On Monday 5th June 2023 the Mates of the Murranji had their third Muster at Newcastle Waters Historic Township. This annual event saw 30 Mates (new and old) travel from QLD, WA, SA, VIC and NSW, with two thirds coming from across the Northern Territory.

This date was chosen because the day prior, (Sunday 4th June) represents the 97th anniversary of the assent of the 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.

There were also some special guests at this year’s Muster - students and staff from Newcastle Waters School. These Aboriginal students from the Marlinja Community are currently learning about local history as part of a school project, and so had an ‘excursion’ to the Junction Hotel (which they go past every day to get to school) to hear some living history.

The eventual restoration of the Newcastle Waters Historic Township, along with the subsequent tourism growth of tourism in the area, will clearly impact these students, their families and the whole Marlinja Community, so these early positive interactions and connections is incredibly heartening and positive.

After catching up with the news from Krafty, reintroducing the Foundation Mates (most of whom were there), singing, laughing and drinking beer (not the students!) at the Junction Hotel, most of the Mates then headed up the track to the Daly Waters Historic Pub.

An absolute highlight for some Mates on the way from Newcastle Waters to Daly Waters, was being caught right in the middle of a real Muster with motorbikes, quads, horses and a helicopter! Such an incredible and humbling experience for those who witnessed it.

The debrief at Daly Waters, as always, included more singing, laughing and beer!

Thanks to all the Mates that travelled and show continued support to the restoration of Newcastle Waters, and we hope to see you all again next year.

Check out more of the photos from the 2023 Mates of the Murranji Muster here – and big thanks to Mate’s Helen Egan and Andrea Sullivan for supplying them!

The 2022 Muster was held to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the joining of the Overland Telegraph Lines, and a lot of Mates attended the commemoration celebration at the Sir Charles Todd Monument on the Stuart Highway on August 22nd.

After the commemoration here, a gate for a new walking track was officially opened. This track provides access to one of the last original telegraph lines that is still standing which is located at the Frew Ponds Historical Reserve, accessed via Sturt Plains and Hayfield Station land.

Attendees strolled down this newly completed access path, (or for some transported by airconditioned bus) to where songs were song, speeches were made (one by Krafty, our founder), tea was drunk and biscuits were eaten.

After those two events, the Mates of the Murranji travelled down the track (this time in airconditioned motor cars) to Newcastle Waters Historic Township for the start of our 2022 Muster.

Here we met in Jones’ Store as Mate Peter Jones, who lived at the Store for most of his childhood, talked to us about his book Jones Store, and other interesting stories about Newcastle Waters Township.

After Ted Egan entertained us with a couple of songs, the Mates strolled up the road to the Junction Hotel. Here Krafty introduced the Foundation Mates that were in attendance, Stuart Ord, Director, Regions South, TourismNT, gave an update on the Newcastle Waters Visitor Experiences Master Plan, Anja Lorimer from TerritoryQ Magazine talked about her ongoing commitment to sharing these stories, and Ted sang us some more songs.

Whilst at Newcastle Waters Historic Township, Mates of the Murranji were kept hydrated by sponsor, Carlton United Breweries.

All in all, it was a great Muster, resulting in stronger connections between old and new Mates, and excitingly, a sense of momentum to revive and restore Newcastle Waters Historic Township.

Click here to see more photos from the events taken by Mate, Sonja Bertotto.

There are also some amazing photos of the two OTL events at Ian G Anderson Photography 

Our inaugural Muster, held on 14 April 2021, can only be regarded as a great success. With excitement, 40 people attended the Junction Hotel from all parts of the Territory. We thank Janet and Eddie Webber and Mark Crummy for supplying the photos from the event below.

We were blessed with a presentation of the histories of both the Murranji Track and Newcastle Waters from Ted Egan AO. Ted was the sole teacher at the school in 1965 and lived with his family in the old (now demolished) Police Station building. Naturally, Ted’s stories were punctuated and enhanced with songs. Legendary characters Nat Buchanan (King Paraway), Matt Savage (the Boss Drover) and Edna Zigenbine from Camooweal were featured.

We also welcomed our first commercial sponsor – CUB. Northern Territory Manager, Lincoln Jenkin, along with his Area Manager, Darren Coote arrived with adequate supplies of water and amber fluid which were appropriately served from the Bar at the Junction Hotel. They continued their valued sponsorship at our extended ‘debrief’ at the Daly Waters Pub that evening.

TourismNT representatives, Stuart Ord and Mark Crummy attended and Stuart provided us with an overview of where our Project currently ‘sits’. He sounded very positive about progressing their original ‘Newcastle Waters Concept Plan’.

However, this requires further funding (circa $20,000) from within the NT Government for TourismNT to move forward.

As a Mate of the Murranji we encourage you to lobby any current members of the NT Government – these to include our Minister for Tourism, the Hon Natasha Fyles, and the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, the Hon Eva Lawler.