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
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 Catherine, 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
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.