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Northern Territory

Northern Territory adopted their flag on 1 July 1978 even though the Northern Territory was founded as a Federal Territory on 1 January 1911. Its first flag was hoisted on 1st July 1978 when self government was attained. The flag was designed by Robert Ingpen, a Victorian illustrator, and incorporates both the Territorian colors and floral emblem. In the center of the fly is a stylized Sturt's Desert Rose with seven petals on an ochre field. At the hoist is the Southern Cross in white on a black panel.
The Northern Territory covers about one sixth of the Australian continent with an area of 1.35 million square kilometers including 6,200 kilometers of coast line. This is equal to the combined areas of France, Italy and Spain. The population is 170,000 people and they live mainly in the centers of Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, however despite its size, the Northern Territory represents less than two percent of Australia's population.

The northern quarter of the state is known as the "Top End" and has a distinct region of savannah wood-lands and pockets of rain-forests and the capital Darwin is situated here. The Arnhem Land plateau which is in the north-east, rises abruptly from the plain and continues to the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the central Australia, the Territory is crossed by the east-west ridges of the Macdonnell Ranges, with heights reaching more than 600 meters. The well known monolith, Uluru formally known as Ayers Rock, is 348 meters high and is near the south-west corner of the Territory. Whereas much of the southern three quarters of the Territory consists of desert and semi arid plain.

The Northern Territory has two main centers, Darwin and Alice Springs, and each of these have totally different climates. Darwin's temperature remains almost constant throughout the year with the daily average maximum being 32 C whereas Alice Springs experiences a desert summer with temperatures in the range of 36 C during the day and in winter the nights range in the area of 2 C. The rainfall also varies between the center and in the north, monsoonal influences produce two definite seasons known as "the wet" ( October to April ) and "the dry" ( May to September ). During the wet season the coast is subject to tropical cyclones ( hurricanes or typhoon's ).

The lifestyle in the Northern Territory is relaxed and conducive to the outdoors. However special attention needs to be taken in regards to swimming and the signs need to be obeyed. The reason for this is that certain areas have crocodiles and box jellyfish ( Sea Wasps ). It is a multi-cultural place with 52 different ethnic groups. Because of the harsh climate and vast distances carrying water and in large quantities is essential. If you break down or get lost it could be several hours or even days before help arrives. It is also necessary to drink at least 2 liters of water every day. The largest industry in Northern Territory is mining with tourism, agribusiness, defense, construction and fishing also.

The Northern Territory was first sighted by William van Colsten on the Dutch vessel Arnhem in 1623 however Maccassan seamen probably visited the coast long before that. After first proclaiming possession of the north coast in the name of King George IV the first settlement was established in 1824 at Fort Dundas on Melville Island. This, and two other attempts at settlement Fort Wellington in 1829 and Port Essington in 1849, three years after the proclamation of the Colony of North Australia failed. This was due to illness, lethargy and lack of trade. In 1862 John McDouall Stuart started a journey from South Australia to the Northern Territory in a successful attempt by South Australia to take control of the territory from New South Wales. In 1864 at Escape Cliffs another abortive fourth attempt at settlement was made. In 1869 a government surveyor, George Goyder, began surveying at Port Darwin and within six months building commenced.

Northern Territory was administered by the Federal Government and used the National Coat of Arms. Then when the Northern Territory was granted self-government on July 1, 1978, the territory was granted it's own Coat of Arms.

The shield contains Aboriginal motifs associated with Arnhem Land.

The supporters are two red kangaroos.

The crest is a wedge-tailed eagle.

FAUNAL EMBLEM (bird) of Northern Territory is the WEDGE-TAIL EAGLE.

The Wedge-tailed eagle ( Aquila audax ) was proclaimed as the territory's emblem in 1975. It is the largest bird of prey in Australia with a wing span of up to 2.5 meters, which makes it a impressive bird. it has the ability to soar for very long periods on air currents. Wedge-tail eagles hunt over open ground and when prey is sighted they swoop to kill, then eat their prey on the ground. The food is rabbits, small animals, birds and reptiles. Sunrise and sunset are feeding times, the rest of the day taken up with its gliding which is indicating their territory or else sitting on exposed branches. Adults birds mate permanently and have several nests and choose one a season.

Both of them help repair the nest and the male lines it daily with fresh leaves while the female incubates the eggs. The male also does all the hunting until the chicks are old enough which is about 30 days. In arid and dry areas the pairs may not breed for several years at a time.

The plumage is black with the neck, wing and under-tail a dark brown. Tail is wedge shaped, long and black. Beak is off white with dark tip.

FAUNAL EMBLEM (animal) of Northern Territory is the RED KANGAROO.

The red kangaroo ( Macropus rutus ), was proclaimed in 1975 by the Northern Territory Government. It is probably the best known of the kangaroos of all the species. It is one of the large kangaroos and the other being the grey kangaroo. It is called the red kangaroo because sometimes it is red however some times it is grey in color. The world's largest marsupial, with the fully grown males standing two meters in height.

The female is often called the "Blue Flyer" because of her blue-grey fur. These animals are largely nocturnal and eat grass and green herbage. A single young is born at anytime of the year and the joey remains in the pouch for 8 months and continues to suckle until 12 months of age. The kangaroo is normally found around mulga and mallee scrub grasslands and deserts of mainland Australia and is absent from the wetter areas of eastern, northern and south-western Australia.

FLORAL EMBLEM of Northern Territory is the STURT'S DESERT ROSE [ Gossypium sturtianum ]

On 12 July 1961, Sturt's Desert Rose was proclaimed floral emblem of the Northern Territory by the Commonwealth Government. Proclamation was made using the name Cienfugosia gossypioides which is now replaced by the name Gossypium sturtianum var.

Sturt's Desert Rose has also been known as Darling River Rose, Cotton Rosebush and Australian Cotton. The species was first collected by Captain Charles Sturt (1795-1869) "in the beds of the creeks on the Barrier Range" during his journey to central Australia in 1844-45. In its natural habitat, Sturt's Desert Rose forms a relatively compact shrub about a meter in height but may reach 2 meters in cultivation. The leaves are dark green usually with black stipples, entire, round to oval in shape and about 5 centimeters long. The mauve petals are about 5 centimeters long with red bases forming a contrasting center in each flower. Flowering is not strictly seasonal but reaches a peak in late winter. The fruit, a capsule, is about 1 cm long and contains many small seeds covered with short silky hairs. Sturt's Desert Rose occurs naturally on stony or rocky slopes, or in dry creek beds in the southern part of the Northern Territory, north-eastern South Australia, western Queensland, western New South Wales and in parts of northern Western Australia.

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