Place Names Committee


Greater Darwin Area | Darwin City | Hundred
The three Palmerstons | from Palmerston to Darwin
Centre of Australia

The three Palmerstons

In the Territory, there have been three town sites called ‘Palmerston’ over the years.

Escape Cliffs

Palmerston was the name given to the town site established in 1864 by the first Government Resident of the Northern Territory of South Australia, Boyle Travers Finniss, at Escape Cliffs, near the mouth of the Adelaide River.

Town blocks were surveyed ready for sale to investors in Adelaide and London. This settlement was abandoned in 1865.

Port Darwin

The second ‘Palmerston’ was the Town surveyed by Goyder in 1869 at Port Darwin. This Town was officially known as ‘Palmerston’ until March 1911 when the name was changed by proclamation to ‘Darwin’.

Current Palmerston

The third and current ‘Palmerston’ is the surveyed ‘Town of Palmerston’, a satellite town site, 21 km east of the City of Darwin ‘constituted and defined as a new town’ in NT Gazette G17 of 1 May 1981.

The name ‘Palmerston’ was used for the satellite town as it retained the name first applied to the northern capital by the South Australian Government in commemoration of Lord Palmerston who became Prime Minister of Britain in 1855.

The 3rd Viscount Palmerston’s family name, Henry John Temple, has been used in the new satellite town with the naming of a main access: ‘Temple Terrace’.

Development of the current Palmerston commenced in 1984 and following the exceptional growth of the town, in early 2000 the Palmerston Town Council sought and obtained a change in the name of the municipality to "City of Palmerston" (NTG S41 of 2 August 2000).