Katherine is a town in Northern Territory, Australia. It is situated on the Katherine River (after which it is named) below the "Top End", 320 kilometres (200 mi) southeast of Darwin. It is the fourth largest settlement in the Territory. Katherine had an urban population of 6,094 on the 2011 Census night. Katherine is also the closest major town to RAAF Base Tindal located 17 km southeast and provides education, health, local government services and employment opportunities for the families of Defence personnel stationed there. In the 2011 census, the base had a residential population of 742, with 27.6% of the workforce engaged in employment outside of defence, the majority commuting to work in Katherine.
Beginning as an outpost established with the Australian Overland Telegraph Line on the North-South transport route between Darwin and Adelaide, Katherine has grown with the development of transport and local industries including mining – particularly gold mining; a strategic military function with RAAF Base Tindal; also as a tourism gateway to the attractions of nearby Nitmiluk National Park, particularly Katherine Gorge and its many ancient rock paintings. The region is known to experience heavy flooding during "the wet season".