Department of the Northern Territory (1972–75)

Department of the Northern Territory
Department overview
Formed 19 December 1972[1]
Preceding Department
Dissolved 6 June 1975[1]
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Headquarters Darwin, Northern Territory
Ministers responsible
Department executives

The Department of the Northern Territory was an Australian government department that existed between December 1972 and June 1975. It was the second so-named Australian Government department.


The Department was one of several new Departments established by the Whitlam Government, a wide restructuring that revealed some of the new government's program.[2] The creation of the Department, with a Darwin-based Secretary, was seen by many as an effort to undermine the role of the Northern Territory Administrator.[3]


Information about the department's functions and/or government funding allocation could be found in the Administrative Arrangements Orders, the annual Portfolio Budget Statements and in the Department's annual reports.

The Department was responsible for the administration of the Northern Territory of Australia and the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands. The principal matters dealt with by the department at its creation were:[1]


The Department was a Commonwealth Public Service department, staffed by officials who were responsible to the Minister for the Northern Territory.[1] When the department was established, George Warwick Smith was named Secretary.[1] After less than a month, he was replaced by Allan O'Brien.[3]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 CA 1484: Department of the Northern Territory [I], Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 1 January 2014
  2. National Archives of Australia, Gough Whitlam: In Office, National Archives of Australia, archived from the original on 19 April 2013
  3. 1 2 A Rosenzwig, Paul (1996), Governors, Residents and Administrators of the Northern Territory: Excerpts from The House of Seven Gables - A History of Government House, Darwin (PDF), p. 83, archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2014

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