Heritage Register: proposed declarations

The Northern Territory Heritage Register has information about declared heritage places and objects and those subject to provisional protection under the Heritage Act 2011.

Go to the Northern Territory Government website to:

Proposed heritage declarations

When a proposed declaration is open for public comment, anyone can comment on the proposal.

Submissions are lodged with the NT Heritage Council and are forwarded to the Minister with the Heritage Council's recommendations.

How to make a submission

Submissions must be received by Monday 13 July 2020 in writing and should be addressed to the Chairperson of the Heritage Council.

Submissions can be made to:

PO Box 4198 


Open for comment

The following proposed heritage declarations are open for comment.


Statement of Heritage Value

Arltunga is of major historical significance as the first large centre of European settlement in Central Australia (1887-1913); as the impetus for the development of Alice Springs; and as a substantial and relatively intact complex of gold mining sites reflecting the remote and harsh conditions of the area, and the low capital base of the enterprise. Arltunga was the major centre of an extensive region of goldmining activity at the turn of the century. It has extensive and relatively intact remains of goldmining activity including mine shafts, diggings, mullock heaps, machinery, wells, government buildings, occupation and commercial sites, cemeteries, and a Government Battery site. The sites demonstrate a range of mining activity including alluvial and reef mining. The discovery of gold at Arltunga was instrumental in the South Australian government's decision to sponsor the survey and first land sales in Alice Springs in 1888.

The Arltunga Cemetery is significant and of particular value not only for the evidence of the death and burial at Arltunga of some of its better known identities, but for the exceptionally fine timber crosses and grave surrounds.

The Arltunga Historical Reserve exhibits particular aesthetic characteristics that are unique to the region. Many of the historical sites within the Reserve have the ability to yield new information about life on the Arltunga Gold Fields and life in the Territory during the late 1800s through to the late 1900s.

Statement of Heritage Value

Kato Osamu was buried on South Goulburn Island by his colleagues in 1955, and a gravestone installed at his grave in 1957. Kato Osamu was a 26 year old Japanese diver in the pearl shell industry who died from decompression illness.

Kato Osamu was a diver aboard the Japanese lugger No.1 Koyo Maru. He worked aboard a Japanese owned and operated fleet that came south, as opposed to being an indentured Japanese diver, working for an Australian owned operation. Fearing Japanese domination of the pearling industry, the Australian Government had just claimed the Continental Shelf, and heavily regulated the visiting Japanese fleet. Despite the continuing political tension over fishing rights, and any possible residual feelings about World War II, his death was acknowledged as a tragedy, and an exemption was made by the Australian Government to allow his burial on land. He was not forgotten by his countrymen. The Japanese Society of Darwin returned two years after his death to install a gravestone.

The grave is located approximately 100 metres from the beach. The gravestone consists of a rectangular concrete base, made up of two blocks, and a rectangular vertical tablet with a gable shaped top. It is formed from a sand, shell and pebble aggregate core, likely sourced from the nearby beach. A fine sand render over the surface provides a neat finish and a surface for the written inscription. The inscription in Japanese, identifies Kato Osamu as the deceased, identifies his hometown of Udono, Mie Prefecture, the date of his death on 14 August 1955 and that the gravestone was erected by the Japanese Society of Darwin on 14 September 1957. The surface is damaged with some letters missing, and so the wording had to be inferred by researchers.

In September 2019 restoration work reassembled the gravestone, which was broken into three pieces, also reinstalling some of the missing letters. The gravestone has a simplicity and dignity in appearance. It is a lone grave situated in a natural landscape by the ocean. Its isolation and remoteness speak of a death occurring far from home. The missing pieces from the surface of the gravestone give it a sense of age. A visit to the gravesite has a quieting reflective effect on the visitor.

The grave of Kato Osamu is one of very few recorded Japanese burials in the Northern Territory outside of cemeteries. It stands as a rare tangible reminder of a particular chapter in our maritime past we know little about. The nearby community of Warruwi has developed a sense of guardianship over the grave. Senior traditional owner Johnny Namayiwa said of Kato Osamu’s grave: “He’s a part of us, he rests with us, he’ll always be a part of us forever”.

