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Trip Planner : South Pacific / Australia / Northern Territory / Top End / Tiwi Islands / Bathurst Island
Bathurst Island is one of the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory off the northern coast of Australia along with Melville Island.DescriptionThe largest settlement on Bathurst is Wurrumiyanga (known as Nguiu until 2010), in the south-east, with a population of around 1,450. Located on the south east corner of Bathurst Island, Wurrumiyanga is approximately 70km north of Darwin. The second largest settlement is Wurakuwu, pop. 50, 60km northwest of Wurrumiyanga. The third settlement on the island is a small family outstation called 4 Mile Camp, about 6 km (4 mi) west of Wurrumiyanga.HistoryThe island was named after Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, who, like Viscount Melville, is also commemorated by a Canadian island. From 1910 to 1938 the island was the site of the Roman Catholic mission of Francis Xavier Gsell, known as the "Bishop with 150 wives" for his practice of "buying" girls betrothed to older men, thus making it possible for them to marry men of their own age.During the Bombing of Darwin the first wave of 188 Japanese planes was spotted by Father John McGrath, a Catholic priest conducting missionary work at the mission station on Bathurst Island. Father McGrath sent a message on the radio saying "An unusually large air formation bearing down on us from the northwest". Nearly everyone ignored this, though it was on the most popular radio station. About an hour later there were roughly 100 people dead, but the people who followed his instruction all survived. Darwin received both this and another warning at least twice by radio, no later than 9:37 a.m. However, 11 US P-40E Kittyhawk fighters and an LB-30 Liberator had just departed Darwin and the Australian duty officer assumed this was the same formation. The warnings were not acted upon so, as at Pearl Harbor two months earlier, Darwin's final chance to make last-minute preparations for the impending raid slipped away.Plan your vacation with our Australia trip itinerary builder and discover the best things to do in Bathurst Island.
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