Skip navigation
The Australian National University

North Australian Research Unit

Bust of HC
Buildings at NARU, 1986 (Source: ANU)

The North Australia Research Unit (NARU) was established in 1973 to specialise in research in northern Australia and to provide a base and logistic support for ANU and other Australian and overseas institutions undertaking research in northern Australia. The campus occupies a site of approximately 3.9 hectares in the suburb of Brinkin, Darwin, Northern Territory. At the NARU campus, ANU has established the Arafura Timor Research Facility (ATRF), a joint venture between the Australian Institute of Marine Science and ANU. NARU operates as a campus of ANU, managed by the Facilities & Services Division.

Aboriginal Heritage Values at NARU

The Darwin area is the land of the Larrakia people. It is highly likely that boundaries and ranges were fluid and varied over time. As a consequence, the patterns recorded in the recent past may represent only the situation at European contact.

Contact between white explorers and the Aboriginal people of the Darwin region occurred as early as 1837 when Captain J. Stokes made contact with 'a party of aborigines' (Stokes 1846). George Goyder, leader of the Northern Territory Survey Expedition of 1868 to 1870 reported continuous contact with Aboriginal people, describing them and making collections of spears, baskets and boomerangs (Stokes 1846; Kerr 1971). Stokes' (1846) diaries contain detailed descriptions of the Aboriginal people of the Darwin area and beyond recording many instances of both friendly contact and unfriendly contact with deaths occurring amongst both groups.

Heavy development on the ANU property since its inception has likely destroyed any traces of Aboriginal sites or artefacts on the site, however the cultural connection to this area remains strong.

Updated:  26 May 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Facilities & Services Division/Page Contact:  Systems & Information Technology