Beyond the boundary
: a history of the impact of planning and politics on the Darwin area of Fannie Bay 1869-2001

  • Evelyn Mary Louis Gibson

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    At the time of settlement of the Northern Territory by South Australia in 1869, the Fannie Bay area was left outside the Darwin town boundary as public land. This thesis records the impact of planning, politics and land speculation on the area. 

    Due to speculation, with little town land available for genuine settlers, a plan for a township at Fannie Bay was drawn up in the 1880s. However, early development of the area was by way of institutions and industrial projects. This continued after South Australia handed over the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth in 1911. In 1914 prime land at Fannie Bay was sold to a British company for the purpose of establishing a meatworks. While this project failed, in 1919 Fannie Bay became famous as the landing site of the first England-Australian flight. By the outbreak of World War II, Fannie Bay was established as a vital link in commercial aviation. 

    In 1945 the Commonwealth resolved the issue of land held by absentee owners by compulsorily acquiring all privately owned property in the Darwin area. Between 1937 and 1950, five town plans were created for Darwin, not one of which was completed to its original vision. In 1950 Fannie Bay was included within the Darwin town boundary. The suburb of Fannie Bay was the first new post-war suburb planned and built, and consisted mainly of Commonwealth housing. When Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin in 1974, Fannie Bay survived relatively unscathed due to the stringent cyclone rulings in place at the time the suburb was built. 

    In 1978 the Northern Territory was granted self-government. The leasehold system of land title in place since 1945 was changed to freehold. Most of the Commonwealth housing in Fannie Bay passed into private ownership. Due to community action, the Fannie Bay area remained largely free of the increased speculative developments of the 1990s, and the consequences of the collapse of the Darwin property boom in 2000. 
    Date of Award2003
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Carment (Supervisor)

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