Barrow Creek is a small town with a roadhouse/hotel in the Northern territory of Australia with a population of 11, that is located about 280 km north of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway towards Tennant Creek. A number of mining groups have been exploring possible mining ventures at Barrow Creek, but at present no residents are involved in mining.
The area is the traditional home of the Kaytetye Aboriginal people, who have lived in this area for up to 40,000 years.
The arrival of Europeans in the latter part of the nineteenth century saw a period of much hardship and bloodshed for the Kaytetye.
The graves are marked by a wall around the graves and headstones. They are well looked after. In a small graveyard at the front are remains of two telegraph station workers killed in a surprise attack by aboriginals last century.
The old pub was built in 1926 by Joe Kilgariff, uncle of Northern Territorian senator Bernie Kilgariff, and it still has the original old bar, underground cellar, and tin ceilings. There’s demountable accommodation outside and rooms inside and a caravan park. On the wall in the kitchen of the building is a cartoon of two Australian comic icons, Bluey and Curley, drawn by the artist Chic Young when he passed through during World War II. The hotel is a popular stop for travellers along the highway and contains a tremendous collection of memorabilia and items of interest which have been gathered over the years.
For many years the Telegraph Station was the home of a linesman from Charters Towers who lived in the building and repaired breakdowns in the line from time to time. Now deceased, a corner of the hotel is devoted to his memory and his story is a fascinating one.
The population of Barrow Creek at the moment is 11 people all of whom work together at the roadhouse. There’s two Aboriginal communities – the Tara community which is 12 km northeast and Pmatajunata down at Stirling Station which is about 35 km from Barrow Creek. There are approx 120 people down there and 80 people at Tara.