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Darwin, city (1991 pop. 67,946), capital of the Northern Territory, N Australia, on Port Darwin, an inlet of the Timor Sea. Remotely situated on the sparsely settled north coast, Darwin had no rail connection with any of the major Australian cities until 2003, when the line to Adelaide was completed. Australian military personnel and their dependents make up a large part of the population. Darwin is multicultural, with large Chinese and aboriginal populations. In World War II the city was heavily bombed by the Japanese; later a military airdrome, fuel-oil installations, and a wharf were built, and Darwin became a key Allied base. Originally called Palmerston, the town was renamed (1911) for Charles Darwin because its site had been a stop (1839) during a voyage of Darwin's ship, the Beagle. The city was almost completely destroyed by a cyclone in Dec., 1974. It was rebuilt and now attracts large numbers of tourists who visit nearby Kakadu National Park.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Australian and New Zealand Political Geography

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