Bombing of Darwin

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by GPRegt, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. Martin Elliget

    Martin Elliget Senior Member

    The Argus, Friday, 20 Feb 1942
    NLA Australian Newspapers - article display

    The Argus, Saturday, 21 Feb 1942
    NLA Australian Newspapers - article display

    There are numerous articles on NAA about Darwin in 1942. These are just a selection:

    Title: Bombing of Darwin - Report by Mr. Justice Lowe (261 pages)

    Title: Evacuation of women and children from Darwin and Papua and New Guinea by SS ZEALANDIA (224 pages)

    Title: Evacuation of women and children from Darwin and Papua and New Guinea by SS KOOLINDA (59 pages)

    Title: AWM Confidential No.137. Findings and Further and Final Report - Commission of Inquiry on the Air-Raid on Darwin 19th Feb. (883 pages)

    Title: Darwin Raids - Casualty Lists and Enquiries (268 pages)

    As it happens, I watched Baz Luhrmann's Australia just last night, a good deal of the action taking part in war-time Darwin. An enjoyable movie but why they felt it necessary to have the first bombing raid on Darwin taking place in 1941 instead of 1942 and also having Japanese troops setting foot on Australian soil after the attack I find hard to understand.


  2. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Bomb crater found in Darwin CBD
    Updated Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:28pm AEDT

    It has been confirmed that a large hole uncovered by earthworks in Darwin's CBD is a bomb crater probably created during the first Japanese raid on Darwin in 1942.

    The crater was spotted by a passing motorist who reported it to the Department of Heritage.

    Archaeologist Silvano Jung has now investigated the site and says it is almost certainly a bomb crater.

    "Judging by the diameter of the crater, it was probably a 1,000 pound bomb, or a 500 kilo bomb, dropped by a medium bomber either from Java or Ambon [in Indonesia]," he said.

    "Most likely on February 19 [1942] as well."

    Mr Jung says the bomb crater will become a special part of Darwin's history.

    "Often it's the small things in history that are really important and given that this is the only one, it makes it unique. It's a unique hole in Darwin," he said.

    Darwin was subjected to 63 bombing raids during the war, with more bombs dropped on the city than Pearl Harbour.
  3. al49

    al49 Junior Member

    So,a hole in the ground will become part of Darwin's history?Is this a joke?From this "unique" hole in the road ,this guy is saying that it was caused by a bomb dropped by a jap "medium" bomber from Java or Ambon.Did they find a signed letter from the pilot in the hole giving such detailed information?What an unbelievable non story.Darwin must be one hell of a boring place.
  4. spider

    spider Very Senior Member


    My apologies for posting an appropriate WW2 related News article, in the appropriate thread.

  5. al49

    al49 Junior Member

    Sorry spider,it's nothing to do with your posting the thread.My apologies. It's the whole nonsense of the story as a newsworthy article in the first place.This guy Jung must think he's going to make a ww2 tourist attraction from a hole in the ground.It must have been the headline in Darwin's "Daily Sport".
  6. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Lest we forget: the day war came to Australia

    Lest we forget: the day war came to Australia

    Larine Statham

    February 20, 2011

    [​IMG] Scenes of destruction in Darwin after a Japanese bombing raid in World War 2. Photo: Supplied

    JACK BIRKS lay in a roadside gutter, trying to shield his body from flying shrapnel.
    He wasn't a member of the Australian Defence Force fighting on foreign soil. He was a 21-year-old Australia Post employee the day World War II came to Australia.
    "I was working on the counter as usual and the first we knew of the raid was when a bomb fell just nearby," he said yesterday.
    Pieter F likes this.
  7. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    Made the reason for their lads being abroad seem more real I suppose. I am glad that Australia was generally left in peace though! Thanks for the post Peter.
  8. bofors

    bofors Senior Member


    Thanks for posting that, was it 1942?
    I agree it would have made people think more about what was going on with the war.
    I am certainly glad the Japanese did not get to land here, what they did do was bad enough. Would have given the people then some idea of what other places were going through and how horrible it was.


  9. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    watched a truly awful film last year (think it was called Australia), which did cover the attack on Darwin - goto to be honest and say until I saw the film I didnt realise the mainland was attacked.

  10. spidge


    watched a truly awful film last year (think it was called Australia), which did cover the attack on Darwin - goto to be honest and say until I saw the film I didnt realise the mainland was attacked.


    Watched Australia all the way through - You are a saint - I watched about an hour.

    Ships sunk off Australia's coast ww2 including the only ship sunk by a U-Boat in the Pacific Ocean.
    List of ships sunk by Axis warships in Australian waters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    They say the Japanese never intended to invade Australia - I say that is Bulls**t.

