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It’s that time of year again - the annual Picnic Day holiday! Picnic Day events in the Northern Territory date back to the late 1880s. The holiday began as a Union Picnic Day or Trade Picnic Day observed at Adelaide River by railway employees working on the North Australia Railway. They were merry affairs, with the railway commonly providing transport from Darwin. In 1936, a train left Darwin at 7am returning at 11pm. The hotel at Adelaide River recorded record sales and the train was "forced to stop often as a number of male Darwin passengers fell off at various points along the line". While the holiday was originally held at different times of the year, in 1981 Picnic Day was gazetted as the first Monday in the month of August.

Published: 31 July 2016


Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

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