Northern Territory

Northern Territory
Territory flag (In detail) Coat of Arms (In detail)
Capital Darwin
Area
— Land
— Marine
— Total

1 349 129 kmē
71 839 kmē
1 420 968 kmē
Population (2002)
Density
197 700
0.15/kmē
Time zone UTC+9:30
Highest point Mt Zeil (1 531 m)
ISO 3166-2 code: AU-NT
The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia. There were four early attempts to settle the harsh environment of the northern coast, of which three failed in starvation and despair. The Northern Territory was part of New South Wales from 1825 to 1863 and was later part of South Australia from 1863 to 1911. On January 1, 1911, a decade after federation, the Northern Territory was separated from South Australia and transferred to Commonwealth control. During World War II, most of the Top End was placed under military government. This is the only time that an Australian state or territory has been under military control. After the war, control for the entire area was handed back to the Commonwealth. In 1978 the Territory was given self-government, with a Legislative Assembly headed by a Chief Minister.

The capital city is Darwin, the successful fourth settlement on the north coast; the other two sizable settlements are Alice Springs (in the desert interior 1500 kilometres to the south) and Katherine (near the base of the Top End). There are many very small settlements scattered across the Territory but the larger population centres are located on the single sealed road that links Darwin to southern Australia, the Stuart Highway, known to locals simply as "the track".

The Northern Territory is also home to two spectacular natural rock formations, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), which are sacred to the local Aborigines and which have become major tourist attractions.

For several years there has been agitation for full statehood. A referendum was held on the issue in 1998 which failed. This was a shock to both the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments, for opinion polls showed most Territorians supported statehood. However, under the Australian Constitution, the Federal government may set the terms of entry to full statehood. The Northern Territory was offered 3 Senators, rather than the full complement of 12. (With 12 Senate seats, a Territorian vote would have been worth more than 30 votes in New South Wales or Victoria.) Alongside the arrogant approach adopted by then Chief Minister Shane Stone, it is believed that most Territorians were reluctant to adopt the offer which was made.

The Northern Territory for a while was one of the first places in the world with legal voluntary euthanasia, but the Federal Parliament overturned the legislation. Before the overriding legislation was enacted, three people had been voluntarily euthanasised by Dr Philip Nietschke.

The current head of government in the Territory is Chief Minister Clare Martin of the Australian Labor Party (since August 2001).

The population of the Northern Territory is about 1% of the total population of Australia. The entire territory is covered by a combined White Pages and Yellow Pages.

Local Government Areas of the Northern Territory

External Link


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