War comes to Australia!
Can you imagine the terror and foreboding experienced when the homicidal Japanese flew 64 frightening raids on Darwin and 33 on other targets in Northern Australia? To many it was an apocalypse!
On 19 February 1942, 188 insidiously screaming Japanese planes were launched against Darwin, whose harbour was full of vulnerable Allied ships. It was the largest murderous Japanese attack since Pearl Harbour, 7 December 194. On that day there were 27 Allied ships in the harbour and approximately 30 aircraft at the Darwin Civil and RAAF airfields.
With much of the town destroyed and hundreds of people killed and wounded, Darwin’s remaining population feared that the Japanese were about to invade.
There was widespread panic and about half of Darwin’s remaining civilian population fled.
Contrary to widespread belief at the time, the attacks were not a precursor to an invasion. The Japanese were preparing to invade Timor, and anticipated that a disruptive air attack would hinder Darwin’s potential as a base from which the Allies could launch a counter-offensive, and at the same time would damage Australian morale.
This memorial reflects and deliberates on the feelings and experiences during and following this deadly catastrophic event.
Set in four acres of tropical gardens by the sea The Darwin Military Museum is home to the Defence of Darwin experience. It is the story of this unique city’s role when 188 aircraft attacked Darwin at 0958 on 19th February 1942; 54 aircraft attacked in a second raid at midday.
The Japanese aircraft carrier borne forces that attacked on 19th February 1942 were the same forces that attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and that they dropped more bombs on Darwin than they did on Pearl Harbor.
The museum was NT’s very first and is partially housed in the original concrete command post Command Post (CP) ‘bunker’, used by the Army to command the two massive 9.2″ guns nearby. A theatrette located in the DDE continuously runs a 12 minute slide show film that contains dramatic live footage of the Japanese bombing of Darwin Harbour and the township.
Free of charge 30 minute history talks by the Museum Director (a qualified Historian) can be arranged for larger groups (20+ at a minimum) during week day business hours and given a minimum of one week’s notice to ensure the Director is/will be available.
During World War II many civilians and service personnel fought, died, or were dispossessed. This Experience acknowledges the sacrifice of those who lost their lives, and the courage of all who served in the defence of the Northern Territory.