The Northern Territory has always been an impossible land to master. From its monsoonal Top End to its arid Centre, it promises bountiful resources, but almost every attempt to exploit them has failed. It is too immense, too remote, its resources too inaccessible.
By 1900, the Territory had been largely neglected by its South Australian administrators. Few Europeans ventured there. The first peoples, the Aboriginal population, were the majority, and Chinese people outnumbered white Australians.