Heavitree Gap

The Heavitree Gap, or Ntaripe in the Arrernte language,[1] is a water gap in the Northern Territory of Australia in the MacDonnell Ranges. It is the southern entrance to the city of Alice Springs and in addition to the Todd River it carries the main road and rail access to the south.

Heavitree Gap
This view shows the transport links passing through Heavitree Gap
Traversed byStuart Highway, Adelaide–Darwin railway
LocationAlice Springs
RangeMacDonnell Ranges
Coordinates23.7263°S 133.8656°E / -23.7263; 133.8656
Location in Northern Territory

The Gap is an important sacred site for the Arrernte people[1][2][3] and its use as a thoroughfare was avoided by women prior to the construction of the road and later Central Australia Railway.

The Gap was named by William Mills, the Overland Telegraph line surveyor who discovered the location for Alice Springs.[4][5] It was named after his former school in Heavitree, Devon.[4]

On the southwest side of The Gap is the historic Heavitree Gap Police Station.[6]

The Gap has been painted by numerous artists including Albert Namatjira,[7] Oscar Namatjira,[8] Basel Rangea,[9] and John Borrack.[10]


  1. Leigh Holdaway (photographer) (7 September 2015). "Sacred Sites Tour and the Gap (photograph)". abc.net.au. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 November 2018. Doris Stuart (centre) explains the significance of Heavitree Gap (Ntaripe) during a recent sacred sites tour
  2. "Dreaming". yipirinya.com.au. Yipirinya School. Retrieved 29 November 2018. Heavitree Gap is Arlperenye Beetle Dreaming
  3. Fiona Walsh. "Box BIO11 Caterpillars as big as a mountain: the role of spiritual beliefs about animals and plants". soe.environment.gov.au. Commonwealth Government of Australia. Retrieved 29 November 2018. .. believed by Arrernte people to be formed where the ilperenye beetle savaged the ayepe-arenye [caterpillars] and chewed off their heads.
  4. "Heavitree Gap". ntlis.nt.gov.au. Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  5. "Alice Springs". ntlis.nt.gov.au. Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  6. "Alice Springs: Old Stuart Gaol". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  7. "Albert Namatjira: Heavitree Gap". artistsfootsteps.com. Araluen Galleries. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  8. "Past Auction: Heavitree gap, ca. 1960". artnet.com. Artnet Worldwide Corporation. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  9. "Gouache painting depicting landscape of Heavitree Gap, N.T". collectionsearch.nma.gov.au. National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  10. "Heavitree Gap, Alice Springs". ngv.vic.gov.au. National Gallery of Victoria. Retrieved 29 November 2018.

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