This week in 1999, an unusual sight popped up along McMillans Road in Darwin. Following the breakout of violence after East Timor's vote for independence, about 2000 Timorese people were evacuated to Darwin with nowhere to stay. The space surrounding the little Greek Orthodox chapel near the Kalymnian and Cyprus Club and the Timorese and Portuguese Hall was quickly filled with rows of tents. Many Darwin residents leaped into action doing whatever they could to help - everything from pitching tents to transporting the refugees to and from the hospital. After about a month, many evacuees went to live in other parts of Australia, while some resettled in Darwin permanently.

Published: 10 September 2017


Picture: Library & Archives NT. Tent city, Hancock, David, 15/0, PictureNT, Northern Territory Government Photographer Slide Collection, PH0730/2161

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