A 300 metre wide strip of dirt in the middle of nowhere almost brought the Northern Territory and Queensland to blows in a border dispute that is still unresolved.
The boundary between the pair, the Fraser Government was told in 1982, was not as it seemed on the ground or in the nation's atlases.
According to the NT, in documents released today by the National Archives, the boundary as claimed by Queensland was in fact part of the Territory.
In the 1880s a line was actually mapped on the ground between what was then South Australia and Queensland which was supposed to follow 138 degrees east longitude.
But over time, and with better mapping, it came to be known that the boundary was not set correctly.
By the 1960s with better information came to hand it became clear that Queensland was at least 300m into the Northern Territory and in some cases up to 600m.
Documents provided to Canberra suggested that while there was a gentlemen's agreement on the boundary it had never been legally proclaimed.
Demanding restitution, and to head off problems caused by mining and Aboriginal land claims, the Territory government asked the Fraser Government to intervene.
But then Home Affairs Minister Tom McVeigh was having none of it.
Not only would it set the Commonwealth on a collision course with Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, it could also lead to complaints from other parts of the country.
"The States, particularly SA, will be interested in the outcome. If the existing line on the ground is changed â€¦ similar changes could be contemplated to other State/Territory borders which have not been proclaimed," he warned.
Mr Fraser eventually told the NT and Queensland to sort out their problem themselves. Almost 30 years on, however, there has not been a change to the boundary to give back to the NT its 300m of dirt.
Malcolm Fraser's own department warned against getting involved or taking a side, warning the Commonwealth could be embarrassed if it took a position that proved to be incorrect.
Border disputes between the States are not uncommon.In some parts of Victoria, for instance, there continues to be arguments that a NSW surveyor deliberately mis-calculated the boundary so his State included vast swathes of the Riverina.
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