Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Aboriginal people of the Larrakia language group lived (and still do) in the greater Darwin Region before European settlement. They had trading routes with Southeast Asia, and imported goods from as far afield as South and Western Australia. Established 'songlines' penetrated throughout the country, allowing stories and histories to be told and retold along the routes.
The Dutch visited Australia's northern coastline in the 1600s, and created the first European maps of the area, hence the Dutch names in the area, such as Arnhem Land and Groote Eylandt, which still bears the original old Dutch spelling for "large island".
The first British person to sight Darwin's harbour appears to have been Lieutenant John Lort Stokes of HMS Beagle in 1839. The ship's captain, Commander John Clements Wickham, named the port after Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who had sailed with them both on the earlier second expedition of the Beagle.

Pre-European settlement
The Northern Territory was initially settled and administered by South Australia, until its transfer to the Commonwealth in 1911. On 5 February 1869, George Goyder, the Surveyor-General of South Australia, established a small settlement of 135 men and women at Port Darwin. Goyder named the settlement Palmerston, after the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. In 1870, the first poles for the Overland Telegraph were erected in Darwin connecting Australia to the rest of the world. The discovery of gold at Pine Creek in the 1880s further boosted the young colony's development. Upon Commonwealth administration in 1911, Darwin became the city's official name.
On 19 February 1942 at 0957, during the World War II, 188 Japanese warplanes attacked Darwin in two waves. It was the same fleet that had bombed Pearl Harbor, though a considerably larger number of bombs were dropped on Darwin, than on Pearl Harbor. The attack killed at least 243 people and caused immense damage to the town. These were by far the most serious attacks on Australia in time of war, in terms of fatalities and damage. They were the first of many raids on Darwin.

Main article: Bombing of Darwin (February 1942) 1900 - present
Darwin has the largest proportional population of indigenous Australians (9.7% in 2006) of any Australian capital city

Darwin is situated in the Northern Territory, on the coast of the Timor Sea at geographic coordinates 12°27′S, 130°50′E.
Darwin is closer to the capitals of three other countries than to the capital of Australia: Darwin is 3144 km (1953 mi) away from Canberra. Dili (East Timor) is 656 km (408 mi) from Darwin, Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) is 1818 km (1130 mi), and Jakarta (Indonesia) is 2735 km (1699 mi) from Darwin. Even Singapore is only slightly farther away at 3360 km (2088 mi), and so is Manila (Philippines) at 3206 km (1992 m).

Geography and climate
Darwin city itself is built on a low bluff overlooking the harbour, but most of the city is flat and low lying. The city has an extensive coastline featuring several recreational reserves and excellent fishing.
Darwin has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry season runs from May to September (the southern hemisphere winter), during which nearly every day is warm and sunny, and afternoon humidity averages around 30%. There is very little rainfall between May and September. In the coolest months of June and July, the daily minimum temperature may dip as low as 14°C (56°F), but very rarely lower, and frost has never been recorded.
The wet season is associated with tropical cyclones and monsoon rains. The majority of rainfall occurs between December and March (the southern hemisphere summer), when thunderstorms are common and afternoon relative humidity averages over 70% during the wettest months. It does not rain every day during the wet season, but most days are warm to hot with plentiful cloud cover; January averages under 6 hours of bright sunshine daily. The hottest month is November, just before the onset of the main rainy season. Darwin has the most daily average sunshine hours (8.4) of any Australian capital with the most sunshine from April to November. Climatically Darwin has more in common with Singapore than Sydney as it sits well inside the tropical zone.

Topography and climate
The older part of Darwin is separated from the newer Northern Suburbs by Darwin International Airport and Royal Australian Air Force Base. Palmerston is a satellite city 20 kilometres south of Darwin that was established in the 1980s and is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Australia. The rural areas of Darwin including Howard Springs, Humpty Doo and Berry Springs are experiencing strong growth.

As a result of air raids and cyclones, Darwin has few historic buildings although some of the stronger stone structures survived and have been restored. Since Cyclone Tracy all buildings are constructed to a strict cyclone code. Steel is a popular building material and led to a distinctive modern style associated with Darwin known as 'Troppo'. Southeast Asian influences are also apparent in some of the architecture. A growing population and relatively scarce land has seen a boom in high rise apartment style housing in recent years especially around the central business district and coastal fringes.

Built environment
The Darwin City Council (Incorporated under the Northern Territory Local Government Act 1993) has governed the City of Darwin since 1957. The Darwin City Council consists of 13 elected members, the Lord Mayor and 12 aldermen. The City of Darwin electorate is organised into four electoral units or wards. The names of the wards are Chan, Lyons, Richardson, and Waters. The constituents of each ward are directly responsible for electing three aldermen. Constituents of all wards are directly responsible for electing the Lord mayor. See Darwin City Council
The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory convenes in Darwin in the Northern Territory Parliament House. Darwin is also home to Government House, Darwin which is the official residence of the Administrator of the Northern Territory, Australia.

