Sunday, February 19, 2012

Defence of Darwin Experience

Sunday, 19th of February, 2012, marks 70 years since the first devastating air raid on the town in which I live Darwin, Australia. Today we had a few events on but yesterday me and the family went and checked out a couple of associated things to see. First was an exhibition in a Gallery in the City with The Bombing of Darwin as its theme. 188, roughly shoe box sized, cardboard, paint and sticky tape WWII Japanese aircraft made by primary age children helped to give a visual realisation of what Darwin had to cope with on that day. Amazing.

The Defence of Darwin is a new extension to the East Point Military Museum and is well worth a visit.
It opened on Saturday shortly before we got there. The site itself is the base of a Coastal defence facility from WWII. It features a 9 inch gun emplacement in the Museum grounds and one outside it.

This recreated gun is not the original. That got used as scrap iron.

Here's me pushing a bomb under the gun.
New state of the art presentations in the Museum help tell the story to the modern audience and they have done an amazing job of it. I was impressed. A table showed an animated map with moving Zeroes and bombers flying over Darwin in 1942. Touch screens give you eye witness accounts and locations of those people during the bombing.
Darwin as a target was a part of the Japanese strategy of making it harder for USA to operate in the Pacific. In a chronological order in a very short time frame first Singapore Fell, Pearl Harbour was attacked and then the same bombers of Pearl swooped down on Darwin. They dropped more bombs on Darwin than Pearl Harbour. Darwin harbour had around 50 ships anchored at the time of the first air raid.

It was a hot weekend as it no doubt was back in 1942 and it was great to see so many Veterans around the City that have returned from all over Australia and also the globe.
Here is some gear you can see in the Museum grounds.

2 pdr Anti-Tank gun.

17pdr Anti Tank gun.
 Universal Carrier.
 Japanese weapons and flags.
 The kid in front of an Anti Air gun.
 Buffalo. It's a big beast.
Today (Sunday) I attended the official memorial ceremony. After that I got down to the Aviation Heritage Museum and a guest speaker who was a veteran of active service in Darwin with US bombers based here gave an extensive talk on his experiences back then. It was an absolute privilege to hear him speak but I will post more about that in the future.

Cheers for now (The Kiwi) Brendon.

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