Archives Outside

For people who love, use and manage archives

Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage archives

Darwin WWII Bombing: 70 years later

Bombing of Darwin Plaque Government House March 2010

Darwin 70 years on

This is a concise 3 minute overview of the history of the bombing of Darwin in 1942 and its subsequent impact. I would highly recommend it to those unfamiliar with the history.

Military historian Tom Lewis discusses the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Darwin during World War II on ABC News.

View the video

Moments and memories

ABC news are also the authors of a comprehensive page on the Darwin bombings which includes an eyewitness account from a veteran, a then and now audio slide show and an interactive map with photo’s and audio.


On February 19, 1942, shortly before 10:00am, Japanese forces launched air raids on Darwin, the first on Australian soil.

More than 260 enemy planes, including land-based bombers and planes flying off aircraft carriers in the Timor Sea, attacked US and Australian shipping, the town’s harbour, military and civil aerodromes and the local hospital.

The attacks, which came in two waves, were part of Japan’s efforts to damage Australia’s morale, hinder Darwin’s use as a military base, and ultimately secure neighbouring Timor.

At least 243 people were killed in the attack, and up to 400 people were injured.

Twenty military aircraft were destroyed and eight ships in the harbour were sunk.

Air attacks continued over a space of almost two years, with about half of Darwin’s population ultimately fleeing south.

Take a look back at some of the pivotal moments and memories that made the first air attack on Australian soil both terrifying and transformative.

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  • Japhet@model airplanes wood says:

    It’s great to commemorate events such as this, what I don’t like is that some people make it sensational.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm