RDA Northern TerritoryEconomic profile
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RDA Northern Territory

About the area

Name origin

Litchfield Council was named after Frederick Henry Litchfield, a member of an early survey and settlement party.

Location and boundaries

The Litchfield Council area is located in the top end of the Northern Territory, between 10 and 60 kilometres east of the Darwin CBD. The Litchfield Council area is bounded by Van Diemen Gulf in the north, the Adelaide River and Unincorporated Northern Territory in the east, the Coomalie Community Government Council area in the south, Unincorporated Northern Territory in the south-east, and the City of Palmerston and the City of Darwin in the west.

Included areas

The Litchfield Council area includes the townships, localities and communities of Acacia Hills, Bees Creek, Berry Springs, Blackmore, Black Jungle, Channel Island, Coolalinga, Daly, Darwin River, Fly Creek, Freds Pass, Girraween, Glyde Point, Gunn Point, Herbert, Holtze, Howard Springs, Hughes, Humpty Doo, Knuckey Lagoon, Koolpinyah, Lambells Lagoon, Livingstone, Lloyd Creek, Manton, McMinns Lagoon, Mickett Creek, Middle Point, Murrumujuk, Noonamah, Shoal Bay, Southport, Tumbling Waters, Virginia, Wak Wak, Weddell and Wickham.

Land use

The Litchfield Council area is predominantly rural and rural-residential, with some small indigenous communities, a defence area and a prison. The main townships are Howard Springs and Humpty Doo, which include residential, commercial and industrial land use. Rural land is used mainly for agriculture (particularly beef cattle farming) and horticulture, with some conservation areas. Tourism is also an important industry. The Council area encompasses a total land area of about 3,100 square kilometres, including coastal and riverine areas, rainforests and lagoons.


The Litchfield Council area is served by the Stuart Highway and the Arnhem Highway.

Settlement history

Traditionally indigenous people lived in the area, and continue to do so, often in small communities. European settlement dates from 1864 when the area was first surveyed, although population was minimal, with land being used mainly for agricultural and pastoral purposes. Some growth took place during the 1870s and 1880s, spurred by the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line and the goldrush. During WWII a military camp operated at Howard Springs, with war offensive launched from several airstrips in the area. More substantial growth occurred in the area from the post-war years, particularly from the 1970s. The population increased steadily from the early 1990s, rising from under 10,000 in 1991 to over 20,000 in 2011. Some of this population increase, particularly during the early 1990s, would be due to the establishment of the Robertson Barracks (army base) in 1992, which houses about 3,500 people.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Litchfield Council area were the Larrakia, Woolner and Djowei Aboriginal people.