The Darwin International Airport established the Matboerrma Garden to showcase the Top End’s



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The Darwin International Airport established the 

Matboerrma Garden to showcase the Top End’s 

unique native flora.

The Matboerrma Garden welcomes visitors to Larrakia country, 

Darwin and the Top End and provides a great introduction to the 

wet-dry tropics and its plants. The Larrakia are the traditional 

owners of the greater Darwin region. Matboerrma (pronounced 

mat-berd-ma) is a Larrakia word referring to a “group of plants”.

Nestled between the terminal carpark, the airport hotels and 

the management precinct, the garden offers a short stroll along 

a shaded path with signs guiding the walker. The Matboerrma 

Garden takes you on a mini journey through some Top End plant 

communities including stone country, woodland, monsoon forest 

and riverine environments and a cycad feature. The garden 

incorporates paths, signage, seating facilities and a pond and 

water feature with a boardwalk over the pond.

Hotel guests frequently walk through the garden to access their 

accommodation from the terminal. The garden also provides airport 

staff with a space to revive and relax. As a model for native garden 

landscaping the garden provides an opportunity for local gardeners 

to gain inspiration for creating a bird attracting native garden.

Darwin International Airport began the native garden in 2002. 

Greening Australia designed and installed a more comprehensive 

garden in 2004. Larrakia people kindly provided their knowledge, 

perspective and the name for the garden. Jasmine Foxlee worked 

for the airport to develop interpretative signs ready for the official 

garden opening in 2005. Larrakia people and Greening Australia 

helped to provide cultural and environmental information for the 

signs. The Larrakia Rangers fabricated stands from recycled World 

War II railway tracks, installed the stands and mounted the signs 

on them. Ian Kew, NT Airports Chief Executive Officer, opened the 

garden following a Larrakia welcome.

In 2008 the garden was further expanded and the design 

enhanced by landscape architect Ken Kirkman. Greening Australia 

were again commissioned to assist with additional planting.

In 2010 the signage was refreshed and expanded to include 

individual plant species signs. Pauline Clack designed the revised 

signs and Larrakia people were again engaged to assist with the 

content, they also assisted with some new plantings. Seven of the 

many Top End languages are represented on the individual plant 

signs. Solar powered lights were installed to complete the eco-

friendly design. The new signs were launched by Ian Kew with the 

Larrakia women rangers conducting a welcome to country.

Airport staff continued their involvement with the garden by 

planting additional seedlings supplied by Greening Australia for 

World Environment Day in 2012. More mature cycads were 

transplanted into the garden in 2013 from development sites 

elsewhere on the airport.

August 2013

Environment Information Sheet

DARWIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Matboerrma Garden



DARWIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 

|

 Airport Management Centre 

T: +61 8 8920 1811 

|

 F: +61 8 8920 1800 



|

 E: enquiry@ntairports.com.au

PO Box 40996 Casuarina NT 0811 

| 

1 Fenton Court Eaton NT 0820

www.darwinairport.com.au

CONTACTS


Darwin International Airport

Environment Manager

Ph: 08 8920 1811

MONSOON FOREST

Scientific name 

Common name 

Aboriginal name (language)

Acacia auriculiformis 

Black wattle 

Puwarjji (Jawoyn)

Alphitonia excelsa 

Red ash or soap tree 

Ngarngil (Iwaidja)

Alstonia actinophylla 

Milkwood 

Jilit (Jawoyn)

Brachychiton diversifolius 

Northern kurrajong 

Wunyal/Garl (Iwaidja)

Breynia cernua 

Breynia 


Gama awalk (Iwaidja)

Callophyllum sil  

Native beauty leaf



Clerodendrum floribundum 

Clerodendrum 

Morlorrk (Jawoyn)

Diospyros littorea 

Diospyros M^ri-burrpurr (Yol\u matha)



Ficus scobina 

Sandpaper fig 

Ingbulmarriwi (Iwaidja)

Ganophyllum falcatum 

Ganophyllum 

Mulunymuluny (Iwaidja)

Horsfieldia australiana 

Horsfieldia 

Tukutturukuni (Tiwi)

Leea rubra 

Leea 


An-garra-bitbit (Warray)

Maranthes corymbosa 

Maranthes 

Ngarndjardja (Iwaidja)

Melicope elleryana 

Pink euodia 

Ilidbidbid (Iwaidja)

Micromelum minutum 

Micromelum 

Banakaka (Yol\u matha)

Mimusops elengi 

Mimusops 

Yawurlama (Tiwi)

Myristica insipida 

Native nutmeg 

Alwarra (Iwaidja)

Peltophorum pterocarpum 

Yellow Flame Tree 

Wurrungmilurrungmil (Iwaidja)

Pittosporum mollucanum 

Pittosporum



Premna serratifolia 

Firestick tree 

{

uttji (Yol\u matha)



