Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Tennant Creek NT

Tennant Creek

Postcode: 0862

Tennant Creek is a town located in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is the fifth largest town in Northern Territory and it is located on the Stuart Highway, just south of the intersection with the western terminus of the Barkly Highway.

Tennant Creek is approximately 1000 kilometres south of the territory capital, Darwin, and 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs. The town is named after a nearby watercourse of the same name. At the 2001 census, Tennant Creek had a population of 3,185, of which 1,176 identified themselves as Aboriginal. Tennant Creek is near well-known attractions including the Devils Marbles, Lake Mary Ann, Battery Hill Mining Centre and the Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre and is the hub of the sprawling Barkly Tablelands, vast elevated plains of black soil with golden Mitchell grass, that cover more than 240,000 square kilometres.

Tennant Creek was once the third largest gold producer in Australia and is still highly productive with major mining companies continuing to explore for bauxite, lead-zinc-silver and copper around the area. Over 210 tonnes of gold has been discovered in the area. The Bootu Mine to the north of town exports manganese to China. Exploration has commenced to the south east of town for unspecified minerals. Tennant Creek is also the centre of the rich pastoral industry of central Australia, with vast cattle properties stocked with herds of Santa Gertrudis and Brahman cattle.

Tourism is a growing industry emphasising its location, history, scenery and cultural attributes and provides tourists with an opportunity to experience the outback. The mineral collection at Battery Hill is a must see. Aboriginal enterprise and organisations generate economic activity for Tennant Creek by providing a range of services to the urban and rural communities of the town.

Nyinkka Nyunyu Arts and Cultural Centre opened in July 2003, offering visitors and the community an opportunity to learn about aboriginal life, history and the land in the region. The centre promotes Arts and Cultural activities for the whole Barkly Region.

The Northern Territory holds several regional events throughout the year, which in some cases can impact on visitor numbers to the region. Events located within the Barkly Area during the year include the Barkly Campdraft and Rodeo, Saint Patrick’s Day Races, Barkly May Day Muster and the Brunette Downs Races. The World Solar Car Challenge takes place every second year.