Katherine Area Profile

Major Communities

Name Population Resource Centre
Katherine 300 Katherine Town Council

Minor Communities

Name Population Resource Centre
Binjari 290 Katherine Town Centre
Rockhole 250 Kalano Community Association Incorporated

Often called the 'Crossroads of the North' because of its location, Katherine is the fourth largest town in the Northern Territory and is located 312 kilometres south-east of Darwin.


The first people to inhabit the Katherine region were the Jawoyn and Dagomen Aboriginal people.

Explorer John McDouall Stuart passed through the region in 1862 and named the river 'Katherine' after the daughter of his sponsor, James Chambers. As with many settlements in the Territory, the town developed with the arrival of the Overland Telegraph Line and establishment of the Telegraph Station in 1872.

Download the Katherine Fact Sheet (PDF 1.2mb)



Health Services in the Katherine region

Katherine West Health Board (KWHB)

Established in 1998, the Katherine West Health Board Aboriginal Corporation is a provider of clinical, preventative and public health services to mostly aboriginal clients over a 162,000 sq/km region on the Western side of the Northern Territory, extending from Katherine in the north, the Northern tip of the Tanami Desert in the south and all the way westward to the West Australian Border.

KWHB Health Centres have teams of resident health professionals staffed by GPs, registered nursing staff, admin staff, fully trained Aboriginal Health Workers and visiting specialists, allied health professionals, community development and public health personnel. KWHB owns and operates seven fully equipped health centres in communities of varying size.

KWHB also have a mobile health team, who travel to varying outstations and cattle properties which lie on the western side of the top end.


Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation


The Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation’s main purpose is to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the region east of Katherine in the Northern Territory. This is done through their health clinics and health education, mixing together traditional Indigenous culture and the best of mainstream medicine. Most importantly, Sunrise’s approach involves community people taking part in controlling their own health. Everything from financial management and governance, staff selection and service delivery priorities are directed by our Aboriginal Board and Community Health Committees.

The above communities population groups range from 20 to more than 1000 people. The majority of communities are traditionally oriented Aboriginal communities, although the township of Mataranka is an open Northern Territory town with a population base of 500 non-Indigenous and 130 Indigenous people. Additionally, there are also a number of pastoral properties with a non-Indigenous population of 100-200 people who also assess the services of the community health centres. Overall, there are around 3500 regular clients who utilise Sunrise Health Service. Sunrise have about 100-150 staff-60% Indigenous.


Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service


Wuril Wurlinjang are a community controlled Aboriginal Medical Service located in Katherine providing comprehensive primary health care to Indigenous people of the Katherine area. The health service began in 1972. In 1983 it was relocated to Mialli Brumby and took its name from the Jawoyn land near the clinic that is associated with the mosquito dreaming path. The health service was separately incorporated in 1991, and in 1995 the premises were relocated to a new and purpose built complex within Katherine to improve access to the service for all Aboriginal people.

The clinic provides a means of accessing many of the Indigenous people in and around Katherine, and clinical staff take advantage of this by conducting thorough health checks on, and providing health education to, all clients visiting the clinic.

The clinic is staffed by Aboriginal Health Workers, one of which oversees its operation as the Clinic Coordinator. These staff provide the first point of contact for all clients of the clinic – they screen, take their history, and deliver health education. They also diagnose and treat according to their training and experience, ensuring that treatment guidelines such as those detailed in the CARPA Manual are adhered to, and act as interpreters and cultural guides as necessary. Clients are seen by a doctor as appropriate. Six consult rooms are available, and there is a fully equipped treatment room which can be utilised for emergency care and wound dressings.



Languages in the Region

The below languages are present in the Katherine West region. However it should be noted that as a result of colonisation, the growth of towns, and the transient nature of some Aboriginal peoples, there may be many different Aboriginal languages evident in a given area.

Kriol Language

Kriol is the contact language now spoken as a first language by most Aboriginal people across the region. Kriol is spoken in the Barkly and further north, but not generally far south of Tennant Creek.





A two bedroom secure house is provided to Health Centre staff. It is furnished, linen is provided and the house is air conditioned. A television & a telephone are within the house.

Limited internet usage is available at the clinic. No vehicle IS provided.

Timber Creek

Staff accommodation is provided by KWHB. Visitors can choose from Dusty’s Cabins opposite the Health Centre slightly out of town, or the Hotel and Caravan Park in the centre of town. The hotel rooms have the basic facilities including a small TV, small fridge, soap and towel – but no shampoo. Dusty’s Cabins have cooking facilities.



Contacts and Advice in Katherine

The following organisations and contact numbers may be useful in locating sources of advice about the Katherine Area. Care has been taken to ensure these details are correct, however unfortunately some may change or be unattended.

Diwurruwurru-Jaru Aboriginal Corporation

6 Pearce St Katherine NT 0850
Ph: 08 8971 1233

Kalano Aged Care Facility

Gun Club Rd Katherine NT 0850
Ph: 08 8971 1061

Kalano Community Association Incorporated

Northbank Farm Katherine NT 0850
Ph: 08 8972 2588

Sunrise Health

Po Box 371 Katherine NT 0851
Ph: 08 8971 1120
Provides services to 9 health centres located east of Katherine along the Arnhem Highway and the Roper Highway. Services include primary clinical care services, emergency care, health promotion, social support services, chronic disease management, nutrition programs, aged care programs, women’s & maternal health, child health, aural health, men’s health.

Wardaman Aboriginal Corporation

6 Pearce St Katherine NT 0850
Ph: 08 8972 3874

Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation

Pandanus Plaza First St Katherine NT 0851
Ph: 08 8971 1100
Also provides the Banatjarl Family Resource Centre, which includes a safe place for women and children, and Elders retreat, violence prevention training programs and support, ‘Mother’ Women’s Resource Centre, offender programs and youth programs.

Katherine West Health Board Aboriginal Corporation

Unit 10 38 Riverbank Office Village Cnr Shea & First
St Katherine NT 0851
Ph: 08 8971 9300
[email protected]
Provides health services to 7 communities outside of Katherine. Services include preventive health, maternal health, child health, chronic disease, mobile health team.

Northern Land Council

5 Katherine Terrace Katherine NT 0850
Ph: 08 8972 2799

Roper Gulf Shire Council

Po Box 1321 Katherine NT 0851
Ph: 08 8972 9000
[email protected]

Wurli Wurlinjang

25 Third St Katherine NT 0851
Ph: 08 8971 0044 (Clinic)
Ph: 08 8971 1156 (Admin)
Also provides Binjari Health Service – includes nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers, visiting medical officer.

Social & Emotional Wellbeing Service

Wurli Wurlinjang
Ph: 08 8971 2716