbying the government and publicising the issues through the media and through its own newsletter. The Environment Centre has also been involved in the development of the Darwin Harbour Plan of Management through the Darwin Harbour Advisory Committee. In December 2003, the Northern Territory government finally released the Darwin Harbour Plan of Management. The Environment Centre was pleased that this, along with the declaration of the harbours mangroves as a conservation zone, signalled that the government was taking positive steps to protect the harbour. However, it warned that the success of the plan depended on the successful implementation of key recommendations. By 2006 community concern had again grown about the future of the harbour. The Environment Centre called for action saying that the harbour was under threat from poorly planned and poorly assessed development. They voiced concerns that the Darwin Harbour Advisory Committee, created by the government in 2003, had no power to stop the development. The centre called on the government for increased funding to prevent the harbour from becoming polluted, overdeveloped and ecologically impoverished.

4 : Darwin: an Australian community


A government responding to change

Creating Darwins Future
In 2006 the Northern Territory government undertook a community consultation project about how to make Darwin a better place to live, work and play. The overall aim of the project was to develop a vibrant, 24 hour city where residential, commercial and entertainment centres come together in an environment that has a strong tropical focus. The project used community feedback to develop the Creating Darwins Future A Tropical Harbour City strategy. As a result of the feedback, the government is proceeding with three key themes in its future development of Darwin: recreation and lifestyle making sure that the features that make the Darwin lifestyle special are protected and enhanced tourism and heritage building on Darwins unique history, heritage and physical features to protect heritage and attract new visitors development striking the right balance as Darwins industries, business and population grow. In the first stage of the project, five key actions are being implemented, focusing on the central business district (CBD): building a World War II museum next to Parliament House, commemorating the defence of Darwin creating a ribbon of green right around the CBD, stretching down to the botanic gardens giving State Square an extreme makeover, creating a focal point for people and visitors in the CBD changing the planning scheme to ensure that the CBD has a tropical and peoplefriendly feel to its streets and buildings ensuring that anti-social behavior in the CBD is controlled and minimised. The government is now working on the second stage of its community consultation.

[4.35] An oblique aerial photo of Darwin


Geography for Australian Citizens

Learning about
1 2 3 4 Describe the population growth that has been experienced by Darwin in recent years. Explain why tourism is so important to Darwin and the Northern Territory economy. Discuss the impact of the defence forces on the community of Darwin. Discuss the economic impacts of the following on the community of Darwin: a the East Arm wharf and container terminal b the development of the Timor Sea oil and gas c the AustralAsia railway, linking Adelaide to Darwin. Analyse the role played by each of the following in dealing with Darwins itinerant Indigenous population: a the Northern Territory government b the Larrakia people c community service organisations in Darwin. Describe the role of the LNAC in creating changes and improvements in the lives of the Larrakia people. Explain what the Environment Centre is and its purpose. Outline the actions that the Environment Centre has taken in responding to the development of Darwin Harbour.

6 7

Learning to
1 2 You have been commissioned by Palmerston City Council to produce either a radio or television advertisement to encourage people to live in Palmerston. Use the information on the Palmerston City Council website at to assist you to write your script. Hansard is the title for the official printed report of parliamentary debates. The Hansard for the Northern Territory parliament can be found on the Northern Territory government website at Under NT Government click on Hansard and Legislation. Then click on the parliamentary record for the current assembly. Click on question by subject. Compile a summary of the main issues facing the community of Darwin at present. In your summary: a clearly outline the issues b provide an overview of the people involved c note the changes that are likely or unlikely to come about. Write a feature article for a newspaper about Darwin and the changes it has experienced in recent years. In your article: a describe the factors causing change b explain the impacts of change on the community c analyse the strategies and actions of individuals, groups and governments in responding to change. Visit the website of Mission Australia at and search for Darwin. Investigate the role played by Mission Australia in dealing with the social problems in Darwin. Prepare a written or oral report on your findings. Visit the Northern Territory governments Creating Darwins Future webpage at Click on the interactive map to explore the location and photos of the governments future plans for Darwin.