Timber Creek
Collage of Timber Creek.

A 1933 edition of The Sunday Times described Timber Creek Police Station as a wilderness outpost - 'Walls of closely-woven bamboo grass from the green banks of the Daly, verandahs of tattered paperbark, floors of hard mud carpeted with silky skins of white angora goats; a setting of broken, purple ranges, nut woods and willowy paperbarks and a wild confusion of pandanus palms. Such is Timber Creek, peaceful outstation of the Territory Police, guardian of the strangest stories of Australia's wilderness, of drama and tragedy enacted under torrid northern skies among savage ranges and illimitable speargrass plains!'

Not only was Timber Creek set in the wilderness, the tiny township was also wild. The article goes on to describe a stockman out droving cattle, who was struck from his horse by a 'flying spear', of midnight arson against a homestead filled with sleeping settlers, of a shooting-murder by a 'half-caste' employee. It seems the lot of a Timber Creek constable involved dealing with "…the wildest of Australia's wild men, deep browed warriors" who apparently created havoc amongst white settlers, spearing cattle, burning down homesteads and killing prospectors and settlers with impunity.

The police station had been in operation for more than 35 years when the article was written and it would seem that black-white relations had steadily deteriorated since Augustus Gregory had first landed by boat on the banks of the Victoria River in 1855. The Timber Creek district is the traditional home of the Ngaliwrru and Nungali aboriginal people whole called the locality 'Makalamayi'. Gregory had landed to repair his schooner and felled the local trees for materials - hence Timber Creek. A nearby boab tree bears a clearly visible inscription "2 July 1856" and is known as Gregory's Tree.

Timber Creek became an important river port for local pastoral interests and it was used up until the 1930's when road transport became a more viable method of shipping cattle and supplies.

Today Timber Creek is home to under 300 people with 65% being of aboriginal descent. The remains of the Victoria River Depot include the landing and the foundation of the stores building. A few historical graves mark the site.

The 1908 Police Station acts as a museum and is managed by the National Trust of Australia while crocodile feeding is a nightly activity at the caravan park.

The lookout on the escapement above town offers great views over the town and the river. Timber Creek is the gateway to the Judburra-Gregory National Park with its sandstone gorges and escarpments and diverse ecology. The park has a couple of walk trails and, refreshingly, six 4WD tracks.


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