Mango season is upon us again! This is almost certainly the earliest known photograph of a mango tree in the Northern Territory, taken at Port Essington in 1875. The Port Essington outpost on the Cobourg Peninsula was the third attempt by the British to establish a military settlement on the north coast. The newcomers worked hard to establish fruit trees and grow crops despite the difficult conditions, but the settlement was abandoned in 1849 due to cyclones, isolation and strong resistance from local Aboriginal people. This tree survived however. Local people are pictured here with what historians believe is a Malay trader, about 30 years after the fort was abandoned.

Published: 1 October 2017


Picture: Library & Archives NT. Mango tree, Foelsche, P. (Paul), 1831-1914, 1875, PictureNT, Historic Photos Collection, PH0275/0027

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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These works were made on Arrernte, Larrakia, Gaddigal and Lenape land that was never ceded