Airport Development Group
In March of this year when it was announced that the Airport Development Group (‘NT Airports’) had purchased the Mercure Darwin Airport Resort and Novotel Darwin Airport Hotel it was exciting news for the NT’s hospitality industry with domestic ownership taking on a great hotel asset with major development plans.
Even more exciting has been the speed to which these development plans have got underway, with new product at the Resort now available, being their six new tropical pool villas and refurbishments commencing in existing hotel rooms.
For the first time in the NT each individual villa has its own pool. The villas are stunning, with a uniquely tropical territory and modern design with all the comforts you could expect from a luxurious hotel. With COVID still impacting on domestic tourism, these pool villas are expected to be incredibly popular for local ‘staycations’.
In order to acknowledge some local Territory history and extraordinary lives of traditional Aboriginal people, each of the six pool villas has an Honouree title and life story, which are:
Linda Jackson (Vale)
NAIDOC named Linda the Territory’s Senior Female Elder of the Year due to her lifetime of humanitarian commitment and a life full of service to others. Raised in Croker Island, Linda trained as a nurse and has provided health services, including mothercraft and family planning support to young Aboriginal women.
Tjeyenga Mathias Nemarluk born in Port Keats (now Wadeye) played a leading role in pioneering new surgical techniques to restore hand and foot function in leprosy sufferers. He also worked passionately to ensure there were better treatment services of leprosy in the community, making the lives of people living with leprosy better.
Emeritus Professor Maryann Bin-Sallik AO
MaryAnn Bin-Sallik’s eminent career has been distinguished by a catalogue of firsts, resulting in her being widely acclaimed as one of the highest achieving Australians, from being the first Aboriginal person to graduate as a Registered Nurse through Darwin Hospital to receiving her Doctor of Education degree at Harvard University.
Robert was one of over 1,000 Indigenous Australians who enlisted to serve in the First World War and was deployed to the Middle East from Darwin. Like many returned serviceman Robert found life difficult to settle down after his discharge from the military when he returned to Darwin.
There is a life-sized bronze statue of Matthias Ulungura on Bathurst Island, with the Tiwi-man recognised for his coolness, courage and efficiency when he captured a Japanese pilot following the bombing of Darwin. Matthias led patrols looking for shot-down Allied airmen and possible Japanese invaders.
Billiamook legacy continues to inspire Larrakia art continues today, with his artwork recognised as contributing to the beginning of Aboriginal art widely established as ‘art’. Billiamook was one of the first Larrakia to interact with white people and was instrumental in establishing a respectful rapport between early settlers and the Larrakia people. Billiamook was part of a group of Larrakia who met with surveyor George Goyder’s party as they landed in the Top End to map out the future city of Palmerston (later renamed Darwin). The Larrakia gave the surveyors a friendly welcome and the relationship between the two groups grew, with Billiamook playing a central role.
The pool villas are available to book and will be included in the upcoming NT Tourism vouchers.