February 24, 2024


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Untold Story of Darwin: World War II Japanese Bombings

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Untold Story of Darwin: World War II Japanese Bombings

Traveling in Darwin for a week gave us a different perspective view on the city. It is definitely more than crocodiles and Kakadu National Park. In fact, we learn so much about the city and there are so many untold stories of Darwin. One of the biggest untold stories of Darwin is the World War II Japanese Bombings that changed the history and landscape of the city.

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World War II (WWII) bunket at Charles Darwin National Park.

We are never an expert in history but the Japanese Bombings are something new to us and it changes many things in this beautiful city. That’s why we are writing this short story on what happened on Darwin that we never heard off.

darwin city helicopter view
Aerial view of Darwin City taken during the helicopter tour.

On 19th February 1942 after the bombing of the Pearl Harbour, the same squadron went to bomb Darwin. There were four aircraft carriers of Akagi, Kaga, Hiryū, and Sōryū and a powerful force of escorting surface ships launched the first wave of attacks with 188 aircrafts during the morning of 19 February 1942. It took Darwin by surprise. The raid didn’t stop there as the second wave struck Darwin two hours later and it claimed lives of 235 people.

darwin WWII japan map
The events of Japanese World War II including the bombings of Darwin.

Over one year, there were over 100 raids on Darwin and the purpose is to shut down the oil supply as well as the army bases of the allies as it is too close to Indonesia. The attacks were so massive, the civilians deserted the city and the Chinatown of Darwin was destroyed. Thus, the Chinatown was never rebuilt and Darwin is the one of the major cities in Australia without Chinatown. The Japanese didn’t occupy Darwin but force the allies to move their army bases down South.

darwin WWII bunker two bombs
Two bombs in one of the WWII bunkers.

Up to today, you can still find many deserted bunkers in Darwin and some of the deserted air strips. We never read this in our history books and never even know about such incident happened in Australia.

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Checking out the WWII bunker in Charles Darwin National Park.

This is actually one of the highlights of Darwin and you can visit places like the oil tunnels as well as some of the deserted bunkers. Darwin is not just about crocodiles and we will write more stories about this laid back city soon.



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