Why a Museum of the Northern Territory?

The new Museum of the Northern Territory will incorporate the Territory’s continuous history inclusive of the world’s most ancient culture, the European pioneers, our pastoral history, our frontline in World War II, until contemporary times.

The new Museum will improve representation of the Territory by telling our stories through a building design that showcases the historical and cultural exhibits.

The NT Government is committed to transforming the Darwin CBD into a thriving, cultural tourism destination and connecting the CBD to Cullen Bay. The Museum is a key pillar of this plan.

Why do we need the Museum of the Northern Territory when we already have MAGNT at Bullocky Point?

The NT Government has announced a significant investment in arts and cultural assets across the Northern Territory. This will position the Northern Territory as a world-class tourist and cultural destination.

Through its 10-Year Museums Master Plan, the Government has actively sought feedback to set the framework and direction for this investment.

The new Museum of the Northern Territory aims to complement existing art galleries and museums such as MAGNT and feedback through this consultation process will look at ways to connect our arts and cultural infrastructure.

Feedback from the local community and business has been clear the CBD needs to be rejuvenated.

The design of the Museum will also capture the significance of the Myilly Point location, reflecting the site’s own history particularly Larrakia heritage and the significance of the Kahlin Compound.

How does this fit in to plans to reinvigorate the Darwin CBD?

The NT Government has outlined a plan to see the NT’s city centres transformed. A Capital City Committee has been formed to enliven Darwin City as the tropical capital of the North.

A 10-year-plan to bring the Darwin CBD to life will work with Government’s long-term infrastructure investment, $120 million of which has been fast-tracked for 2017 to support jobs.

The Northern Territory Government has identified some major projects as part of its contribution to the City Deals initiative. This Museum is an anchor in this city-wide thinking.

For more information, visit the Darwin City Deal website.

Why the Myilly Point site?

The Larrakia people are the traditional owners of the Darwin region. For thousands of years before European contact, the Larrakia had a vibrant traditional society based on a close relationship with the sea and trade with neighbouring groups such as the Tiwi, Wagait and Wulna. When the first settlers arrived in the Darwin area, the Larrakia provided them with food and showed them water. Despite conflict and marginalisation, from the beginning the Larrakia participated in the cultural life of the early settlement, and lived in and around the city, before they were moved out to camps further away from the city centre. Many popular sites around Darwin also hold specific meaning for Larrakia people (Larrakia Nation 2017).

The land at Myilly Point is part of Larrakia country and Kahlin Compound was established in 1913 to house ‘half-caste’ and visiting Aboriginal people. Members of the Stolen Generation were also brought here from across the Territory. Survivors of the Kahlin Compound endured some of the darkest times in the Northern Territory’s history and many are now Darwin’s oldest, most prominent and famous families. The compound was closed in 1938 following outrage at the living conditions and was taken over by the military.

In 1941, construction began on an 89-bed hospital on the Lambell Terrace site, initially for Army and eventually for peaceful purpose. The hospital is the birthplace of many of today’s prominent Territorians.

In 1980, the hospital moved to a new site at Casuarina. The old hospital buildings became a temporary home for the Larrakeyah Primary School and the predecessor to Charles Darwin University, before being demolished in the late 1990s.

The Museum and its site context will reflect the locality history recognising the Larrakia people, and the significance of the Kahlin Compound. It will also reflect the history of the Old Darwin Hospital and accompanying Nurses Quarters and the associated pioneer medical services of the Northern Territory.

The Museum will also reflect our Chinese, near-Asian, Greek and many other ancestries – whose stories in-part also connect with this site. The Museum will be a recognition of Darwin’s successful and integrated multicultural community.

The Myilly Point Site is in close proximity to the Darwin CBD and will play a crucial role in linking the Darwin Waterfront to the CBD to Cullen Bay. Linking the Waterfront to Cullen Bay will provide one continuous and connected City that is a drawcard for both locals and tourists alike.

Who are troppo+ARM?

A consultant team led by troppo+ARM has been engaged by the NT Government to consult the community in order to undertake a scoping study for the Museum of the Northern Territory, and develop a return brief for the design and development of a new Museum of the Northern Territory.

troppo+ARM have been selected because most of their combined acknowledged works focus on cultural space. ARM is known for designing significant exhibition and cultural buildings around the nation (National Museum of Australia, Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance redevelopment). troppo is a proud national face of Territory architecture and, in addition to the rich process of incorporating Indigenous Stories of Place in visitor and cultural centres, they have worked far and wide across the Northern Territory including within Aboriginal communities.

What consultation has occurred to date?

There has been extensive ongoing consultation with the community about the use of the Myilly Point site, as well as the adjacent Flagstaff Park, for decades.

There have been a variety of proposals to turn the Kahlin Compound and Old Hospital site into a tourism and commercial development, and a community precinct.

In February 2017, the NT Government announced plans to revitalise the Darwin CBD, including a proposal for a Museum at Myilly Point.

This vision builds on existing evidence, plans and engagements. For more information, visit the Darwin City Deal website.

How can I provide feedback?

The troppo+ARM team will consult directly with some stakeholders for input on the return brief for the design and development of the Museum of the Northern Territory. The community will have opportunities to provide feedback through the NT Government’s Have Your Say online engagement portal, and by attending workshops and pop-up displays across the NT’s major regional centres. Regional and remote stakeholders are encouraged to contribute through digital channels, and additional hard copy surveys will be distributed through art and community networks across the NT.

Details of consultation timelines are available through the Have Your Say online engagement platform. 


How will my feedback be considered?

The team will compile a Consultation Executive Summary for the NT Government once consultation has been finalised. troppo+ARM will then undertake a scoping study for the Museum of the Northern Territory, and develop a return brief for the design and development the Museum. 

What are the next steps for the Museum of the Northern Territory?

troppo+ARM will develop a Consultation Executive Summary for delivery to the NT Government. The team will then develop a return brief for the design and development the Museum.