Renowned for the fresh barramundi served at the hotel on the banks
of the river, Adelaide River is a small town where the Stuart Highway
crosses the Adelaide River.
Location: 200 km north-east of Katherine and 112km south of Darwin.
Though only a very small community, Adelaide River is well worth
stopping at to break a road journey between Katherine and Darwin. The
town played an important role in the war effort between 1942 and 1945
as a military base and site of the 107th Australian General Hospital
and 119th Australian General Hospital.
Adelaide River Inn is home of Charlie the Buffalo, from the movie
Crocodile Dundee. Charlie (that's his stage name; his real name was
Nick) lived a happy retired life in a paddock next to the Inn until
2001 when he vacated it for greener pastures. When passers-by asked
where Charlie had got to the reply was "Oh, he has moved to the bar now
..." where he remains to this day in all his glory, but unfortunately
no longer alive. Adelaide River Inn is a great place for lunch.
Things to see and do
Grove Hill Heritage and Museum is housed in a residence built
entirely from recycled materials during the depression. The museum is
open daily 6 am to 2 pm.
Mount Bundy Station, 3 km north of the town, is a great spot for fishing, walking and swimming.
The historical military base of Snake Creek Armament Depot still
stands. Entry requires permit from Northern Land Council as is on
The Adelaide River Railway Siding and Railway Bridge, which are now
part of Adelaide River Heritage Centre, were constructed as part of the
first leg of the North Australia Railway (NAR) which operated from 1888
until 1976. The centre has an excellent collection of The Ghan railway
Adelaide River War Cemetery is the third largest war cemetery in
Australia. 434 servicemen and 54 civilians who were killed by Japanese
air-raids in Darwin during World War II were laid to rest here. During
the war, The 107th Australian General Hospital and 119th Australian
General Hospital were set up around Adelaide River.
3 km south of Adelaide River, off Dorat Road, on the way to Daly
River, is a pleasant waterfall pool at the end of a 10 minute walk
called Robin Falls - a popular place to visit.
Adelaide River NT Country Music Talent Quest (every June)
Adelaide River Races (every August)
The Kungarrakan and Awarai Aboriginal peoples are acknowledged as
the traditional owners of the land surrounding the present day town of
Adelaide River. There was little acknowledgement of their connection to
the land in the early history of the area, evidenced by the
predominately European place names. Their way of life remained
unchanged for many thousands of years prior to settlement.
Adelaide River was first settled by workers who arrived in the area
to construct the Overland Telegraph Line. During construction, the
discovery of gold at Pine Creek in 1872 had a major impact on the
settlement. In 1873, a weekly mail service between Southport and a
mining site further south at Yam Creek was established. This service
utilised pack horses, and during the wet season months when progress
was slow mail bags from the north and south were exchanged at the
crossing of the Adelaide River. The following year, Mr. Edward Hopewell
was awarded this mail contract and built the Q.C.E. Hotel on the river
bank and a restaurant, the "Jolly Waggoner" was opened by George
Doherty, increasing the importance of the area as an overnight stop for
travellers. The first police station in the town was constructed in
Prior to the construction of the railway to Pine Creek, the Adelaide
River crossing was the overnight stopping point for the Haimes Royal
Mail Coach which linked Southport with the goldfields. This was a
vital and well utilised transport link, but was a slow and
uncomfortable service. Legislation providing for an upgraded transport
link was passed in 1883 by the government of John Cox Bray in the form
of the Palmerston and Pine Creek Railway Bill.