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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 41

The Northern Territory

The Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory is the name given to that portion of the colony lying between the 129th and 138th degrees of east longitude, and north of the 26th parallel south latitude. It contains an area of 531,000 square miles. The nucleus of settlement is at Port Darwin. The climate is tropical, and with two marked seasons—the wet season from the end of October to the end of March, and the dry season. North Australia is remarkable for the number and size of its rivers, many of which are navigable.

page 109

The character of the soil in so large an area is necessarily variable; but its general fertility is unquestionable, and nearly all tropical plants, including maize, cotton, and the sugar-cane, have been grown successfully in the Botanic Garden at Palmerston. About 200,000 square miles of country have been taken up for pastoral purposes, and liberal regulations have been framed to encourage pastoral settlement.

Gold-mining has hitherto been the only industry carried on to any extent. Some splendid nuggets—recently one of 42 lb. weight—have been obtained from the alluvial diggings, and the quartz-crushing returns have in many cases shown from 4 oz. to 6 oz. to one ton.

The population of the settlement is estimated at about 400 whites, 30 Malays, and 2010 Chinese.