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Ahead of next week's 77th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin, this image has sparked lots of discussion on Facebook - was it in Darwin and what's the occasion? Turns out it's the Darwin Detachment holding a 'smoke social' in the vaults under the Mess Hall at Bullocky Point in 1934. In the decades after Vestey's Meatworks closed in 1920, the site became a military barracks for the detachments tasked with developing the Top End's defence infrastructure including the 6-inch guns at East Point and Larrakeyah Barracks. The party farewelled departing servicemen who had done their bit and were heading home. Despite the "innovations in dress not widely favoured further south imposed by semi-tropical climate," the occasion was reported in the Northern Standard to have been "a great success".

Image: Kerry Mark

Published: 17 February 2019


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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