Statement of Heritage Value

Construction on the Keeping Place at Wurrumiyanga (Bathurst Island) began in 1979, with the famous ceiling mural completed in 1986. It was built during a vibrant, dynamic and political period in Aboriginal self-determination for the purpose of conserving, celebrating and exhibiting Tiwi cultural traditions. Based on a vision of Keeping Places across the country, these cultural centres would return control of Aboriginal art and culture back to local Aboriginal communities. As articulated in 1980 by its designer, architect Peter Myers, the ‘Tiwi Keeping Place is a statement of self-determination by the Tiwi people’.

The Keeping Place is singular in its design and widely acknowledged as being aesthetically distinctive and beautiful. Built to resemble an elevated traditional bark hut the building is a striking barrel vaulted arch standing tall on large steel beams. Inside there is an uninterrupted view of the tall vaulted ceiling, which is adorned with eight panels of art, each spanning 10 metres by two metres, and painted by accomplished and highly regarded artists of the time. The artwork reflects the tradition of painting the internal walls and ceiling of bark huts, and is an integral part of the building itself. It was a highly innovative and creative project which presented engineering, construction and artistic challenges.

The eight panels, from west to east, were painted by Kirin Mukwakinni, George Norm (Pangiraminni), Edward Portaminni, Terisina and Eulalie Munkara, Sabo Tipiloura, Alfie and Josie Puruntatemeri, Alphonso Pauatjimi and Maria Josette Orsto. In later years the Sabo Tipiloura panel was damaged beyond repair, and a replacement completed by a family member.

Today the building is used by an artists’ collective known as Ngaruwanajirri (‘helping one another’) that includes a variety of local artists, including artists with disabilities. Its original purpose and its current role as an art centre establishes its importance as a social and cultural space for the Wurrumiyanga community.

The Keeping Place is associated with prominent architect Peter Myers and the artists who contributed to the ceiling mural, acknowledging both their status as artists, and their role in promoting and nurturing Tiwi Art. Also associated with the Keeping Place are the contemporary artists of Ngaruwanajirri, and Joy and John Naden, who operate the centre and have a long and special relationship with the Wurrumiyanga community.

Statement of Heritage Value

The Old Shearing Shed is a small stone building, now without a roof and partially in ruins. It was purpose built as a shearing shed on Ambalindum Station (now Hale River Homestead), northeast of Alice Springs. Ambalindum Station was established in the early 20th Century, and was one of the first pastoral properties in Central Australia to farm sheep.

The date of construction of the Old Shearing Shed is uncertain, but is believed to be the early twentieth century, sometime after 1906. It was used in the inter-war period, a time that is considered the height of the sheep and wool industry in Central Australia. At this time, Ambalindum Station was one of several successful sheep properties in the region.

The sheep and wool industry in Central Australia was ultimately unsuccessful, and had all but ceased by the mid-1980s. The Old Shearing Shed is therefore a rare remnant of an industry that no longer survives in the Northern Territory. It is also a reminder of an industry that was dependent on the labour of local Aboriginal men, women and children.

The Old Shearing Shed demonstrates a degree of creativity in its construction, including the use of local stone, homemade quick lime in the mortar binding the stone, and the use of heavy gauge wire in the walls to act as reinforcement.

Ambalindum Station was associated with Frederick Lionel Cavenagh, Special Magistrate and Justice of the Peace for the Arltunga area. He was also caretaker of the Government’s Arltunga Gold Mining Battery for a number of years. Frederick and his wife Eleanor were two of the Territory’s earliest and most successful pastoralists. On Frederick’s death in 1941, the property passed to Eleanor and their three children. Ambalindum was subsequently managed by their son Bill Cavenagh and his wife, Myrtle

Statement of Heritage Value

Parliament House, located in State Square in Darwin, was completed in 1994. It is the first purpose-built legislature in the Northern Territory, and a symbol of the robust selfconfidence of the Northern Territory in the era following self-Government in 1978. It is located on an historically significant site, where the former Post Office and Telegraph Office (built in the 1880s) once stood.

