Nauiyu / Daly River
The Council Office for the Ward is located in Nauiyu and is the service centre for the nearby Indigenous outstation of Wooliana. Nauiyu Council Office employs 27 staff members with 70% of their employees being Indigenous. They provide the core functions of Parks and Gardens, Waste Management, Road Maintenance, Traffic Control and Administration; and deliver the services of Community Night Patrol, Aged Care, Child Care, Sports & Recreation, Airstrip Maintenance, Centrelink services, Australia Post and Remote Indigenous Broadcasting.
Nauiyu is a small and peaceful community nestled on the banks of the Daly River, considered by many to be the best barramundi fishing river in Australia. Nauiyu is 230km south of Darwin and 250km north west of Katherine and is accessible by sealed road, making the Daly River accessible in most weather conditions. The road continues on to Peppimenarti, Palumpa and Port Keats (Wadeye) and is unsealed and generally closed in the wet season.
Early exploration of the Nauiyu (Daly River) area commenced around 1865. At this time Boyle Finnis, first governor of the proposed settlement in the territory, named the Daly River after the then Governor of South Australia, Sir Dominick Daly.
Early farming of the area saw the Owston’s Sugar Plantation established at Wooliana in 1881 and the Daly River Cattle Station being established the next year. The first ‘live exports’ to Asia commenced from the Daly River Station in 1884. The station was abandoned in 1889. Farming in the area continued to expand with Jim Parry exporting his first 200 bags of peanuts in 1922. Mining was well under way in the area by 1904 with a smelter being set up at the local copper mine. In 1885 the Jesuits applied for a ‘mission site’ on the west bank of the Daly River, with three Jesuit missionaries setting up the first mission in 1886.
The mission had four priests and seven brothers on staff by 1891. In 1955 Father John Leary arrived to take charge of the construction of the new mission which was being built on Cecil Goodman’s farm having been purchased by the Catholic Church. The mission’s Church opened its doors in 1961.
The Malak Malak land claim was formally lodged in 1981. Improved health, education and Local Government services continue to provide the infrastructure to this ever growing community.
Culture and Heritage
Although there are ten different languages and cultural groups, the dominant languages are Malak Malak and Kriol while English is widely used across the whole of community.
Nauiyu Nambiyu Land Trust hold the lease for Land Portion 4028, Nauiyu (Daly River), with the lease being administrated by Green River Aboriginal Corporation. This Land Portion is ‘free hold title’ which is owned by the Catholic Church. The Land Trust has approximately 600 beneficiaries at this time. The beneficiaries comprise people who were mission residents as at 1955 (approximately 300) plus other persons from surrounding community areas or admitted by the executive. The 600 beneficiaries are from 16 identified groups. The Land within Portion 4028 is in turn leased and sub-leased to the ‘private sector’ and various government institutions.