Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory of Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin is the largest city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, with a population of 142,300. It is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities, and acts as the Top End's regional centre.
Darwin's proximity to South East Asia makes it a link between Australia and countries such as Indonesia and East Timor. The Stuart Highway begins in Darwin, ending at Port Augusta in South Australia. The city itself is built on a low bluff overlooking the harbour. Its suburbs spread out over some area, beginning at Lee Point in the north and stretching to Berrimah in the east. Past Berrimah, the Stuart Highway goes on to Darwin's satellite city, Palmerston, and its suburbs. The Darwin region, like the rest of the Top End, has a tropical climate, with a wet and a dry season. Prone to cyclone activity during the wet season, Darwin experiences heavy monsoonal downpours and spectacular lightning shows. During the dry season, the city is met with blue skies and gentle sea breezes from the harbour.
The greater Darwin area is the ancestral home of the Larrakia people. On 9 September 1839, HMS Beagle sailed into Darwin harbour during its surveying of the area. John Clements Wickham named the region "Port Darwin" in honour of their former shipmate Charles Darwin, who had sailed with them on the ship's previous voyage which had ended in October 1836. The settlement there became the town of Palmerston in 1869, and was renamed Darwin in 1911. The city has been almost entirely rebuilt four times, following devastation caused by the 1897 cyclone, the 1937 cyclone, Japanese air raids during World War II, and Cyclone Tracy in 1974.