The two largest economic sectors are mining and tourism. Mining and energy industry production exceeds $2.8 billion per annum. .

As of the 2001 census, there were 6,441 students attending primary schools within the area covered by the Darwin City Council. There were also 3,943 students engaged in secondary education; 2,825 in government schools and 1,118 in independent schools. There are 35 primary and pre-schools, and 12 secondary schools (including both government and non-government). Most schools in the city are secular, but there are a small number of Christian, Catholic and Lutheran institutions. Students intending to complete their secondary education work towards the Northern Territory Certificate of Education, which is recognised in all states and territories. Many of the schools are undergoing renovations and reconstruction. Schools will be restructured into Primary, Middle and Senior schools beginning in 2007.
The central provider of tertiary education in the Northern Territory is Charles Darwin University. It covers both vocational and academic courses, acting as both a university and an Institute of TAFE.


Darwin, Northern Territory Recreation and culture
On 1 July, Territorians celebrate Territory Day. This is the only day of the year, apart from the Chinese New Year, when fireworks are permitted. In Darwin, the main celebrations occur at Mindil Beach, where a large firework display is commissioned by the government.
Weekly markets include Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (Thursdays and Sundays during the dry season), Parap, Nightcliff and Rapid Creek markets.
The Darwin Festival [2], held annually, includes comedy, dance, theatre, music, film and visual art and the NT Indigenous Music Awards. Other festivals include the Glenti, which showcases Darwin's large Greek community, and India@Mindil, a similar festival held by the smaller Indian community. The Chinese New Year is also celebrated with great festivity, highlighting the Asian influence in Darwin.
The Speargrass Festival is held annually the week prior to July's first full moon and celebrates the alternative Top End lifestyle. The festival activities include music, screening of locally produced films, screen printing, basket weaving, sweat lodge, water slides, human pyramid, hot tub, frisbee golf, spear throwing, Kubb competition, bingo, communal organic cooking, morning yoga, meditation, greasy pig and healing circles. The festival occurs at the Speargrass property, 50kms northeast of Pine Creek.
The Darwin beer-can regatta, held in August, celebrates Darwin's love affair with beer and contestants' race boats made exclusively of beer cans. Also in Darwin during the month of August, are the Darwin Cup horse race, and the Rodeo and Mud Crab Tying Competition.

Events and festivals
Darwin is home to the Indo-Pacific Marine & Australian Pearling Exhibition, which houses an aquarium complete with living coral, and its complementary sea life.The Museum of the Northern Territory in Darwin gives an overview of the history of the area, including exhibits on Cyclone Tracy and the boats of the Pacific Islands. Darwin has a vibrant arts scene given its size. The Darwin Festival, Darwin Fringe festival and "Bass in the Grass" concert are annual events. Darwin has a range of quality indoor and outdoor live music venues hosting local and visiting acts. A range of art galleries including specialised Aboriginal art galleries are a feature of Darwin.
Darwin of the 1960s is evocatively captured by Peter Goldsworthy's book 'Maestro' in which he describes it as.. "That small, tropical hothouse of a port, half outback, half oriental, lying at the tip of northern Australia" 'Sit Down Up North' written by current Northern Territory Administrator Ted Egan paints a portrait of Darwin in the 1950s and its characters.
There have been no major films set in Darwin, however some scenes for a war era feature film by Baz Luhrmann will be shot in Darwin in 2007.

The city has many miles of unpolluted beaches, including the Casuarina Beach and well renowned Mindil Beach, home of the Mindil Beach markets. Darwin City Council has designated an area of Casuarina Beach as a free beach which offers a designated nudist beach area since 1976 . Swimming in the sea during the months of October - May should be approached with caution due to the presence of Box jellyfish.
Saltwater Crocodiles are very common in all waterways surrounding Darwin and occasionally are even found swimming in Darwin Harbor and on local beaches.
Fishing is one of the recreations of Darwin locals. Visitors from around the world flock to Darwin aiming to catch the prized barramundi, an iconic fish for the region. The Mary River, Daly River, South and East Alligator River are just a few of the water bodies where the barramundi thrive. Outstanding blue water fishing are also available off the coast of Darwin, Spanish Mackerel, Jewfish, Queenfish, Snapper and countless more are all found in the area and accessible in a day trip from Darwin. Lake Alexander is a man-made lake which is generally considered safe and is located at East Point Reserve.
The Darwin Surf Lifesaving Club[3] operates long boats, surf ski's and provides events and lifesaving accreditations.

Darwin has extensive parks and gardens. These include the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, East Point Reserve, Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Charles Darwin National Park, Knuckey Lagoons Conservation Reserve, Leanyer Recreation Park, The Nightcliff Foreshore, Bicentennial Park and the Water Gardens in Jingili.

