VIEWS AUST NT

The first known and recorded sighting of the Northern Territory coastline was by William Jootszoon van Colster aboard the Dutch vessel Arnhem in 1623. In 1644 Abel Tasman sailed along the northern coast and named Cape Van Diemen on Melville Island.

Early attempts to settle the Top End were mainly due to British fears that the French or Dutch might get a foothold in Australia. Between 1824 and 1829 Fort Dundas on Melville Island and Fort Wellington on the Cobourg Peninsula, 200km (124mi) north-east of Darwin, were settled and then abandoned.

Present-day Darwin was finally founded in 1869. The harbour had been discovered in 1839 by Stokes aboard the Beagle, who named it Port Darwin after former shipmate, Charles Darwin.

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