Things to do, Tennant Creek & Barkly Region, Northern Territory, Australia

History & Heritage, Tennant Creek & Barkly

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Tennant Creek Telegraph Station, Tennant Creek and Barkly Region, Northern Territory, Australia

Tennant Creek and its surrounding region are rich with tales of Aboriginal culture and the more recent European settlement. Hear the stories and learn about the town's heritage at museums, galleries and by touring important historical sites.

Nine languages

For thousands of years the Barkly area has been home to no less than nine Aboriginal groups, and the region boasts a number of sacred landmarks. Indigenous traditions and beliefs are held strongly in and around Tennant Creek and many Dreamtime stories are woven into its history.

First crossing

When Explorer John McDouall Stuart first attempted to cross the continent in 1860 he named a creek in the area after one of the trip's financiers, John Tennant. It was only ten years later that The Overland Telegraph was completed, opening lines of communication between Adelaide, Darwin and the rest of the world. The supporting Telegraph Stations still remain in Tennant Creek today and contain historical information on the town's humble beginnings.

The Adelaide to Darwin train line would eventually follow the route of the telegraph line as well. This proved important when gold was discovered. The beginning of the last Australian goldrush, and the subsequent local goldfields would attract treasure hunters from all over the world to this once quiet outpost. The Battery Hill mine is now the site of a museum profiling life during the era and other artefacts relating to the town's mining history.

Walk this way

Pick up a Historic Walk guide book available from the Tennant Creek Visitors Information Centre. Follow the self-guided walk around Tennant Creek through the town's historical attractions to learn more about its heritage and founders.

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