History

 

Adelaide River is a small town steep in WW2 & pioneer history. It is located at the crossing of the Stuart Hwy over the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory, Australia.

The first Europeans to travel through the area were members of the Goyder survey expedition in 1869. The first settlement was not established until 1870, a base for workers on the construction of the overhead telegraph line. The discovery of gold at Pine Creek in 1872 had a major impact on the settlement.

A hotel was established in 1874 on the southern side of the Adelaide River by Mr. Edward Hopewell, it was initially called the Q.C.E Hotel. In the years to come it was moved from the southern side of the river to the northern side. It has had many names over the years but has now become known as the Adelaide River Inn.

In 1888 the railway line still in construction between the port of Darwin & Pine Creek had reached Adelaide River.

In 1936 construction work began to build an unsealed, dry weather road between Adelaide River & Darwin.

The railway at this time was the primary means of transport.

Following the first Japanese air-raids on Darwin on 19th Feb 1942, Australian & American military headquarters were relocated from Darwin to Adelaide River. Military airfields at Adelaide River, Coomalie Creek & Pell were built along with an artillery & weapons range at Tortilla Flats.

In August 1942, the Adelaide River War Cemetery was established. It is now the final resting place for 63 civilians & 434 service personnel.

Between 1943 & 1945 an ammunition dump & spur railway line was established at Snake Creek, 3.2km north of the town. At its peak 30,000 Australian & American soldiers were based in Adelaide River. Adelaide River was only ever bombed once by the Japanese on the 12th of November 1943.

On the 11th of January 1962, Adelaide River was officially proclaimed a town.

In 1976 railway services to Adelaide River were suspended & finally closed in 1981.

The town now has the government services of a Post Office, Police Station, Fire Station, Health Clinic & Primary School. There are local businesses that offer accommodation & camping, fuel, alcohol, meals, grocery items, tyre & mechanical repair. The town has a population of around 230 people.