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Northern Territory

West Arnhem/Jabiru Ministry

The Jabiru township is in the north-eastern corner of the Kakadu National Park, NT. It was built to accommodate people employed in the Ranger Uranium Mine and has developed as the Western administrative hub of Arnhemland with Nhulunbuy its counterpart in the East. Based in Jabiru in West Arnhem Land, boundaries extend as far east as Maningrida (the largest remote community in the NT), northward to Croker and Goulburn Islands, and south as far as Katherine. 

There are significant Aboriginal communities in the area, and the Kakadu National Park, listed as World Heritage, is an important tourist destination. Pastoral stations are also found on the edge of the Park based around Pine Creek and Adelaide River. The Wet season can become oppressive with its high humidity and the Dry Season attracts many visitors from the winter 'down South'. Flooded rivers with their crocodiles make travelling in the Wet season difficult if not at times, impossible.

The ministry began in the township in October 1980 to provide support to those employed in the mining operations, as well as Aboriginal communities in the area. Ministry was extended to Aboriginal communities and groups living in or near the Jabiru township, to Aboriginal communities on the north-eastern edge of the National Park, and to people employed in the mining and tourist industry.

During 2007, a new partnership arrangement was established with the Pilgrim Presbytery and Northern Regional Council of Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Congress to offer a ministry resource person to the communities of Western Arnhemland which includes Minjilang (Croker Island), Warruwi (South Goulburn Island), Maningrida, Jabiru and numerous homeland centres where indigenous inhabitants live on their ancestral estates.

A significant emphasis for the Patrol Minister at present is support of the translation of the Scriptures into local languages, the training of indigenous Pastors, and encouraging students at Nungalinya College, a theological training institution in Darwin.

Tennant Barkly Patrol

The base for the Patrol is Tennant Creek which is situated in the geographic centre of the Northern Territory (1000km south of Darwin, and 500km north of Alice Springs). The Patrol extends from Barrow Creek, 220 kilometres south of Tennant Creek, north to Dunmarra (380 km north of Tennant on the Stuart Hwy), west along the Buchannan Highway to Wave Hill on the edge of the Tanami Desert, north-east to near Cape Crawford (the corner of the Tablelands and Carpentaria Highways) and east to the Queensland border. This Patrol is said to be approximately 600,000 square kilometres, the equivalent to three times the size of Victoria or ten times the size of Tasmania.

There are about 120 pastoral homesteads, most stations producing beef cattle for the Asian markets. There are also a number of indigenous communities which own and manage their stations. It is estimated that pastoral companies own a majority of the pastoral stations and have appointed managers to run them. Many pastoral stations are struggling with financial difficulties as a result of variable seasons and government decisions.

The most recent pastoral contact list divides the patrol’s focus roughly equally between cattle properties, indigenous communities and roadhouses/tourism businesses. There are a couple of agricultural enterprises in the south of the patrol; one is an indigenous owned enterprise, growing watermelons, the other produces sorghum by centre-pivot irrigation.

Another focus of the patrol’s ministry is on the people who pass through the region – be it as tourists (including grey nomads and back-packers), itinerants (including the mentally ill and other marginalized people) or temporary workers. It would seem that, despite the cessation of gold mining, all sorts of people seek their fortune in this part of remote
Australia (prepared and un-prepared).


Centralian Patrol

The Centralian Patrol is based in Alice Springs which is roughly the centre of the patrol. The Patrol covers approximately 670,000 square kilometers. It covers much of southern Northern Territory and extends down into SA, just north of Marla. It encompasses most of the APY Lands, spreading beyond the WA border. The Centralian Patrol then heads north, covering the Tanami track to the WA border. Returning south, it crosses the Stuart Highway at Barrow Creek, half way between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.East of the Stuart Highway it covers the Sandover Highway all the way to the Queensland Border.

There are over 70 pastoral stations and over 50 Aboriginal communities. In between there are small settlements, outstations, roadhouses, mining communities, Park Rangers Stations within the Centralian Patrol. Within the life of the communities there are schools, medical centres, police stations, age care facilities and tourist centres. Yulara is a key tourist centre close to Uluru. A plethora of service providers also work throughout the patrol (eg. power and water, telecommunications, social service agencies, land councils and local government).

There is chaplaincy to the Alice Springs School of the Air (ASSOA) and the Isolated Children's Parents' Association (ICPA), as well as membership in the Emergency Response Chaplaincy Service (ERCS).

Centralian Patrol