RDA Northern TerritoryCommunity profile

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Katherine Town Council LGA

About the profile areas

The 2016 Estimated Resident Population for Katherine Town Council LGA is 10,635, with a population density of 0.01 persons per hectare.

Location and boundaries

The Katherine Town Council area is located in the central section of the Northern Territory, about 310 kilometres south-east of the Darwin CBD. The Katherine Town Council area is bounded by the Roper Gulf Regional Council area in the north, east and south, and the Victoria Daly Regional Council area in the west.

Name origin

Katherine Town Council is named after the Katherine River, which was named after the daughter of James Chambers, a sponsor of John McDouall Stuart’s expedition in 1862.

Settlement history

Traditionally, indigenous people lived in the area, and continue to do so, often in small communities. European settlement dates from 1872, following the building of the Overland Telegraph Line, although it was explored in 1862. Population was minimal, with land used mainly for pastoral purposes. Some growth took place in the late 1800s as mining became established in the wider area. Growth occurred in the township of Katherine from 1926, following the construction of the railway line and bridge, with the township growing around the railway line. During WWII Katherine was an important staging post in the defence of the Top End, when the RAAF Base Tindal was established. The most significant residential development occurred from the post-war years, aided by growth in the tourism industry. The population fluctuated during the 1990s, rising from under 10,000 in 1991 to over 11,000 in 1996, and then falling back to about 10,000 in 2001. Population decline during this period would have been impacted by the closure of the nearby Mt Todd Gold Mine in 2000 and the Katherine Meat Works in 2001. The population increased marginally between 2001 and 2011, rising to about 10,500 people.

Land use

The Katherine Town Council area includes the township of Katherine (residential, commercial and industrial land use), surrounding rural areas and several small indigenous communities. Rural land is used mainly for cattle grazing, dairy farming, horticulture and mining, with tourism and defence also being important industries. The Council area encompasses a total land area of about 7,400 square kilometres.


The Katherine Town Council area is served by the Stuart Highway, the Victoria Highway and The Ghan train.

Major features

Major features of the Council area include Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park, Kintore Caves Conservation Reserve, Katherine Hot Springs, RAAF Base Tindal, the Katherine township (including Oasis Shopping Centre), Charles Darwin University (Katherine Campus and Katherine Rural Campus), Katherine District Hospital, Katherine School of the Air, Katherine Museum, Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre, Mimi Aboriginal Art & Craft, Top Didj Cultural Experience & Art Gallery, Springvale Homestead, O’Keefe House, Katherine Country Club, Katherine Aquatic Centre, Henry Scott Recreation Centre, Low Level Nature Reserve, Katherine Showground and the Katherine River.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Katherine Town Council area were the Jawoyn and Dagomen Aboriginal people.

Included areas

The Katherine Town Council area includes the suburbs, townships, localities and communities of Binjari, Claravale (part), Cossack, Edith (part), Emungalan, Florina, Katherine, Katherine East, Katherine South, Lansdowne, Manbulloo, Tindal, Uralla and Venn.