FEBRUARY 19, 1942 was the day war came to Australian shores when Darwin was bombed by enemy forces in the largest single attack ever mounted by a foreign power on Australia. The attack left hundreds of servicemen and civilians dead, and countless others injured.
From that date through to November 1943, Darwin was the target of more than 64 air raids. The total number of bombs dropped was two-and-a-half times that dropped at Pearl Harbour.
The day is commemorated each year but this year special events have been planned to mark the 80th anniversary. Thousands are expected at the Bombing of Darwin Day Commemorative Service which will be held on February 19 from 9:30am until 11am at The Cenotaph. The event, hosted by the City of Darwin, is free and open to the public.
On Friday 18 February and Saturday 19 February, Arafura Wind Ensemble will present the 80th anniversary From Engagement to Peace, a homage, from 5:30pm at Christ Church Cathedral Civic Park on Smith Street. The special free event is also hosted by the City of Darwin.
The City of Darwin is also offering special Bombing of Darwin 80th Anniversary Tour packages to commemorate the milestone anniversary while the Australian American Association NT is hosting two USS Pearly Memorial Services on Saturday 19 February at The Esplanade. The first is from 8:15am until 9am and the second will be held from 9:30am until 11am. Both are free and open to the public.
Other important sites include the Darwin Military Museum, the Defence of Darwin Experience, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Darwin Tourist Facility, the Darwin Aviation Museum and the concrete and steel-lined WWII Oil Storage Tunnels, located at Darwin Wharf Precinct.
If you're looking to hear more military insights and stories from local historians, enlist in a four-hour Bombing of Darwin WWII Heritage tour or Australia's Frontline: WWII Bombing of Darwin tour.
For a longer foray into Darwin's military history Battlefield Tours has a four-night 80th anniversary tour departing on February 16. Guests will hear from an expert WWII historian, attend a commemorative service for the bombing's anniversary, visit all of Darwin's military and WWII sites, and enjoy a special night time experience at the Darwin Military Museum. Package prices start from $1,899 per person including four-star accommodation.
Pic caption: Remembering the fallen at the Adelaide River War Memorial. Photo Shaana McNaught/Tourism NT.