The 60 kilometres of water between Darwin and the Tiwi Islands have provided a useful barrier in permitting the
Tiwi people largely unrestricted use of their own land over many centuries. Bathurst and Melville Islands were
proclaimed an Aboriginal Reserve on the 4th of December 1912.
The Tiwi Islands are located 60 kms across the
Arafura Sea north of Darwin. Bathurst and Melville Island and five smaller islands total 800,000 hectares and include
a coastline of 1016 kms held under free-hold title by approximately 2000 Tiwi landowners.
The 8 "countries" of the Tiwi Islands. These are inherited from one's father.