NT Pioneer Register

Did you have an ancestor who was in the Northern Territory between 1824 and 1939?

The Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory had long considered the need for a “Pioneer Register” to record the indigenous inhabitants and those who came to settle in the Northern Territory.

GSNT has made a significant contribution to recording the efforts of those who came to the first British settlements on the north coast to what was then an expanded New South Wales.

Extensive documentation has been completed of those who died and were buried at Fort Dundas (1824 to early 1828) on Melville Island. Located at the east end of the Cobourg Peninsula, Fort Wellington at Raffles Bay (1827-1829) was the site of the second abortive settlement attempt at the northern coastline of Australia.

Port Essington (late 1838-1849) was the third attempt at a British settlement on the north coast of Australia.  It was to be a major trading port to Asia.  Port Essington was set up as a military outpost and for the next eleven years was manned by Royal Marines, free settlers, and a group of convicts which included trained masons and quarrymen.  The population never exceeded 78 and the conditions were harsh.

The Society in defining the period of eligibility for those pioneers to be included in the Register, decided upon the period 1824 to 1939 to include those people who took part in the three British Settlements.  There was a twenty-year gap until the Territory commenced settlement.

There are now over 10,000 names on our Register.   The majority of entries are being compiled by a group of GSNT volunteers and we have received entries from all States of Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Researchers are encouraged to submit their applications for Pioneers who lived in the Territory during the capture dates of 1824-1939.  The task of researching and compiling our Pioneers has been considerable, we had planned to have an interim list published by now, however we are still working towards this gaol to recognise those Pioneers who have been confirmed as residing in the Territory during these years.


All persons who were born or lived within the boundaries of the Northern Territory, between 1824 and 1939. e.g. every member of a family should have their own form. An application form should be completed for any Pioneer who meets these criteria.

Spelling of places and names should be thoroughly checked as should dates. Always include the state with place names ie. Bowen Qld, Tamworth NSW.
All married women are known as their MAIDEN name, the Pioneer form has space for the husband details, which will then show the married name.   If the maiden name is not known, please include as much information as you know.  Include those children who were born outside of the capture dates (1824-1939).  By including all this information the family unit is fully recorded.

Note: In publishing the Pioneer Register, a subscriber’s index will be included for the purpose of future contact by the Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory Inc and other interested researchers.  At the base of the application you are asked whether you wish your name and address to be included in this subscriber’s index and to indicate yes/no on the form.  Please fill in the form and indicate your wishes.  The Society will do what it can to complete the data supplied by subscribers to make the entry an integral part of the Pioneer Register.

Please complete the application form and forward to:

Pioneer Co-ordinator
Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory Inc
PO Box 37212
Winnellie NT 0821