Parks and gardens
Considering its moderate size Darwin has a lively nightlife scene. Darwin's Mitchell Street is lined with nightclubs, takeaways, and restaurants, many with al fresco-style dining. This is the entertainment hub of the city. A reasonable choice of dining options caters for a wide range of often Asian-inspired tastes. There are several smaller theatres, three cinema complexes (CBD, Casuarina, Palmerston) as well as the Deckchair Cinema. The Deckchair Cinema is an open-air cinema which operates through the dry season, from April to October, and screens an independent and arthouse films.
Music is celebrated at both the Darwin Festival, Darwin Fringe festival and yearly "Bass in the Grass" concert. Local and visiting bands can be heard at venues including the Darwin Entertainment Centre, The Vic Hotel, Happy Yess, and Brown's Mart.
Most sports are catered for and some facilities are world class. Outdoor pursuits such as fishing and camping are very popular with Darwin residents.

Every two years since 1991 (excluding 2003 due to the SARS outbreak), Darwin has played host to the Arafura Games [4], a major regional sporting event. In July 2003, Darwin hosted its first international test cricket match between Australia and Bangladesh and then Australia and Sri Lanka in 2004. Australian-rules football and rugby league are played all year round. Melbourne's Western Bulldogs Australian Football League side plays one home game at Marrara Oval each year. The ATSIC Aboriginal All-Stars also participate in the AFL pre-season competition. In 2003, a record crowd of 17,500 attended a pre-season game between the All-Stars and Carlton Football Club at Marrara Oval.
The Marrara Oval near the airport has stadiums for Aussie Rules, cricket, rugby union, basketball (and indoor court sports), football(soccer), athletics and field hockey.
Darwin hosts a round of the V8 Supercars every year bringing thousands of motorsports fans to the Hidden Valley complex.
The Darwin Cup culminating on the first Monday of August is a very popular horse race event for Darwin and draws large crowds every year to Fannie Bay Racecourse. While it is not as popular as the Melbourne Cup, it does draw a crowd and, in 2003, Sky Racing began televising most of the races. The Darwin Cup day is a public holiday for the Northern Territory (Picnic Day public holiday).

Darwin residents have access to four free-to-air television services. Two of these are privately owned by incorporated companies, Southern Cross Darwin and the Channel Nine Darwin (formerly branded as Channel 8). The third free-to-air television service is provided by the national broadcaster SBS. The fourth free-to-air television service is provided by the national broadcaster, ABC. Darwin has two commercial radio stations, Hot 100 and Mix 104.9, along with other stations including the university-based 104.1 Territory FM that is relayed throughout the Territory, dance music station KIK FM, and ABC Radio.
Darwin has only one major daily newspaper with dedicated local content, the Northern Territory News which is produced by News Corporation. The Darwin Sun, also produced by News Corporation is a small free weekly newspaper focusing on local stories and deriving income from advertising sales. Other Australian national daily newspapers such as News Corporation's The Australian is also available.

Darwin has no intracity rail. The Alice Springs to Darwin rail line was completed in 2003 linking Darwin to Adelaide. The first service ran in 2004. The Ghan passenger train service from Adelaide via Alice Springs and Katherine runs two to three times per week depending on the season.
Darwin International Airport has flights to Singapore (Tiger Airways and Jetstar Airways), Bali (Garuda Indonesia), Brunei (Royal Brunei) and East Timor (Air North). Qantas operates domestic flights between Alice Springs, Gove, Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Virgin Blue flies to Brisbane, Skywest Airlines and Airnorth fly to Broome.
Darwin can be reached via the Stuart Highway which runs the length of the Northern Territory from Darwin through Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and on to Adelaide. The greater Darwin area is served by Darwin Bus Service.
Ferries leave from Port Darwin to island locations, mainly for tourists. A ferry service to the Tiwi Islands, the Arafura Pearl operates from Cullen Bay.
Darwin has a new deepwater port at Darwin East Arm, which is capable of handling Panamax sized ships.

Tourism is one of Darwin's largest industries. Tourism is a major industry and employment sector for the Northern Territory. In 2005/06, 1.38 million people visited the Northern Territory. They stayed for 9.2 million nights and spent over $1.5 billion. The tourism industry directly employed 8,391 Territorians in June 2006 and when indirect employment is included, tourism typically accounts for more than 14.000 jobs across the Territory.
Darwin is a hub for tours to Kakadu National Park [5], Litchfield National Park [6]and Katherine Gorge. The Territory is traditionally divided into the wet and dry, but there are up to six traditional seasons in Darwin. It is warm and sunny from May to September. Humidity rises during the green season, from October to April bringing thunderstorms and monsoonal rains which rejuvenates the landscape. Tourism is largely seasonal with most tourists visiting during the cooler dry season which runs from April to September.

Aviation history

Flag of Greece - Kalymnos, Greece
Flag of the United States - Anchorage, Alaska, United States
Flag of Indonesia - Ambon, Indonesia
Flag of the People's Republic of China - Haikou, People's Republic of China
Flag of Australia - Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands
Flag of East Timor - Dili, East Timor

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