Along with nearby Supreme Court Building, it is one of two landmark buildings in ‘State Square’. Like the Supreme Court Building, it is strongly influenced by the principles of classical architecture. Both buildings are symmetrical, with a grand entry and a spacious full-height interior hall that extends from the front of the building to the rear. Both buildings also feature design elements designed to suit the tropics, including generous overhangs and shading devices.

Parliament House is widely recognised in the community as a symbol of the representative system of government in the Northern Territory.

This building is associated with a great many elected members of the Legislative Assembly, and its predecessor, the Legislative Council. This includes members that lobbied for Self-Government, and those who served on the New Parliament House Committee established in the 1980s, that worked towards building a new and permanent Parliament House of the Northern Territory. It has a particular association with Hurtle Bald, his family, and Post Office staff who were killed on this site on 19 February 1942 during the Bombing of Darwin. The building is also associated with construction workers Peter Malmstedt and Andrew Snow, who died during its construction.

Statement of Heritage Value

The Patakijiyali Museum at Wurrumiyanga (Bathurst Island) is a series of interconnected buildings, three of which are historic mission buildings. A Catholic mission was established at Wurrumiyanga in 1911 and these buildings were relocated there in 1947.

The historic buildings were Sidney Williams huts, surplus wartime infrastructure, relocated by the Catholic mission in 1947 to serve as a mission kitchen and children’s dining rooms. It is probable that one originated from a military base at Cape Fourcroy and the others from the military hospital at Adelaide River. A fourth building was added in the 1970s, and appears to be a similar older building, possibly also wartime infrastructure. The buildings functioned as a kitchen and dining rooms up into the 1970s. Later uses include a tuckshop and council offices, until the museum was established in the early 1980s.

Over the years the roofs and external walls of these buildings had been replaced and internal ceilings and walls added, but internal framing appears to be original. Repair and restoration work has been generally sympathetic to the historic values of the buildings, and two large cast iron ovens are evocative reminders of one building’s earlier function as a mission kitchen. With interpretation the buildings will have a significant ability to demonstrate aspects of mission life and the mission experience.

The museum is located close to the historic precinct, featuring the more elaborately constructed mission buildings consisting of the church, old presbytery convent and radio hut. The museum buildings are more basic and utilitarian in nature, and speak of a time when infrastructure was scarce and the end of World War II provided opportunities to source wartime surplus.

Most of the older adults that live at Wurrumiyanga passed through this building during their childhood, and it would have been undoubtedly a formative experience. The reuse of the historic buildings as a local museum and cultural centre is complementary and provides a unique opportunity to interpret the buildings and mission years.

The museum is associated with Sister Anne Gardiner who is a longstanding, active and respected member of the community, and a strong advocate for the retention of these buildings and their use as a museum. The efforts and works of Sister Anne are well known within the Northern Territory and beyond. She was the recipient of the 2017 Senior Australian of the Year.

Statement of Heritage Value

The Northern Territory Supreme Court Building, located in State Square in Darwin, was completed in 1991. It is the fourth purpose-built court house in Darwin, one of only two surviving still in use, and the first built since self-government in 1978. It is a prestige public building, monumental in scale, that symbolises one of the three arms of government under the Westminster system.

Along with nearby Parliament House, it is one of two landmark buildings in ‘State Square’. Like Parliament House, it is strongly influenced by the principles of classical architecture. Both buildings are symmetrical, with a grand entry and a spacious full height interior hall that extends from the front of the building to the rear. Both buildings also feature design elements designed to suit the tropics, including generous overhangs and shading devices.

Embedded in the foyer is a large mosaic known as Milky Way Dreaming. Comprised of more than 700,000 pieces of Venetian glass, it is the largest mosaic of its kind in Australia.

This building has a strong association with the Northern Territory legal community, and with high profile criminal cases such as Peter Falconio murder trial in 2005.

Last updated: 12 June 2020

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