Timber Creek

Timber Creek is an isolated small town on the banks of the Victoria River. The creek was named in 1855 when the explorer Augustus Gregory used timber from the banks of the creek to repair his expedition’s boat. The first inhabitants were the Nagaliwurra and Nangali Aboriginal people, decedents of whom still live in Timber Creek. Today, this small town has a range of accommodation, activities and other facilities for the traveler. Walk along the Heritage Trail to see wildlife, historic sites and pioneer graves.

Location: Timber Creek is approximately 600 kilometres south west of Darwin, 286 km west of Katherine, in an area is known for its scenic escarpments and Boab trees. The Victoria Highway passes through the town, which is the only significant settlement between the Western Australia border and the town of Katherine to the east.

Lookouts: Kuwang Lookout: 47km east of Timber Creek, this lookout offers views towards the Stokes Range and houses an interpretive display featuring creation stories of the local Aboriginal people.

A short drive west of Timber Creek, Policeman's Point Lookout offers views of the Victoria River winding through rugged hills and ranges. Policemen’s Point offers a good spot to fish from the bank or take in the majesty of the Victoria River.

Things To See and Do

The Victoria River is a mecca for fishing and produces some of the Territory’s best and biggest Barramundi. They can be caught all year round but the best time is on a neap tide, between the months of March to late May-coinciding with the end of the monsoon season.It is VERY important to remember that Estuarine Crocodiles inhabit this area, so please observe all safety signs around any water way in this region.

Gregory National Park

Gregory National Park covers an area of about 13,000km sq and features spectacular gorge scenery, rare wildlife species, and significant traces of Aboriginal culture, European exploration and pastoral history. It is divided into 2 sections – the Victoria river sector in the east and the Gregory sector in the west. The Victoria river sector is near the Victoria river crossing and winds through 250 meter high tablelands, creating dramatic red cliffs. The large Gregory sector lies just outside Timber Creek.

In the Gregory sector, Limestone Gorge provides a superb photographic opportunities. Also of interest is the old cattle property outstation, Bullita Homestead, with its traditional timber stockyards. Facilities at both Bullita and Limestone gorge camping areas include BBQ’s, picnic tables and pit toilets.

Keep River National Park

Entry to this park is 3km east of the Northern Territory and Western Australian border. There are some excellent bushwalking tracks that explore the rugged terrain of sandstone formations that are similar in structure to the Bungle Bungles, including the Keep River Gorge and some Aboriginal art sites. Short-eared rock wallabies, white-quilled rock pigeons and sandstone shrike thrush are some of the interesting animals that inhabit this area. Two camping areas are provided within the park. Drinking water is available at Jarnem campground and 2kms from the Ranger Station. No Pets Allowed.

Gregory’s tree is located 15km northwest of the townsite of Timber Creek. In September 1855, Sir Augustus Charles Gregory and a party of 19 men reached the mouth of the Victoria River. The party's schooner, Tom Tough, proceeded along the river, landing near the present town of Timber Creek and a base camp for the expedition was established. Gregory named a nearby stream "Timber Creek" on 24 November while seeking timber to make repairs to the boat. Gregory inscribed of the dates of this expedition on a large boab tree near the original campsite, located approximately 15 km from the present town; the tree, and the inscription, can still be seen today.

Other Places of Interest

Yambarran Range; Top Springs roadhouse; Victoria Downs Homestead (38 km south-east of Victoria River Downs Homestead, 1883-90); Wimmera Home (Old Hospital Victoria River Downs, built for Australian Inland Mission, 1922-23); Timber Creek Aerodrome; Gordon Creek Police Station Museum (1888).

Climate

Timber Creek is a tropical savanna climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The annual rainfall is 979mm with the heaviest falls occurring during the wet season months November – April. High humidity and overnight temperatures as well as large thunderstorms characterise this season. The Victoria River is prone to flooding during these months. The dry season months, May–October, see minimal rainfall, blue skies, less humidity and cooler overnight temperatures.


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Brief history

A police station was constructed in 1898, and substantially upgraded in 1908 as river traffic grew to service pastoral properties being established in the area. In 1911, a depot was established to service the river trade. Historical records from the late 19th and early 20th century indicate there were ongoing tensions, and isolated incidents of violence between pastoralist and Aboriginal residents in the area at during this time.

During World War II growing concerns over a Japanese invasion of northern Australia led to the formation of the 2/1st North Australia Observer Unit, a highly mobile reconnaissance unit led by local Aboriginal guides who knew the local landscape. The role of this unit was to report any enemy landings on isolated areas of the coastline. The unit was active in the Timber Creek and Victoria River areas, recognised in 1998 with a memorial to the "Nackeroos" – the nickname for those who served with this unique unit – being constructed near the town.

Traffic passing through Timber Creek increased following the completion of the Ord River Diversion Dam at Kununurra, Western Australia in 1963 and subsequent construction of the road bridge in 1970 across the Victoria River, 82 kilometres east of the town, and sealing of the Victoria Highway in 1974. Timber Creek was proclaimed a town on 20 June 1975.

In 1996, the Department of Defence purchased Bradshaw Station, a large cattle property in the vicinity of Timber Creek. This land subsequently became Bradshaw Field Training Area, an 8700 km2 live fire training facility. In 2002, the 270m long Bradshaw Bridge opened, providing road access to the training area from the Victoria Highway at Timber Creek.

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