Only 98km from Darwin this Northern Territory town feels a thousand miles from anywhere. In fact it is the gateway to Litchfield National Park which features the Tabletop Range and the spring fed waterfalls that have carved rock holes and ravines at the base of the escarpments.
With only 340 residents, 50% of aboriginal descent, Batchelor has never been a big town. It peaked during World War 2 when the Batchelor Airfield was built to help defend the 'top end' against Japanese attack. A tent city was established to house the many service personnel from the RAAF, US Army Air Force and No 18 Dutch East Indies Squadron who flew bombing missions into the Southwest Pacific.
Prior to the arrival of the airfield Batchelor was a sleepy settlement with fluctuating fortunes. The region gain attention as early as 1872 when gold was discovered at Yam Creek in the area now known as 'Rum Jungle'. The name Rum Jungle stirs up romantic notions of a dark and mysterious place and there are elements of this in it's history. Other ventures in the region have included Uranium mining and various agricultural enterprises.
Today Batchelor is devoted to tourism, education and horticulture. 40% of the workforce are engaged in some form of indigenous education with the town being home to the Batchelor Institute which focusses on higher education for Aboriginal students from around Australia.
Batchelor attractions include a museum, butterfly enclosure, cultural centre and scaled replica of the famous Czech stronghold - Karlstein Castle. Of course the Litchfield National Park is right on the doorstep.
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