Last Friday marked 80 years since the Darwin Military Force arrived in Darwin to defend the north. After recruitment from around Australia, more than 200 troops arrived at the port on the Montoro. Most of Darwin - school kids and all - turned out to watch them march, in what was, at that time, the Territory's largest-ever military parade. And the troops got a warm welcome indeed, with newspaper reports at the time noting the "perspiration streaming down their faces... their khaki shirts soaked". They took up residence in the derelict Vestey’s Meatworks and with both infantry and artillery elements, began training hard in the harsh conditions. While that first force was broken up before it saw any of the action that came just a few years later, many of its men went on to join the AIF and fought around the world.
Published: 31 March 2019