Glorious sunsets, year round warm weather, relaxed tropical lifestyle and a warm friendly community are some of the attributes of Australia’s most northern city. Darwin is a modern vibrant city that has been largely rebuilt since Cyclone Tracy's devastation in 1974. There are extensive pathways along the foreshore, shaded picnic facilities with free electric BBQs and green gardens.
The weather in Darwin and the Top End attracts many visitors in the "Dry Season" when the southern states shiver in the winter.
Popular waterside areas to visit include Darwin Waterfront and Cullen Bay. There is a safe swimming lake, green parklands, cafes and shops at the waterfront. Lake Alexander is a scenic lake at East Point, also crocodile and stinger free.
The city is an important gateway to Asia and beyond. Fishermen’s Wharf, Stokes Hill Wharf and other port facilities provide mooring for the pawning fleets, naval survey vessels, patrol boats and other northern shipping.
The Darwin area is the country of the Larrakia Aboriginal people where the sea, coastal woodlands and rivers provided all their needs.
In the 1820s military settlements at Escape Cliffs, Port Essington and Fort Dundas were established to act in Australia’s defence but later closed because of difficulties.
In 1839 HMS Beagle explored the area. Lieutenant John Lort Stokes noticed the harbour and Captain Wickham named it after Charles Darwin who had sailed in the ship.
In 1864, a settlement called Palmerston was established after Explorer John McDouall Stuart’s epic crossing of the continent. The 1820s military outposts had long since been abandoned.
The historic telegraph cable, which connected Australia to the rest of the world, was pulled ashore at Darwin.
In 1869, the township was laid out by George Woodruffe Goyder, of “Goyder rainfall line” fame in South Australia. It was renamed Palmerston but in 1911 reverted to Darwin.
In 1870 the first pole for the northern end of the Overland Telegraph was placed in the ground at the outpost. Two years later Government House, a beautiful old seven-gabled house overlooking Darwin Harbour, was built. During the 1800s it was demolished and rebuilt, standing today bordered by a white picket fence and magnificent tropical gardens.
Darwin has had a colourful chronology of settlement, gold rushes, aviation landmarks and rebuilding processes after the bombing of Darwin during World War 11 and following the devastation of Cyclone Tracy.
City of Many Cultures
Darwin is a community of many cultures. Long before European settlement, Macassan sailors visited the shores for trepang. In the 1870s Chinese workers arrived to build the railway and hundreds more arrived after gold was discovered at Pine Creek and other places. In 1884, the pearling industry attracted people from Japan, Thursday Island, Timor and the Philippines – many were the forefathers of prominent families living in Darwin today. During the 1950s, Greek migrants arrived. Darwin’s close proximity to South East Asia has resulted in a diverse mix of nationalities including refugees from Vietnam and Timor. Darwin is Australia’s best example of how people from over 70 different cultural backgrounds can live together in harmony. The diversity is reflected in the range of foods available and the ambience and aromas of a warm tropical evening will tingle your senses as well as your taste buds. The once isolated Colonial outpost has come of age as a thriving metropolis and holiday destination.