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Notes on the Geography of Australia: Katherine

Heading from Tennant Creek north to Katherine, we've got 400 miles ahead of us. Like Alice, Katherine is named whimsically, in this case for a daughter of James Chambers, one of the financial sponsors for Stuart's first attempt to cross Australia south-to-north.

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Here comes the wire that followed in his path.

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The Tennant Creek telegraph station, with a root cellar on the left, then a kitchen, a residence for the station master, and the office itself. The station closed in 1935 but remained in use as a local market and water source until 1966.

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The residence.

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The telegraph office.

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The obligatory cemetery.

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An indicator of the local interest in history.

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Toot, toot! Our first road train. Just don't ask the driver to back up.

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And our first pasture. Must be getting wetter.

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A glimpse of the wartime highway to Darwin, predecessor of the Stuart.

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Relics of the convoys for which the road was built.

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Wartime station grounds, wiped clean.

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Plenty of detail here.

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Map of the camp.

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Another wartime station, this one at Elliott, named for the lieutenant in charge.

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Detail.

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Water in the distance.

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One of two businesses on the site. The other is a gas station and convenience store.

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Farther up the road, an obelisk.

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Inscription.

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Desert no more; it's definitely getting wetter.

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Stand aside.

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Whoosh.

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A hundred miles up the road from Tennant Creek, then off to the west a few miles, this is Daly Waters, at one time a busy airfield, both military and civilian.

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Runway. The first civilian aircraft here carried Lady Mountbatten, although her identity was kept secret until after her plane's departure.

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An explanatory sign.

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Abandoned police station.

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One of the houses on the site.

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A hundred miles more and we're at the pioneer homestead called Springvale, on the fringe of Katherine.

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Front side.

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Sign one of seven.

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Two of seven.

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Three of seven.

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Four of seven.

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Five of seven.

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Six of seven.

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Seven of seven.

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Wheat to be?

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Mangos.

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Finally, a river.

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A quieter spot.

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Prerequisite to Katherine's establishement, this railway bridge opened in 1925. It's been superseded, in case you were wondering.

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Apparently the river can rise from time to time. What's that? You want to know the river's name? It's the Katherine, named by John McDouall Stuart himself.

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The former railway station.

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The railroad has been relocated, but bits survive from the old days.

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Information in abundance.

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Downstream a mile or two, there's a new railway bridge.

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Katherine's Main street. The town has a population of about 8,000.

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On the night before the morning when this picture was taken, over 80 people were arrested for drunkenness.

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Since there's nothing in town older than the railway bridge, this place is historic.

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A heritage building.

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High end.

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Wide turns? Can you imagine passing him? Actually, it's easy most of the time, because the road is so straight and traffic so sparse.



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