    The reason is by mid - 1942 their (until then) invincibility started to show some kinks. Although a formidable foe, they were overstretched and started to be beaten and on the defensive.
  11. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I seem to recollect reading accounts that the Japanese did land on the Northern shores of Australia, albeit almost deserted areas for Reconnaissance purposes, perhaps in preparation for a landing in force.

  12. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    Interesting and not ver well known part of WW2. Thanks for posting Peter!
  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    watched a truly awful film last year (think it was called Australia), which did cover the attack on Darwin - goto to be honest and say until I saw the film I didnt realise the mainland was attacked.



    This film was not a war film but more of a love story that was set at the time of the attack.

  14. spidge


    I seem to recollect reading accounts that the Japanese did land on the Northern shores of Australia, albeit almost deserted areas for Reconnaissance purposes, perhaps in preparation for a landing in force.


    Right on Tom!

    Japanese landings in Australia during WW2


  15. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Tuesday 20 September 2011


    The dark days of the Second World War when our land, skies and seas came under direct threat from the Japanese in Darwin, will be commemorated with the help of funding announced today by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Warren Snowdon.
    Mr Snowdon said the Defence of Darwin Museum captures the time when conflict came to Australian soil during the Second World War – the first and only time such an event occurred in our history.
    I am pleased to announce $250,000 towards enhancements to the Museum in Darwin which will help record and display the stories of those who served in Darwin and digitise audio, documents, photographs and other archival material for display.
    “The Defence of Darwin Museum will ensure the story of Darwin’s involvement in the Second World War is passed on to current and future generations.
    “Visitors to the Museum will be able to hear first-hand accounts of those who experienced life and war service in the Northern Territory, giving them a full appreciation and understanding of the role our servicemen and women played in the defence of Australia,” he said.
    The Museum is funded primarily by the Northern Territory Government, and it is expected to be completed in February 2012 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin.
    Senator for the Northern Territory, Trish Crossin said along with the support for the Darwin Museum, the Darwin City Council is receiving $80,000 in Australian Government funding to assist in commemorating the upcoming anniversary.
    “The morning attacks by 242 Japanese aircraft caused death and destruction across Darwin, the loss of life was significant, with some 250 people killed and hundreds injured, including service personnel and civilians,” Senator Crossin said.
    The bombing raids destroyed the harbour, RAAF base, post office, administration building and Army hospital, eight ships were sunk in Darwin harbour and another two near Bathurst Island.
    From the time of the first raid on 19 February 1942, until the last on 12 November 1943, Darwin and other northern Australian sites endured more than 90 air raids carried out by the Japanese.
    The Darwin City Council and Darwin Museum will be funded through the Australian Government’s Saluting their Service program.
  16. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    By Lisa Mosley Updated November 18, 2011 21:34:51

    The Federal Government has announced the Bombing of Darwin during World War Two will be commemorated with a National Day of Observance.
    The February 19 will become 'Bombing of Darwin Day'.
    Next year will be the 70th anniversary of the attack by the Japanese, which killed more than 240 people.
    The Minister for Veterans Affairs Warren Snowdon says it is important that all Australians appreciate the event's significance.
    "It's not really well understood by most Australians, this day will give us an opportunity to focus on it and to educate people about its significance and about exactly what happened," Mr Snowdon said.
    Yesterday during his Darwin visit to the USS Peary Memorial the US president Barack Obama described the day as "Australia's Pearl Harbour".
    Mr Snowdon says the Government will also provide financial support.
    "We've provided $330,000 to support the commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin."
    A handful of Darwin veterans still remember first hand the day more than 240 people died in the raid on Darwin Harbour.

    National Day of Observance to mark Darwin bombing - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  17. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    JAPAN has marked the signing of a key natural gas project in Darwin with the first direct apology for the 1942 bombing of the NT capital.

