Northern Territory of Australia

Geography

Landforms

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.

Climates

The Northern Territory has two distinct climate zones: the tropical Top End, and semi-arid Central Australia.The Top End, which includes Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu and Arnhem Land, has a tropical climate, and has two distinct seasons, the 'Wet' and the 'Dry'.The Wet season spans from November until April and is characterised by increased humidity followed by monsoonal rains and storms. Temperatures typically range from a minimum of 25C (77F) to a maximum of 33C (91F), and humidity levels can reach in excess of 80%.The 'Dry’ season, from May until October, is characterised by warm, dry sunny days and cool nights. Temperatures typically range from 21C (70F) to 32C (90F), and the humidity levels are much lower: around 60–65%.

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.

Natural Resources

Refers to the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil, plants and animals, with a particular focus on how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations.The Northern Territory’s energy resources include oil, natural gas and uranium. Oil and gas exploration and production occurs onshore as well as in three areas offshore which continue to dominate energy exploration.

History

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

Roughly half of the Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory speak an aboriginal language, and dialects are numerous. Aboriginal languages are agglutinative; that is, they combine into single words two or more elements of distinct and separate meaning. The languages spoken in the northern part of the territory, however, are different in structure and vocabulary from those of the Aranda peoples in the south.

Land use

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

Australian population were recorded as adhering to Christianity.

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.