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This week marked 60 years since a crew of Japanese workers turned up to remove the shipwrecks in Darwin Harbour left by the Japanese bombings in World War II. In 1959 marine salvage specialist Ryugo Fujita won the contract to salvage the wrecks, sailing into Darwin Harbour with 120 workers, ready to begin this dangerous work. The MV British Motorist was the first wreck to be raised, and it became home for the workers who lived in makeshift bunkhouses on its deck. Many Darwin dignitaries and locals were invited for lunch on the British Motorist over the two years of the salvage operation as relationships grew between the locals and the crew, representing a period of reconciliation for a war-torn town.

Published: 2018

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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