As the sun appeared across Darwin on Thursday 19 February 1942, it heralded in just another wet season day. Minutes before 10am a series of Japanese aircraft flew overhead and suddenly the town erupted with a series of massive explosions. World War 2 had arrived on Australia’s doorstep. Amongst the devastation was a direct hit by an 800 kilogram bomb onto the top of a steel topped slit trench next to the Darwin Post Office. The massive explosion instantly killed Darwin's postmaster Hurtle Bald, his wife Alice, their daughter Iris and six other post office staff. The story is told in a new book Direct Hit: The Bombing of Darwin Post Office by Brett Bowden.


Picture: Watts Collection, Northern Territory Library


Published: 20 November 2016

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