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Tiwi Islands Regional Council LGA

About the profile areas

The 2016 Estimated Resident Population for Tiwi Islands Regional Council LGA is 2,805, with a population density of 0.00 persons per hectare.

Location and boundaries

The Tiwi Islands Regional Council area is located just to the north of the Northern Territory mainland, between 60 and 80 kilometres north of the Darwin CBD. The Tiwi Islands Regional Council area is surrounded entirely by the Arafura Sea.

Name origin

Tiwi Islands Regional Council is named from words meaning “we people”.

Settlement history

Traditionally, indigenous people lived in the area, and continue to do so, mainly in small communities. European settlement dates from 1824 when a military post was established at Fort Dundas, closing in 1829. Bathurst and Melville Islands were proclaimed an Aboriginal Reserve in 1912. The population increased from the post-war years, rising from about 1,100 in 1928 to about 1,800 in 1986. The population of the Council area generally continued to increase from the early 1990s, rising from about 1,800 in 1991 to about 2,500 in 2011.

Land use

The Tiwi Islands Regional Council area is mainly rural, with three small indigenous communities at Milikapiti, Pirlangimpi and Wurrumiyanga, and some smaller communities and outstations. The Council area encompasses the inhabited islands of Bathurst Island and Melville Island (together known as Tiwi Islands), and nine smaller uninhabited islands. The majority of the population is Aboriginal. The Council area encompasses a total land area of about 7,500 square kilometres.


The Tiwi Islands Regional Council area is served by airfields at Milikapiti, Wurrumiyanga and Prilangimpi, and various ferries.

Major features

Major features of the Council area include Tiwi Design, Bima Wear, Patakijiyali Museum and Munupi Wilderness Lodge.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Tiwi Islands area were the Tiwi Aboriginal people who continue to live throughout the area and have strong traditional ties with the land.

Included areas

The Tiwi Islands Regional Council area includes the localities and communities of Milikapiti, Pirlangimpi, Tiwi Islands and Wurrumiyanga.


This region is Aboriginal freehold land held by the Tiwi Aboriginal Land Trust (represented by the Tiwi Land Council).