Katherine is located a comfortable 310 kilometres south of Darwin on the Stuart Highway. It is a modern town with all facilities for the traveller. Katherine boasts numerous natural attractions and a diverse history. The first people of the area were the Jawoyn and Dagoman people. They used the river as a foundation to their culture as it provided an abundance of food and water.
The traditional homelands of these people include the Nitmiluk National park and representatives are strategie members on the park board of directors. Ludwig Leichhardt was the first European to visit the area during his 1844 expedition. It was not until 1862 that the river was named by the explorer John McDouall Stuart.
He named the river after Katherine, the daughter of his benefactor, James Chambers.
The town developed with the establishment of the Overland Telegraph Station at Knott's Crossing, where the original pylons can still be seen. Near the Knott's Crossing is the privately owned Sportsman's Arms Hotel that was first run in 1883 by Tom Pearce .
Pearce was mentioned in Jeannie Gunn's We of the Never Never.
Not long after the Overland TelegraphStation was completed Alfred Giles established Springvale, one of the first pastoral runs in the NT. He arrived in 1878 with 12 000 sheep and 2 000 head of cattle and horses.
The hot favourable for the sheep and the cattle and horses fell victim to tropical diseases. However, he managed to build the sandstone homestead that has survived time and flood. Those wanting to explore Katherine in more detail should collect their copies of Discovering Katherine from the Katherine Visitor Information Centre.
Present Day Mayer Ferscutt's address Since I arrived here in 1947, Katherine has grown from a small régional centre for the pastoral industry to the thhird largest centre in the Northern Territory, with approximathy 11,000 residents.
The community of Katherine is a melting pot of nationalities and has a significant aboriginal population which include the traditional owners of the area, the Jawoyn people.
The huge growth in population in recent years has been matched by an increase in all forms of government services. Tourism is one of our largest indusstries and is joined by a rapidly growing primary industry sector, including beef, mining and horticulture. By and large, however, Katherine remains a tourist destination. If you are one of the 250,000 visitors expected in the region this year, I welcome you to Katherine. Jim Forscutt Mayor.