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Daly River is approximately 250 km. from Darwin.  St. Francis Xavier Parish covers a large area, mainly bush, that has three main rivers; The Daly, the Moil and Adelaide.  The Parish Church – St. Francis Xavier – is on the eastern bank of the Daly River in the town of Nauiyu. The traditional owners of the land are the Malak Malak people who live both in Nauiyu and downstream at Wooliana.  The main language spoken is Ngungi Kurunggurr. Contact with the non-aboriginal world came late to this region.  It was not until the 1880’s when attempts were made in agriculture, pastoralism and mining.  The aboriginal people of the Daly were strong defenders of their country.  In the mid 1880’s they suffered a vicious massacre in reprisal for an attack on five copper miners who were thought to have abused the local women.


One hundred and twenty years ago the Jesuits started a Mission among the Aborigines on the other side of the river.  At that time the people were living their traditional lifestyle of hunting and gathering across the whole area of the parish.  The Jesuits tried to introduce the people to Christianity and a farming life style.  After a few years the Mission was moved further downstream to Hermit Hill next to a large Billabong now called “Mission Hole” on Elizabeth Downs Cattle station.  They set up the mission on the other side of the river to be away from the evil influence that the white people had on the local people.  There were white people at the Copper mine on the eastern side of the river.  After a couple of years at Hermit Hill the Mission was moved to Wooliana.


They built a church, school, sheds, farm etc.  A big flood washed everything away and the Jesuits were then withdrawn by their Superior from the Mission in 1899.  Their superiors in Rome didn’t see much result in their work so in 1954 some of the local elders approached Bishop O’Loughlin (Bishop of Darwin) asking for help to set up a school and health clinic.  The following year the church purchased 4,000 acres of land and re-established the mission among the Aborigines in the Daly.  This work was carried out by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and lay Missionaries.

                                                        Fr. John Leary MSC and Bishop Ted Collins MSC (dec)

 The Mission Daly River was later given the name Nauiyu and the community is now run by the Council.  The church is in the process of handing over the land – except for the site of the church, school, convent and a few houses, to the families that have been living here for the last fifty years.  As well as the church at Nauiyu there is also a church in Adelaide River called the church of the Resurrection.


Once over the crossing there are no more bitumen roads or bridges across the creeks.  The dirt roads are graded but can be very rough.  This is 4 wheel drive country.  We celebrate the Eucharist at these places on a regular basis as well as Baptisms, First Communions and at Emu Point a couple of years ago 40 Confirmations.



Fr. Peter Huan Nguyen MSC – Parish Priest



Postal Address:  PMB 28, Nauiyu, NT 0822

Ph:  (08) 8978 2449




Mass Times:

Monday:                       5.00pm

Wednesday to Friday:    7.00am

Saturday:                     9.30am (No Mass on the 3rd Saturday of the month)

Sunday:                       6.00pm



Postal Address:   PMB 28, Nauiyu, NT 0822

Ph:  (08) 8978 2449

Fax:  (08) 8978 2674


Mass Times:

11.00am every 2nd and last Sunday of the month.