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This Day in History

Australian History

Friday, June 12, 1931. :   The territories of North Australia and Central Australia are reunited as the Northern Territory.

     The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, bordered by the states of Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. From 1825 to 1863, the Northern Territory was part of New South Wales. In 1863, control of the Northern Territory was handed to South Australia as a result of the successful 1862 expedition of John McDouall Stuart to find an overland route through the desert from Adelaide to the north. In 1911, a decade after Federation, the Northern Territory was transferred to Commonwealth control.

During the 1920s, George Pearce, Federal Minister for Home and Territories, campaigned for the separation of the Northern Territory into two smaller territories, on the grounds that it was too large to be properly governed. Thus, in 1926, the 'Northern Australia Act' separated the Northern Territory into North Australia and Central Australia, with the division at the 20th parallel of South latitude. Darwin was to be capital of North Australia and Alice Springs capital of Central Australia.

Although separation took effect in February 1927, within four years the Act was repealed. On 12 June 1931, North Australia and Central Australia were reunited as the Northern Territory.

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