The history below is quite interesting – taken from the Local Council website, where you can read the full transcript.
On the 20th. April 1865 explorer Pat Auld, during a reconnaissance from Escape Cliffs to Port Darwin, found a “creek, sixty feet wide … I have named this creek the Howard, in honour of Lieutenant Howard, R.N., of the government survey ship Beatrice. …”
Twenty years later, pastoral land in the area was taken up. In 1916 the land surrounding Howard Springs was sold to a subsidiary company of the British meat giant Vesteys.
Vesteys intended to use Howard Springs as a bullock depot and water source for their huge meatworks at Bullocky Point in Darwin. However, Vesteys never used the land, and in 1936 the area was leased by Vesteys to the Herbert Brothers of Koolpinyah station, who had a slaughterhouse nearby.
Howard Springs became a vital part of Darwin’s history from 1939, when it became the source of a temporary water supply for the town. Until then, almost all Darwin’s water supply needs were met from wells, bores, and rainwater tanks, as well as the Railway Dam but this was only available for very limited public use. However, there had been occasional serious shortages from 1916, and there was always a risk of contamination of the groundwater supplies.
From January 1942 a new military camp at Howard Springs was briefly occupied by troops from the United States Army. However, the wartime use of Howard Springs which is best remembered, and was perhaps most influential upon the area’s post war history, was its use as a convalescent or “rest and recreation” area by the Australian Army.
The most serious wartime enemy in the north was boredom and the risk of men “going troppo”. Duties were monotonous, the men became lonely and depressed, the climate was hot and unfamiliar, and there were few recreational opportunities. The situation badly affected morale, and, as an antidote, rest camps were set up .
The plan was that eventually all men serving in the north would have a spell in one of the camps. There were several such camps, including those at Berry Springs and Annaburroo, both of which were considerably larger than Howard Springs. Annaburroo accommodated about 1000 men, but Howard Springs took only about 120 men at a time – one Company. Berry Springs took two Companies at a time.
The recreational significance of the area was officially recognised in 1957 when Howard Springs was reserved as the first Reserve to be placed under the control of the newly created Northern Territory Reserves Board, predecessor of the present Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission.
The image below are very close the the fresh water spring which feeds the river and dam (no pic’s of the dam cos it’s kinda boring).