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Emery Point Precinct, Allen Av, Larrakeyah, NT, Australia

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List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Historic
Legal Status Indicative Place
Place ID 17692
Place File No 7/03/004/0128
Nominator's Statement of Significance
The Emery Point (precinct) is significant on a number of grounds. As a sacred site, it is significant for its value to Aboriginal people as a place associated with the teaching of young boys. The Emery Point Lighthouse is of historical significance being one of the earliest navigational aids to be built around Darwin's harbour. Technically, the machinery has functioned successfully for over seventy years, withstanding strong cyclonic winds (the only navigational aid to remain functional in Cyclone Tracy). Historically, the presence of military forces has been essential to the continued presence of settlement in north Australia since 1924. In Darwin the military build up played a central role in the development of the area from a small outpost into a thriving city. This build up also has a wider significance within the history of Australia, as a nation independent of imperial defence policy. The physical evidence of that fortress (built 1939-44) is represented by the Larrakeyah Base and as such the structures at Emery Point are particularly significant. The three magazines and remains of bunkers and fortifications are significant as items of military design. The three magazines, particularly are important as well preserved buildings of this type. That the structures may date from 1937 gives them the added significance of being amongst the earliest structures remaining on Larrakeyeh Base.
Official Values Not Available
The precinct is a distinct entity within the Larrakeyah Defence Base, of which it comprises an important component.
Emery Point precinct includes a registered site of sacred significance to Larrakia Aboriginal people (the place is registered by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) as a sacred site), the sites of three magazines and two gun emplacements, and the Emery Point Lighthouse. Although these elements were previously acknowledged as individual significant sites, the physical contiguity and contemporaneous use of the area by Aborigines, and for lighthouse and defence purposes, identify the whole place as important and possessing layers of diverse value.
The Larrakia site was known as Gundal (or Goondal, Goondalwa) and is sacred to the Larrakia as a place associated with men's ceremonies. The milkwood trees on the north side of the road to Emery Point are of particular importance.
There is some doubt about precise construction dates and related details for the gun emplacements and magazines, but it appears certain that these elements were constructed in the early stages (c 1937) of the Larrakeyah Base development, in order to secure the strategically significant Emery Point Headland and adjacent navigation routes. These elements are constructed partially below ground level. Each magazine has a hipped roof and comprises two concrete rooms; each room originally had a separate entrance from an encircling passage. The gun emplacements consist mainly of the circular concrete bases of the emplacements; the guns have been removed.
The Emery Point navigation light was erected in 1900, possibly to meet the needs of the pearling fleet then working from Darwin Harbour as well as to safeguard coastal navigation. Coastal and international navigation was very important to Darwin and the Top End of the Territory before the growth of modern road and air links. The light at Point Charles (1893) was the first such navigational aid to be erected in Darwin Harbour; the Emery Point light was the second. The first light at Emery Point (a kerosene lamp) stood on a bush timber stand some 8m high. The present four footed angle iron stand was installed in 1905; various lights were tried until an acetylene system was installed in 1917. This was replaced by an electric light in the early 1970s. The tower is 9m from the base to the lantern, and the lantern encloses a 1,000 watt quartz halogen bulb.
Larrakai people, 1900, 1937.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
The condition of the various elements in 1994 is as follows:
(1)Sacred site: at the time of nomination in 1989 the site was being used by the army as a golf course. It is now registered as a scared site by AAPA (site No 5073-0002) and is under active custodianship by Larrakia people.
(2) Gun emplacements and magazines: physical integrity of these sites is good. Significance is enhanced by good survival of original materials and details, although one magazine has been reroofed in galvanised steel.
(3) Emery Point Lighthouse: the lighthouse is in good condition. The light is still in use, and is regularly maintained by the Darwin Port Authority.
Allen Avenue, Larrakeyah.
Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (NT), Information materials on Gundal sacred site (access restricted).

Australian Construction Services, Larrakeyah Barracks, Darwin. Darwin 1992.

Hardwick, C, Register of Significant European Cultural Sites in the N.T., a report to the National Trust of Australia (NT), Darwin 1984.

Department of Defence - Army, Larrakeyah Barracks Redevelopment, Darwin, NT,
Statement of Evidence and Supporting Plans for the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, Darwin June 1992.

Department of Transport, Commonwealth of Australia Larrakeyah Barracks, Darwin

Richard Allom Architects, Larrakeyah Barracks, Darwin - Conservation Analysis, Darwin 1987.

Wilson, RJ and HJ, Emery Point Lighthouse, typescript, April 1994; copy held by National Trust of Australia (NT).

Report Produced  Tue Sep 2 06:42:21 2014