The pastoral industry in the Northern Territory – Fact sheet 108
Pastoralism and the Northern Territory
Over the past 150 years the Northern Territory has drawn part of its identity from the pastoral industry that operates across its rural expanses. Much of the 'Territorian' image derives from this industry.
Following John McDouall Stuart's 1861–62 crossing of the country from Adelaide to Point Stuart to the east of what is now Darwin, much emphasis was placed on the pastoral and agricultural potential of the lands that he had traversed. During the late nineteenth century a substantial part of the Territory was acquired by pastoralists under pastoral leases issued by the South Australian government, which administered the Northern Territory from 1870 until 1911. It was on these pastoral leases the Territory based much of its economic and social development.
The station 'community'
In a place where cities and towns are few and far between, the pastoral stations of the Territory have been not only valuable (and often the only) points for reference on a map, but have usually provided the community around which people have lived. They have been a place of employment, a place of residence, a place of birth and death, and a location for providing numerous government services, including education, health, welfare, census collection and law enforcement.