Port Essington

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Port Essington is an inlet and historic site located on the Cobourg Peninsula in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory. It was the site of an early attempt at British settlement, but now exists only as a remote series of ruins.


In the early 19th century, the British government became interested in establishing a settlement on Australia's northern coastline in order to facilitate trade with Asia. In 1824, Port Essington was proposed as the first such settlement,, The Sydney Morning Herald (2 December 2010) but was later passed over in favour of Fort Dundas on Melville Island and Fort Wellington at Raffles Bay. In 1831, a small station was constructed in the area, in the hope of using it as a stopping point for ships, but it was rarely used. When both Fort Dundas and Fort Wellington failed within several years, the Port Essington site was revisited. As a result, a settlement, officially named Victoria Settlement after the young Queen Victoria, but popularly known as Port Essington, was surveyed by Charles Tyers in 1838, consisting of 24 houses and a hospital.

On 24 August 1839, the only play ever staged in Port Essington was performed, the 1797 comedy in five acts Cheap Living by Frederick Reynolds. by Mark Day, The Australian (30 October 2010). Accessed 9 April 2011 The set and costume design was by Owen Stanley (1811–1850)., Dictionary of Australian Artists Online,...
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