Australia's Last Goldrush Town
Tennant Creek is the hub of the Barkly Tableland that covers more than 240,000 square kilometres. The township is about 500 kms north of Alice Springs and 670 kms south of Katherine and 23 kms from the junction of the Barkly Highway to Queensland. This is the country of the Warumungu Aboriginal people. You can share their stories at Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre. The main industries are gold mining and cattle production.
In 1860 Explorer John McDouall Stuart named the local creek Tennant Creek during his epic journey to Central Australia.
The Overland Telegraph Station was built at the creek in the 1870s and was the only white civilisation in the area for many years.
In the 1930s rich gold deposits were discovered in the black ironstone outcrops in the nearby ranges, triggering Australia’s last goldrush as prospectors flocked to the area. The town sprang up 12 kms south of the Telegraph Station. Prospectors One-eyed Jack Noble and his friend the blind William Weaber, found some of the richest mines in the field.
The Noble’s Nob Mine was the beginning of the Australian Development Company, later Poseidon Gold (now Normandy Gold). This company has been continuously mining gold and copper in the area for fifty years.
At the Battery Hill complex, where the Tennant Creek Visitor Centre is housed, visitors can relive early days with a mine experience, complete with the ten stamp gold battery, a working historic plant for extracting gold. Tours are conducted daily through the Battery Hill Mine – a replica underground mine with exciting sound and lighting effects, working machinery and a “Ghost Tour” at night. The extensive McLaughlin Minerals Museum comprises spectacular specimens from around the world, and the fascinating Social History Museum shares memories of the goldfields.
Out of town attractions include Lake Mary Ann, a cool spot for a picnic or swim and home to many water birds. There’s the old Overland Telegraph Station and adjacent on the other side of the Stuart Highway is the turnoff to the Pebbles, interesting rock formations – an ideal photo opportunity. To the south are the Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) spectacular rock formations and nature walks.
Davenport Ranges is popular with 4WD enthusiasts – it's stunning country, accessible only in the dry season.
The weather in Tennant Creek for most of the year is great to fantastic. Enjoy your stay!