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Adelaide River

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Adelaide River is a small but historically significant town located at the crossing of the Stuart Highway over the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory of Australia. The town is upstream of the Adelaide and Mary River Floodplains Important Bird Area., Adelaide River had a population of 353. Adelaide River is part of the Coomalie Shire and is the second largest settlement (after Batchelor) in the local government area.HistoryPre-European settlementThe Kungarrakan and Awarai Aboriginal peoples are acknowledged as the traditional owners of the land surrounding the present day town of Adelaide River. There was little acknowledgement of their connection to the land in the early history of the area, evidenced by the predominantly European place names. Their way of life remained unchanged for many thousands of years prior to settlement.Settlement and railwayAdelaide River was first settled by workers who arrived in the area to construct the Overland Telegraph Line. During construction, the discovery of gold at Pine Creek in 1872 had a major impact on the settlement.In 1873, a weekly mail service between Southport and a mining site further south at Yam Creek was established. This service utilised pack horses, and during the wet season months when progress was slow mail bags from the north and south were exchanged at the crossing of the Adelaide River. The following year, Mr. Edward Hopewell was awarded this mail contract and built the Q.C.E. Hotel on the river bank and a restaurant, the "Jolly Waggoner" was opened by George Doherty, increasing the importance of the area as an overnight stop for travellers. The first police station in the town was constructed in 1879.
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