Colonial heritagein the Northern Territory
Hear stories from the Territory’s gold mining era and get insights into the daily lives of the early settlers, farmers and telegraph operators.
The Northern Territory has a rich colonial history with tales, monuments and landmarks named after the early European explorers who traversed the landscape. It’s also home to a collection of stunning historic buildings and gardens.
Alice Springs is laden with pioneering history and heritage. The settlement of the town in the 1800s played a pivotal role in opening up inland Australia and it attracted many famous pioneering characters like explorer John McDouall Stuart, prospectors, miners and cattlemen.
These early explorers came to Central Australia seeking their fortune and to this end undertook ambitious projects like laying the Overland Telegraph Line, establishing the Old Ghan railway (the world’s first motorised road train) and developing the Royal Flying Doctor Service which represented the first aerial medical organisation of its type.
Today you can visit historic sites in Alice Springs including Anzac Hill, Old Stuart Town Gaol (completed in 1907 and is one of the oldest buildings in the region), Adelaide House (the first hospital in Alice Springs), Flynn Church and Old Hartley Street School (the first government school built in Alice Springs in the 1930s).
Government House perched on a plateau overlooking Port Darwin is one the cities most historic and scenic buildings. It was first occupied in May 1871 and today the house and gardens are opened several times each year for visitors to tour the stunning property.
In west Arnhem Land on the Cobourg Peninsula you can visit Kennedy Bay and Port Essington where, over 165 years ago, the British made an attempt to settle the area. The harsh conditions proved too much for the early colonial pioneers, but today ruins at Fort Wellington (1827) and Victoria Settlement (1838) still remain. Evidence of another failed British settlement in 1824 can be found at Fort Dundas on Melville Island.