Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
1-2 June 2013

Tennant Creek
location map
Tennant Creek has a population of 3,062 (2011 census), of which 1,592 (52%) claim to be indigenous.

The climate is classed as Desert, average daily maximum temperature is 31.8°C; hottest month is December with average daily maximum of 37.2°C and average daily minimum of 24.9°C. Coolest month is July with average daily maximum of 24.6°C and average daily minimum of 12.3°C. Annual rainfall is 473.3 millimetres, with a bit more than half of that (241.1 millimetres) in January and February. There are two main seasons: the Dry from May to October with sunny days and cool nights and mornings and the West from November to April which is hot and humid.

Our couple of days in Tennant Creek were quiet. We caught up with laundry and did some food shopping in the supermarket. On previous visits we had looked at the Battery Hill former gold mine and the Telegraph Station. The weather was fairly warm on our first day (Saturday) but a cool change came through at 3 o'clock on Sunday morning with much noise and wind; Sunday morning and evening were cool. Daytime maximum temperature was 27°C.

As new arrivals it was difficult for us to identify different shops because of the local practice of not displaying wares in shop windows. Frontages on shops were protected by metal meshing or sheeting behind, or in front of, the glass (if there was any glass). Business names were usually not emblazoned across frontages and it often required some effort to work out what a shop sold. A few times we thought a shop was empty until we looked more closely and realised it was still in business.

Tennant Creek's history is marked by events and places such as the Telegraph Station and the Gold Rush/Battery Hill and the town has incorporated these events in tourist advertising. The Telegraph Station is largely intact and makes an excellent memorial for a major Australian construction work now largely overlooked but the remains of mining are scattered and deteriorated and less easy to appreciate.

I spent some time at Mary Ann Dam a few kilometres from Tennant Creek, still holding a good supply of water and very pleasantly laid out with a carpark and amenities block beside the water.