Back in Time: Emungalan: The second township of Katherine

Emungalan: The second township of Katherine
Emungalan: The second township of Katherine

Back in Time is a weekly column about the exciting history of the Katherine region. Got a story to share or an old photograph? Email editor.kathtimes@ruralpress.com. 

Emungalan: The second township of Katherine

When you see the Emungalan Road sign as you head north out of Katherine it is hard to believe that a complete small town existed there in the 1920’s with families and a school.

When the railway arrived at the Katherine River in 1917, a bridge had to be built.

The small population of Knott’s Crossing moved to the north side of the river and built the town of Emungalan to accommodate the major engineering project of building the bridge.

The name Emungalan is believed be an Aboriginal word meaning – ‘a place of stone’.

By late 1918, The Township boasted a population of 21 people and consisted of four stores, five trades businesses, Chinese shops and tailors, a blacksmiths shop, a boarding house, a post office and police station.

Most of the fresh meat and vegetables was accessed from Springvale Homestead. There was a small school with up to ten students.

The closest medical facility was at the tin mining town of Maranboy.

The townspeople enjoyed a social life of picnicking on the river, playing tennis and the occasional race meeting.

Emungalan existed until the completion of the Railway Bridge in 1926 when the population began to relocate to the current site. 

The people used horse and drays, wheelbarrows and cars to transport their belongings and rebuild on the current south side site of the town.

The Emungalan Ceme-tery, which has five graves, can be accessed by turning right on to Gwendoline Drive on the north side of the river. 

Drive parallel to the Stuart Highway and the cemetery is about half way down the dirt track on the right hand side near the old railway line.

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