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MacDonnell Regional Council LGA

About the profile areas

The 2016 Estimated Resident Population for MacDonnell Regional Council LGA is 6,841, with a population density of 0.00 persons per hectare.

Location and boundaries

The MacDonnell Regional Council area is located in the southern section of the Northern Territory, between 1,100 and 1,600 kilometres south of the Darwin CBD. The MacDonnell Regional Council area is bounded by the Central Desert Regional Council area in the north, the State of Queensland in the east, the State of South Australia in the south, and the State of West Australia in the west. The MacDonnell Regional Council excludes the Alice Springs Town Council area which is located in the central area, and the locality of Yulara which is located in the south-west.

Name origin

The MacDonnell Regional Council is named after the MacDonnell Ranges, which were named after Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell, Governor of South Australa 1855-1862.

Settlement history

Traditionally, indigenous people lived in the area, and continue to do so, mainly in small communities. European settlement dates from the 1870s, spurred by the construction of the Overland Telegraph line. Population was minimal, with land used mainly for cattle grazing. Some growth took place during the late 1800s. Growth resumed from the post-war years, with the establishments of various Aboriginal missions and the construction of the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility in the late 1960s. The population of the Council area fluctuated during the 1990s, falling from about 6,300 in 1991 to 5,700 in 1996, and then rising to about 6,800 in 2001. The population declined slightly to about 6,300 in 2006, and then was relatively stable to 2011.

Land use

The MacDonnell Regional Council area is predominantly rural, with a number of small townships, indigenous communities and outstations. The majority of the population is Aboriginal. Rural land is used largely for pastoral purposes, with mining and tourism also being important industries. The Council area encompasses a total land area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres.


The MacDonnell Regional Council area is served by the Stuart Highway and the Lasseter Highway.

Major features

Major features of the Council area include Finke Gorge National Park (including Palm Valley), Tjoritja/West Macdonnell National Park (including Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge, Redbank Gorge, Serpentine Gorge, Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm), Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (including Uluru Cultural Centre, Uluru - Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta - The Olgas), Watarrka National Park (including Kings Canyon and Kathleen Springs), Corroboree Rock Conservation Reserve, Henbury Meteorite Conservation Reserve, Illamurta Springs Conservation Reserve, Mac and Rose Chalmers Conservation Reserve, Mac Clark (Acacia peuce) Conservation Reserve, Napwerte/Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve, Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve, Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve, Owen Springs Reserve, N’Dhala Gorge Nature Park, Ruby Gap Nature Park, Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve, Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility, Alice Springs Correctional Centre, Hermannsburg Historic Precinct, Titjikala Art and Craft Centre, Camels Australia, Hamilton Downs Youth Camp, Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary and the Simpson Desert.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the MacDonnell Regional Council area were the Arrernte Aboriginal people.

Included areas

The MacDonnell Regional Council area includes the localities and communities of Amoonguna, Areyonga, Burt Plain, Finke, Ghan, Haasts Bluff, Hale, Hermannsburg, Hugh, Imanpa, Kaltukatjara, Kintore, Kunparrka, Lake Mackay, Mereenie, Mount Liebig, Mount Zeil, Mutitjulu, Namatjira, Papunya, Petermann, Santa Teresa, Simpson, Titjikala and Wallace Rockhole.


Some of this area is Aboriginal freehold land held by the Central Land Council.