The Phillip Creek Native Settlement was established by the government in 1945 as a temporary settlement for Aboriginal people. It was initially staffed by missionaries from the Aborigines Inland Mission. The settlement operated three dormitories for Aboriginal children. In 1947 children who were then considered to be of mixed-race were removed to the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin. The Settlement ceased to operate in June 1956 and the residents were moved to Warrabri.
The Phillip Creek Native Settlement was established by the Native Affairs Branch in August 1945 as a temporary settlement for Aboriginal people the government wanted removed from the Six Mile Ration Depot near Tennant Creek. Situated 43km north of Tennant Creek, in an area also known as Manga Manda, the Phillip Creek Native Settlement was initially staffed by missionaries from the Aborigines Inland Mission.
The 1946 NT Administration Report records the numbers of Aboriginal people at Phillip Creek at that time:
The inmates of the settlement are 78 men, 94 women, and 103 children. In addition to their physical welfare, the Missioner in charge attends to their spiritual needs and imparts education to the children.
The settlement had three dormitories for Aboriginal children - one each for boys and girls and a third for children of both sexes that were considered at the time to be 'half-caste'.
In 1947, the children who were considered to be 'half-caste' were removed from the settlement and taken to the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin.
In 1952 the Native Affairs Branch took over administration at Phillip Creek.
The settlement, always intended to be temporary, had difficulties with access to permanent drinkable water. In the early 1950s a new site with more permanent water was located at Warrabri, 175kms south of Tennant Creek. By June 1956 the population of Phillip Creek had been resettled at Warrabri and the Phillip Creek Native Settlement was closed.
1945 - 1956 Phillip Creek Native Settlement
1954 - 1978 Warrabri
Sources used to compile this entry: Tennant Creek: Aboriginal Child Language Acquisition Project, with School of Languages & Linguistics, The University of Melbourne, 2008, https://arts.unimelb.edu.au/soll/research/past-research-projects/acla1#regions; 'Northern Territory: Protectors /Administration / Welfare Branch reports', in To remove and protect: laws that changed Aboriginal lives, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2010, http://aiatsis.gov.au/collections/collections-online/digitised-collections/remove-and-protect/northern-territory; Haebich, Anna & Mellor, Maureen, Many voices: reflections on experiences of indigenous child separation, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2002; Manne, Robert, In denial: thestolen generations and the right, Black Inc, Melbourne, Victoria, 2001; NT Administration Reports for 1946, 1948-49, 1953-55 and 1956.
Prepared by: Gary George and Karen George
Created: 14 February 2011, Last modified: 7 November 2018