Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Barrow Creek, Northern Territory

Barrow Creek, Northern Territory                                                              

240 km north of Alice Springs and about 50 km from Central Mt Stuart, the geographical centre of Australia

 The original Barrow Creek morse repeater station opened on 16 August 1872

The explorer John McDouall Stuart Passed through in naming it Barrow Creek after a member of the South Australian Parliament. The telegraph repeater station was set up in 1871and the present building was opened on 16 August 1872 by Charles Todd. It was one of 15 stations of the morse repeater network that connected Australia the world. In 1932 the store and hotel were built. It was built just before the gold rush to Tennant Creek. The pub is open today serving a migration of a different kind. Visitors are welcome to enter these historic buildings by getting a key from the Barrow Creek hotel near


Headstone J.L.Stapleton,Barrow Creek, Northern Territory                         Grave of J.L.Stapleton, Barrow Creek, Northern Territory

In February 1874 Samuel Gason, a mounted constable, arrived and the police station was opened. 8 days later and 2 men were killed and one wounded.

Prior to the arrival of the survey and construction teams the spring at Barrow Creek was a used by the local Aboriginal People both for drinking water and to hunt animals attracted to it. The Aboriginal People had been friendly and some even worked for the repeater station. Then the spring was fenced off for the sole use of the sheep and cattle of the station.  In February 1874  members of the Kaiditj Tribe attacked the station, and the station master and a lineman were killed and another wounded. James Stapleton, the stationmaster, had arrived earlier in the month from the Katherine telegraph station on his way to Adelaide. On his arrival he found the stationmaster was sick and replaced him, sending the sick man to Adelaide.

A police hunt was mounted to find the attackers, but although many Aboriginal People were killed, no arrests were made.

Source 1

In the area of barrow Creek an exhumed surface that is gneissic and bouldery is exposed from the flat-lying sediments, from the Neoproterozoic of the Forster Range (e.g., Haines et al., 1991). The surface of the plateau may be be part of a Cretaceous or sub-Cretaceous, the author1 suggesting it was probably the former.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Twidale, C.R., 2007, Ancient Australian Landscapes, Rosenberg Publishing Pty. Ltd. , NSW

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Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 11/08/2013


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