For Bustout Tennant Creek is our first Northern Territory town. Tennant Creek is a long way from Camooweal (440k) and nearly 400k north of Alice Springs. The next ‘town’ north of Tennant Creek is Mataranka which is nearly 600k north. Tennant Creek is a long way from everywhere, and is the Territory’s most central town.
Tennant Creek, given its size is also one of those few places in Australia, where the Aboriginal population is approaching one third of the whites.
European history of this area began in 1860 when explorer Stewart passed this way on his unsuccessful first attempt to cross the continent from South to North. He named a creek to the north of town after John Tennant, a financier of his expedition.
The Overland Telegraph was constructed in the 1870s and forged a corridor through the middle of the continent that the Explorer’s Way and Ghan train now travel. A temporary building for a telegraph repeater station was erected near the watercourse of Tennant Creek in 1872.
Tennant Creek was the site of Australia’s last gold rush during the 1930s and at that time was the third-largest gold producer in Australia and quickly caused the population to grow to 600. “Battery Hill” still overlooks the town of Tennant Creek and is the site of one of the last two mines. Now a museum.
Given distances traveled Tennant Creek is a stop-over town. There plenty of accommodation options.