Arnhem Land & Cobourg Peninsula

Arnhem Land has been occupied by Aboriginal people for over 50,000 years and is the location of the oldest known stone axe. The area itself extends from Port Roper on the Gulf of Carpentaria around the coast to the East Alligator River. Declared an Aboriginal reserve in 1931, it remains one of the largest Aboriginal Reserves in Australia and is perhaps best known for its isolation, incredible rock art and strong continuing traditions of its Indigenous inhabitants. It is a landscape of rugged ranges fringed by idyllic billabongs, flood plains, paper bark swamps and monsoonal rainforests, an amazingly beautiful wilderness.

To the north of Arnhem Land lies the sparcely inhabited Cobourg Peninsula. In the early 19th century the British Government established a settlement here to facilitate trade with Asia. Officially named Victoria Settlement, but commonly known as Port Essington, the area was surveyed in 1838 and consisted of 24 houses and a hospital. It was abandoned in 1849 and the ruins are a fascinating insight into our very early history.

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