Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin has a population of 120,652, making it by far the largest and most populated city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, but the least populous of all Australia’s capital cities. It is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities, and acts as the Top End’s regional centre.
Over time Darwin has grown from a pioneer outpost and small port into one of Australia’s most modern and multicultural cities. Its proximity to Asia makes it an important Australian gateway to countries such as Indonesia and East Timor. The Stuart Highway begins in Darwin, ending at Port Augusta in South Australia.
The city itself is built on a low bluff overlooking the harbour. Its suburbs spread out over some area, beginning at Lee Point in the north and stretching to Berrimah in the east – past Berrimah, the Stuart Highway goes on to Darwin’s satellite city, Palmerston, and its suburbs.
The region, like the rest of the Top End, has a tropical climate, with a wet season and a dry season. It receives heavy rainfall during the Wet, and is well-known for its spectacular lightning.
The original inhabitants of the greater Darwin area are the Larrakia people. On 9 September 1839, HMS Beagle sailed into Darwin harbour during its surveying of the area. John Clements Wickham named the region “Port Darwin” in honour of a former shipmate and famed scientist Charles Darwin.
Having been almost entirely rebuilt twice, once due to Japanese air raids during World War II and again after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the city is one of Australia’s most modern capitals.