Northern Territory of Australia
To the north, the territory is bordered by the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Although the shape of Australia is due largely to tectonic Earth movements and long term changes in sea level, most of its topography is a result of prolonged erosion by wind and water. About 50 per cent of Australia's rivers drain inland and often end in ephemeral salt lakes. Many of the features of the drainage pattern have a very long history, and some individual valleys have maintained their position for millions of years.The Finke River in central Australia is one of the oldest rivers in the world and salt lakes of the Yilgarn region in Western Australia are the remnants of a drainage pattern which was active before continental drift separated Australia from Antarctica. Australia began its journey across the surface of the Earth as an isolated continent between about 55 and 10 million years ago, and continues to move north by about seven centimeters each year.In the following Paleogene and Neogene Periods Australia was made up of a broadly undulating landscape, varied by a number of sedimentary basins including the Murray, Gippsland, Eucla, Carpentaria and Lake Eyre basins. The Eastern Highlands also were uplifted about this time to form the Great Divide which separates rivers flowing towards inland Australia from rivers flowing to the Pacific Ocean.
Plants and animals
Mixed mulga-spinifex scrub occupies the red plains of the desert nearby, and farther to the west is a desert of hummock grassland composed of widely spaced clumps of spinifex and Triodia.In the main cattle areas of the Victoria River Downs and the Barkly Tableland, an open-tussock grassland on heavy, gray-brown cracking soils is dominated by Mitchell grass (a perennial Astrebla species) with subdominant Flinders grass (species of Iseilema) and herbs.
Kangaroos are widely distributed, but some species have restricted habitats: red kangaroos are adapted to the arid regions, rock wallabies and antilopine wallaroos inhabit the rocky ridges of the northwest, and black wallaroos are restricted to the sandstone escarpments of Arnhem Land. The echidna, an unusual egg-laying mammal, also lives in the Northern Territory.
Indigenous Australians have lived in the present area of the Northern Territory for an estimated 40,000 years, and extensive seasonal trade links existed between them and the peoples of what is now Indonesia for at least five centuries. Between 1824 and 1849 the British made several abortive attempts to establish a trading settlement on the coast; attempts were also made by the South Australian administration between 1864 and 1867. The first successful settlement was at Port Darwin in 1869. When gold mining at nearby Pine Creek and associated railway construction created a labour shortage, Chinese workers were brought in from Singapore and Guangzhou (Canton). By 1888, when immigration restrictions were imposed, the Chinese population numbered about 7,000.
People and Languages
Exploration in the Territory and known mineral resources include:
- bauxite, with the third largest bauxite mine in Australia at Gove;
- gold, with major mines in the Pine Creek area, the Tanami Desert and the Tennant Creek area;
- manganese on Groote Eylandt – one of the world’s four major producers of high grade ore;
- zinc, lead and silver, including one of the world’s largest known ore bodies at McArthur River; and
- bismuth, copper, diamonds, galena, mica, molydenum, ochre, opal, palladium, phosphate, platinum, tantalite, tin, tungsten, turquoise, rubies and wolfram.
Tourism is one of the Northern Territory’s fastest-growing industries, In the recent years, visitor figures have increased by an average of eight per cent a year with the annual growth rate for overseas visitors was about 20 per cent.
Religion and Education
Traditions, Customs, and Food
The early settlers primarily consumed meat (at first native animals, later beef and mutton), bread, and vegetables, particularly potatoes.
Australia Day is one of the key Australian traditions. It is celebrated on 26th January and is declared a National Holiday.
On this day, Aussies across the country celebrate being Australian. They are a very proud bunch and you'll see flags hanging out of car windows and houses for the entire last week of January.
Current issues and challenges facing the country
One current issue is dry land, bad soils.
For Australians, the most pressing economic issue currently facing the nation is the lack of policy direction and meaningful policy being created at the Commonwealth and State level.