Being over 300 kilometres inland was not enough to save the town of Katherine from Japanese bombing during World War II. This week, 75 years ago, nine Mitsubishi G4M1 Betty bombers took off from Koepang in the occupied Netherland East Indies. At 12.20pm they appeared above Katherine, circling the town looking for strategic targets like the airfield. After disappearing for a bit, they returned about 15 minutes later and dropped their bombs. An Aboriginal man, Dodger Kodjalwal was sheltering behind a rock when he was killed and at least two other people were injured. In this photo, Jack Corbell, Post Master General linesman stands in a bomb crater left by one of 90 bombs dropped on Katherine that day during the furthest inland attack during the war.

Published: 19 March 2017


Picture: Katherine Historical Society

Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

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These works were made on Arrernte, Larrakia, Gaddigal and Lenape land that was never ceded