Sterculia quadrifida 

Peanut tree 

Dundil (Larrakia)

Syzygium armstrongii 

Bush apple 

Wurldurr (Iwaidja)

Wrightia pubescens 

Wrightia 

Wilit (Wagiman)

RIVERINE 

Scientific name 

Common name 

Aboriginal name (language)

Asteromyrtus arnhemica 

Asteromyrtus



Carallia brachiata 

Bush currant 

Marrwiyak (Jawoyn)

Casuarina cunninghamiana  River she-oak 

 

Wumarn (Wagiman)



Corymbia ptychocarpa 

Swamp bloodwood 

Namaru (Iwaidja)

Curcuma australasica 

Native ginger 

Anbindjarra (Mayali)

Cyclophyllum schultzii 

Canthium 

Mamtakmo (Jawoyn)

Fagraea racemosa 

Fagraea 

Turukwanga (Tiwi)

Hydriastele wendlandiana 

Hydriastele palm 

Paliwuni (Tiwi)

Leptospermum madidum 

Weeping ti-tree



Livistona benthamii 

Cabbage palm 

Iwak (Iwaidja)

Melastoma malabathricum 

Native lasiandra 

Pilangpilang (Jawoyn)

Pandanus spiralis 

Pandanus 

Biyarmarrma (Larrakia)

Ptychosperma macarthurii 

Darwin palm



Syzygium fibrosum 

Small red bush apple 

Tiwulama (Tiwi)

Timonius timon 

Timonius 

Wilngbilng (Iwaidja)

STONE COUNTRY

Scientific name 

Common name 

Aboriginal name (language)

Acacia alleniana 

Allen’s acacia

Acacia stigmatophylla 

Wattle 

Karnpirr (Jawoyn)

Allosyncarpia ternata 

Allosyncarpia 

Tanak (Jawoyn)

Grevillea dryandri 

Dryander’s grevillea 

Gama gurrundurr (Iwaidja)

Grevillea formosa 

Mount Brockman grevillea



Hoya australis 

Native hoya 

Kulipiyawuni (Tiwi)

WOODLAND


Scientific name 

Common name 

Aboriginal name (language)

Acacia gonocarpa 

Wattle


Acacia latescens 

Wattle 

Walum (Iwaidja)

Acacia nuperrima 

Wattle 


Manjarr (Dalabon)

Acacia oncinocarpa 

Wattle 


Walum (Iwaidja)

Acacia orthocarpa 

Wattle


Acacia wickhamii 

Wickham’s wattle 

Manjarr (Dalabon)

Amyema sp. 

Mistletoe 

 

Djirnirrin (Dalabon)



Buchanania obovata 

Green plum 

Kurumal (Jawoyn)

Chrysopogon elongatus 

Tall tamil grass



Corymbia bella 

Ghost gum 

Komborloh (Dalabon)

Cycas angulata 

Cycad 

Ngakuya (Garrwa)

Cycas armstrongii 

Cycad 

Ngamamba (Larrakia)

Cymbopogon bombycinus 

Native lemon grass 

Djirr (Dalabon)

Eucalyptus bigalerita 

Northern salmon gum 

Kolokkolo (Dalabon)

Eucalyptus camaldulensis 

River red gum 

Kokkolk (Dalabon)

Eucalyptus herbertiana 

Herbert’s gum 

Lurnjan (Wardaman)

Eucalyptus miniata 

Darwin woollybutt 

Maminyjuma (Larrakia)

Eucalyptus phoenicea 

Scarlet gum 

Bilinj (Dalabon)

Eucalyptus pruinosa 

Silver box 

Korlanglang (Dalabon)

Eucalyptus tetrodonta 

Darwin stringybark 

Manigurrma (Larrakia)

Eucalytus tintinnans 

Salmon gum 

Kolokkolo (Dalabon)

Ficus aculeata 

Sandpaper fig 

Yilid (Iwaidja)

Grevillea aurea 

Grevillea



Livistona humilis 

Sand palm or Merrepen  Gwilirrimba (Larrakia)

Planchonia careya 

Cocky apple 

Wartuludj (Iwaidja)

Syzygium suborbiculare 

Red bush apple 

Mindilima (Larrakia)

Vitex trifolia subsp. littoralis  Beach vitex 

Inymulanybanigi (Iwaidja) 

This is a list of plants in the Matboerrma Garden, including those planted over the years. 

Bold means the species has an individual plant sign. 

Aboriginal language information collated from the NT Herbarium’s biocultural knowledge 

series (Northern Territory Botanical Bulletins No. 21, No. 23, No. 24, No. 25,  



No. 29, No. 30, No. 33, No. 41) and Gulumoerrgin Seasons (by Gulumoerrgin/

Larrakia language contributors and CSIRO) and also from Lorraine Williams in person.




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