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The townships of Adelaide River and Batchelor are steeped in history, from the early Chinese market gardens and military presence during WWII, to the discovery of uranium and the mining at Rum Jungle. The area was originally inhabited by the Kungarakan and Warai Aboriginal clans - the first Europeans to travel through the area were members of the Goyder survey expedition in 1869. The first settlement here was not established until 1870, a base for workers on the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line.

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Adelaide River Township

Situated on the Stuart Highway 112 kilometres south of Darwin, Adelaide River offers a warm welcome to travellers. The township came to prominence following the completion of construction on the Overland Telegraph Line, followed by a hotel, police outpost and railway station. The town became a popular overnight stopover for travellers and prospectors enroute to Pine Creek following the discovery of gold there in 1871.

From 1939, with the build-up of World War II military activity, the town took on a major role as the location for a huge military base, with the 119 Australian General Hospital, army camps and thousands of service personnel stationed in the town and surrounding areas. Following the bombing of Darwin in 1942, Australian and American military headquarters were relocated from Darwin to the Adelaide River township. The town is now the site of the third-largest war cemetery in Australia, the resting place for
some 63 civilians and 434
service personnel.

 

Batchelor

Batchelor, ‘the gateway to Litchfield National Park’, lies just 100 kilometres south of Darwin. Goyder’s survey party passed through the area in 1869, and in 1874 a small roadhouse, the Rum Jungle Hotel, was constructed on the supply route. The present township stands on a section of land that was part of a demonstration farm established in 1912 by a Mr. E.L. Batchelor. The area began to flourish in 1949 with the discovery of uranium by John (Jack) Michael White. 1952 saw the expansion of the town when it became home for workers employed at the Rum Jungle Uranium Mine (White’s Mine), Australia’s first uranium mine and one of the greatest economic influences on the subsequent development of the Top End. Mining operations ceased in the early 1970s and Batchelor came under the control of the Northern Territory Administration. Batchelor Institute, in the centre of town, originally occupied the single men’s quarters of the mining company.

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