The picturesque Tiwi Islands


80km north of Darwin in the Timor Sea, you’ll find the picturesque Tiwi Islands. The two larger islands, Bathurst and Melville, are separated by the Aspey Strait and surrounded by several smaller uninhabited islands. Tourism and trade are a significant source of income for the Tiwi Islands communities, renowned for their Indigenous artwork.

Due to accessibility issues and safety concerns, the Tiwi Islands Land Council saw a need to update the infrastructure used to access the islands. Working with local contractors and businesses, WGA developed the detailed design of a welcome centre and two new ferry landings at Wurrumiyanga and Paru to improve accessibility, tourism, and trade. Previously, visitors to the island would disembark ferries via a ramp directly onto the beach. This method of passenger transfer did not meet accessibility requirements and was an inhibitor to attracting tourists to the islands.

Construction on the Tiwi Islands can be challenging due to the 7m tidal variation, cyclonic environment, and remoteness. WGA overcame these challenges by working with contractor CareyMC to develop a design that optimises constructability and focuses on long-term durability.

Early stakeholder management and close consultation with the Traditional Owners were critical to the success of this project. Tiwi Enterprises engaged local service providers such as the Bathurst Island Housing Association to provide on-the-job training for the local indigenous community, and some 85% of project assets were purchased from Northern Territory businesses and suppliers.

We are proud to have delivered a project that improves access and tourist opportunities for this creative community.

WGA News: The picturesque Tiwi Islands Article Image
Tiwi Islands Infrastructure
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