Batchelor – Rum Jungle
Batchelor – Rum Jungle
Batchelor is a town in the Northern Territory of Australia. The town is the current seat and largest town of the Coomalie Shire local government area. It is located 98 kilometres (61 mi) south of the territory capital, Darwin. A number of residents commute to Darwin and its suburbs for work. In the 2016 census, Batchelor recorded a population of 507 people, with 36% of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanderorigin.
The major employment industries in Batchelor are education, tourism and horticulture. The town is home to a TAFE and higher education college, the Batchelor Institute, with a strong focus on delivering higher educational outcomes for indigenous students from around Australia. The Institute has been located at its current location since 1982. At the 2011 census, 18% of Batchelor's workforce were employed in the tertiary education industry and a further 9.5% were employed in school education.
The town is an entry point for travellers to Litchfield National Park which attracts approximately 280,000 visitors annually. Seven rangers of the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Service and the Litchfield National Park office are based in the town. As the town is situated on the only all weather access road to the park, a number of accommodation options are available as well as services including mechanical repairs and a supermarket. There are a number of attractions in the town area for visitors travelling between Darwin and Litchfield Park including a museum, cultural centre, butterfly sanctuary and miniature replica of Karlstein Castle. The airfield also offers scenic flights and sky diving for visitors.
In 2011, it was announced that the Windy Hills Australian Game Meat company has signed an agreement to re-open and operate the Batchelor abattoirs to process cattle, buffalo and camel meats over an initial period of five years. The abattoirs previously contributed significantly to the local economy and jobs market, but have been closed in recent years due to unfavourable industry conditions.
Mining company Compass Resources applied in 2005 to commence mining operations on the Browns Oxide project site adjacent to the former Rum Jungle mine, 7 km (4.3 mi) north of Batchelor. While approval was granted for this project in 2006, the company was placed in voluntary administration in 2009. The future of the project is now in doubt.
The offices of the Coomalie Community Government Council are located on the outskirts of the town, and as such many local and territory government services are accessible. The town has a library with internet access (available at a charge), which is open to the public on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, police station, post office and a public swimming pool.There are also community sports facilities including playing fields, a skate park, basketball and tennis courts.