Territory Stories

Tiwi Islands regional natural resource management strategy



Tiwi Islands regional natural resource management strategy

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Tiwi Land Council


Tiwi Land Council


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This strategy was ratified by a full sitting of the Tiwi Land Council at Milikapiti [Melville Island] 29 September 2003.; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Conservation of natural resources -- Northern Territory -- Tiwi Islands; Land use -- Northern Territory -- Tiwi Islands -- Planning; Forests and forestry -- Northern Territory -- Tiwi Islands -- Planning; Tiwi Islands; Natural resources -- Northern Territory -- Tiwi Islands; Aquaculture -- Northern Territory -- Tiwi Islands -- Planning

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Tiwi Land Council; Northern Territory Government

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Tiwi Land Council



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30 TIWI LAND COUNCIL TIWI ISLANDS REGIONAL NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY 31 The climate of the Tiwi Islands is tropical monsoonal, characterised by a hot and humid summer (wet season) and a hot and dry winter (dry season). These two distinct periods of annual drought and highly predictable annual rainfall are typical throughout the Top End. The timing of the transition between the two seasons is variable, with the dry season commencing any time between late March and late May. The length of the seasons, however, is relatively constant. Winds are predominantly north-westerly in the wet season, and southeasterly in the dry season. Average temperatures range from 25 to 36C in October and 19 to 29C in July. During the colder dry season months of June and July, inland temperatures can reach as low as 12C overnight (Plumb 1977 & Puruntatameri et al. 2001). The variation in daylight length is small at around 1.5 hours. In terms of total rainfall, the Tiwi Islands have the highest rainfall in the Northern Territory, with around 90% falling between November and April. Mean annual averages range from 1200mm to 1400mm in eastern Melville Island, and up to 2000mm in northern Bathurst Island and north-western Melville Island (Hollingsworth 2003). The variability of rainfall between months is high, with monsoonal storms typically occurring in January and February. The months either side are characterised by high intensity convectional storms and storms associated with the monsoon trough. Hector is a local storm cell that forms over the Islands in the late afternoons prior to and during the wet season. It is responsible for bringing significant early rainfall to the Islands, resulting in a slightly longer wet season than that of the mainland. Hector has also been the subject of international study under the maritime continental thunderstorms experiment. Cyclones are regular events on the Tiwi Islands, and have at times caused great damage and loss of life. Below is a random selection of the many cyclones that have affected the Islands: April 1827 Category 3 Destroyed fences, gardens, wharf and buildings at Fort Dundas settlement, Melville Island. February 1915 Category 4 250mm of rain in 8 hours at Bathurst Island. Trees uprooted and building damage at Bathurst and Melville Islands. March 1919 Category 4 Nguiu destroyed. Storm surge washed away the wreckage and one baby drowned. November 1948 Category 3 Severe damage on Bathurst and Melville Islands. Most of the huts at Nguiu demolished. Lugger La Grange wrecked with 10 lives lost. December 1998 Category 5 Cyclone Thelma. Maximum wind gusts to 320 km/hr north of Bathurst Island. Major disruptions to communications and power supplies. Many large trees blown down and minor building damage at Pirlangimpi. Extensive tree damage around north Bathurst Island and north-west Melville Island. Waves to 6m and swells to 8m reported at Cape Fourcroy. (Northern Territory Government 2000).

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