Our mission is to transform Newcastle Waters into a place where history comes alive.

The 'Mates Of The Murranji' Project

Founding Story - 2020

Established in late 2020, a group of Mates decided that it was time to form a voice to Government to drive the resurrection of the Newcastle Waters Historic Township. The Foundation Mates behind this project are Ted Egan AO, Lorraine and Frank Dalton, Jimmy Dalton, Pat Carmody, Sally Martin and Krafty (Wayne Kraft AM). The Mates also acknowledge the late Karen Schneider whose inspiration and motivation provided impetus towards the establishment of this project.

The ultimate goal of the Mates of the Murranji is for the remaining buildings of the Newcastle Waters Historic Township, NT, to be preserved AND a sustainable vision for the future be researched and adopted. There is opportunity for the significant role Newcastle Waters played in Australia’s history as well as a significant number of tourism possibilities of this region. The Marlinja Aboriginal community is interested in providing cultural experiences, there is existing road, rail and airstrip infrastructure and there are permanent waterholes with substantial birdlife.

There were already some wheels in motion for the Newcastle Waters Historic Township via the NT Government. In 2018, through the agency of TourismNT, the NT Government provided funding to commence background research and to facilitate the Newcastle Waters Concept Plan and the Barkly Regional Visitor Experience Master Plan.

In December 2020, the Mates of the Murranji sent the first electronic newsletter to 60 Mates – people with a similar vision and passion for the resurrection of Newcastle Waters Historic Township and we had hopes for a promising future.



In April of 2021, the Mates of the Murranji held their inaugural Muster with 40 people from all parts of the Territory attending the event at the Junction Hotel, Newcastle Waters Historic Township. The success of this event resulted in national exposure through various media opportunities.

Excitingly, in September of that year, through support from Bronte Evans Chartered Accountants and Sally Martin from Inspired Promotion, this website was created to further grow and support the resurrection of the Newcastle Waters Historic Township.

By the end of 2021 the number of Mates of the Murranji increased 3 fold to 180 Mates receiving our quarterly newsletter (which you can sign up for below).



In 2022, the Mates of the Murranji had their second Muster on August 22nd. It was held on this date to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the joining of the Overland Telegraph Line. Prior to the Muster, there was a commemoration celebration at the Sir Charles Todd Monument on the Stuart Highway, north of Newcastle Waters then about 80 Mates headed south to Jones Store, Newcastle Waters Historic Township and then later onto the Junction Hotel for another successful Muster.

In September 2022, the NT Government, through Tourism NT instigated a Newcastle Waters Master Plan. The document in it's entirity can be viewed here, or you can read the Executive Summary here.

In November 2022, Krafty met with the Hon Nicole Manison MLA, the Minister for Tourism, to provide a Ministerial Briefing on behalf of the Mates of the Murranji regarding to the future of the Newcastle Waters Historic Township Project and the role of the Mates of the Murranji as a group. The Ministerial Brief can be viewed here.

Again, the continued support from Mates, sponsors, partners, and the NT Government resulted in the number of Mates of the Murranji increasing to 250, as well as promising year ahead for the future resurrection of the historic Newcastle Waters Township.



At the beginning of 2023 the number of Mates receiving the Mates of the Murranji newsletter jumped up to nearly 380!!

On Monday 5th June 2023 the Mates of the Murranji had their third Muster at NewcastleWaters Historic Township which saw 30 Mates coming from around Australia.

This date was chosen because the day prior, (Sunday 4th June) represents the 97th anniversary of the assent ofthe Northern Australia Act 1926 by the Commonwealth of Australia, of which Section 47 reads:

The seat of Government of North Australia shall be established as soon as practicable at Newcastle Waters, and until the seat of Government is so established it shall be at Darwin.

The Mates of the Murranji, continues to look forward to support from sponsors, partners, and the NT Government and a promising future for the resurrection of the Newcastle Waters Historic Township.

Read more about the 2023 Muster here.


2024 and beyond

We continue to forge ahead with advocating for funding to restore the Newcastle Waters Historic Township.

Excitingly funding from TourismNT has been secured for some audio signs (subject to landlords permission) to be erected by June 30 2024.

Unfortunately it has proved difficult for a mutually suitable date to be set for the 2024 Muster so instead a ‘mini Muster’ has been tentatively booked for Monday 17th June. If you are interested in attending, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are hoping there will be some significant centenary celebrations in 2026. The 4 June 2026 will be a century since the Northern Australia Act gazetted that Newcastle Waters would be the capital of North Australia.
NT Govt Act
Additionally, on 18 August 1926, the Governor General of Australia Lord, Stonehaven, accompanied by his wife, flew from Longreach to Newcastle Waters after the newly-built Qantas De Havilland DH50 was christened IRIS by Lady Stonehaven.

Qantas DH50 Iris at Normanton

QANTAS DH-50 'Iris' (Image from Chris Borough via flickr)

Discussions have commenced with Government House and the Minister for Heritage with the hope of promoting the prospect of a major celebration of these significant events in the Northern Territory’s history in 2026 at Newcastle Waters.

Become a Mate

The Mates welcome and encourage you to add your voice by joining the Mates of the Murranji and help push this exciting opportunity to share the historical significance and remarkable stories that helped shape Australia. Sign up for our free newsletter below to show your support and become a Mate.

Additionally in lieu of Mates of the Murranji membership fees, we strongly encourage Mates to become a member of the National Trust of the NT (Tennant Creek branch).



A big shout out to the amazing sponsors of the Mates of the Murranji: Carlton and United Breweries, Redback Productions, Bronte Evans Chartered Accounts and Inspired Promotion.

2023 Muster Round Up

Click here to read about our 2023 Muster that was held on 5th June 2023.

2023 Muster Gallery

Click here to check out the photos from our 2023 Muster.


The Mates of the Murranji are actively engaged with the National Trust of the Northern Territory. The National Trust's aim is to protect and conserve places of heritage significance in Australia for future generations to enjoy. 

All Mates of the Murranji are encouraged to join the National Trust via an Annual Membership for just $30 nominating Tennant Creek as the preferred Branch of the National Trust. This can be done by completing the application via this link. www.nationaltrustntstore.com/membership.

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