    Japan's Senior Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Tadahiro Matsushita, made the apology at the ceremony in Darwin to mark the approval of the Darwin-based Ichthys liquefied natural gas project.
    "I am aware that this year is the 70th anniversary of the Darwin bombing," Mr Matsushita said at an event attended by Resources Minister Martin Ferguson.
    "In a certain period in the not-too-distant past, Japan caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries," Mr Matsushita said.
    "I'd like to express my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology."
    Japan has previously made a generic apology for its wartime misdeeds but this is the first time the Darwin attack has been mentioned in this context by a senior Japanese government official.
    The Darwin bombing marked the largest attack on mainland Australia of World War II - 300 Australians were killed.
    The first surprise attack came on February 19 and involved a greater number of bombs than were dropped on Pearl Harbor.
    The attacks on Australia's northern coast continued, on a lesser scale, until November 1943.
    Rear Admiral Ken Doolan, national president of the Returned & Services League, said of the apology: "We do welcome it."
    He chose to make no comment about the connection between the apology and the Darwin based gas project.
    Since the end of the war, Japan and Australia have cemented close economic, political and defence ties and are now firm allies.
    While Japan has been a foundation investor in the Pilbara iron ore region, the Queensland coalfields and the LNG industry in Australia, the Ichthys project is the first Japanese-controlled resources project in Australia.
    The $33 billion project - the second-largest resources venture in Australia behind the Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia - is a joint venture between Japanese energy giant Inpex and France's Total, with Inpex the controlling partner with more than 70 per cent of the equity.
    The project will see 8.4 million tonnes of LNG per annum piped from a field off the north coast of WA to a gas processing plant in Darwin for export to Japan and other parts of Asia.
    The project has helped underpin the resources boom that has made Darwin something of a boom town in recent years.
    Inpex says about 3000 jobs will be generated during the construction phase with another 1000 offshore. When completed in 2016, 700 permanent positions will be created.
  18. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member


    "Infact I believe Nothern Austrailia was the next stop and at one point there was serious worries within Austrailia about deploying ANZAC's overseas to help the British Army in Africa or Italy as the Austrailian government thought an invasion was iminent."

    At that time Australia had 3 Divisions of the 2nd AIF in the Middle East.

    Prime Minister John Curtin insisted on all being returned immediately but with the promise of an extra US Army division the 9th was allowed to remain and they took a major part in the Battle of El Alamein.

    The 6th and 7th Division were in UNESCORTED convoy on the Indian Ocean with Churchill and Curtin arguing about their destination. Churchill even had the GALL to signal a change of course to Burma which Curtin countermanded, and they arrived in PNG just in time to relieve the 39th Battalion on the Kokoda Track. The 39th had about 30 men still on their feet.

    The 9th Div arrived home in early 1943, and after jungle training went straight up to PNG.


    The 39th was at the time of reinforcement by the 21st Brigade of the 7th Division had many more than 30 men. The unit consisted of five (5) rifle companies (MG Coy turned into Rifle Coy) and although their Mortars were for a long time ordered not to leave Port Morseby as the idiot General said the rounds would explode in the tree top. He said this even though the man was told by a 39th Btn Officer who had just flown to Kokoda but unable to land, that he had seen many areas where mortars could be used. He was apparently told by this General "rot boy bl**y rot" .
    All the companies of the 39th had suffered casualties during the wasted attack on Kokoda as ordered by Major Cameron and the following defence of Isurva (??spelling) along with B Coy 39th Btns solo fight agaibnst two Jap Btns. However most company's as dug in on the hill south of Kokoda still had reasonable numbers. The men of the 39th do say that they were stuffed and would of been over run and destroyed with in days if not hours if not reinforced though they were out numbered by up to 6 or 7 to one. They were only reinforced by the 2/14th of the 21st Brigade soon followed by the 2/16th. Supply situation only allowed two Battlions to be in combat at once., They were meant to move out but ofered to stay and hep the 2/14th infantry Battlion.
  19. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Shores under Siege - Bombing of Australia 1942
    2012 50c & 20c Uncirculated Three Coin Set


    At the height of World War II, between February 1942 and November 1943, the Australian mainland, domestic airspace, offshore islands and coastal shipping were targeted over 100 times by Japanese forces.

    As we approach the seventieth anniversary of these attacks, the Royal Australian Mint is releasing a three coin uncirculated set depicting images of these attacks and the civilian response. Remembering these events will remind the nation of our ability to rally together in times of need, and the value of peace.

    Mint Issue 92 > 2012 50c & 20c Uncirculated Three Coin Set
  20. G'day All

    Tomorrow is the 70 th Anniversary of Japans first air raid on Australia.
    Many Vets have come up for a week of events and as many are in the 90's guess it will be a very special time for them.

    As most Australians didn't even know that part of Australia had actually been bombed I think people realised that the War had actually come a lot closer than New Guinea when the information was released.

    A service is being held at the memorial to the Peary which sank with many American lives lost. President Obama laid a wreath there during his brief visit to Darwin a few months ago.
    I believe some of the survivors have returned to take part.Hope they enjoy their visit more than the last one,

    There will be a lot of memories and sadness shared but may they all be Blessed for the job they did in defending our special part of Australia.
    Just hope it doesn't rain and spoil the day.

    Let us never forget them wherever they fought.

    Cheers Rob

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