An Awkward Truth: The Bombing of Darwin, February 1942 by Peter Grose

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By Peter Grose

The compelling and intensely human tale of the 1st overseas attack on Australian soil for the reason that settlement—the assault on Darwin through the japanese in February, 1942

The bombing of Darwin on February 19, 1942, is the conflict Australia attempts to overlook. even though there has been a lot to be happy with that day—courage, mateship, selection, and improvisation—the darkish part of the tale lingers: looting, desertion, and a calamitous failure of Australian management. the japanese struck with an analogous carrier-borne strength that devastated Pearl Harbor basically ten weeks past. there has been a distinction: they dropped extra bombs on Darwin, killed extra civilians in Darwin, and sank extra ships in Darwin than in Pearl Harbor. It continues to be the only deadliest occasion in Australian background. but the tale has remained within the shadows. soaking up, lively, and fast moving, An Awkward fact is a compelling and revealing tale of the day battle first got here to Australia, and of the underarmed and unprepared squaddies and civilians who confronted their hardest try out on domestic soil.

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In 1928 he joined the government as Minister for Home Affairs. The Northern Territory became part of his responsibilities. He lost the Gwydir seat in the 1929 election. The Great Depression now struck, with its attendant social unrest. According to the Australian Dictionary of National Biography, Abbott appears to have responded by becoming an organiser for the New Guard, a loony right-wing paramilitary group that was as near as Australia ever came to Britain’s Blackshirts or Mosleyites. His career on the right-wing fringe ended in 1931, when he recaptured the Gwydir seat.

Yet, incredibly, this remained the system of government in the Northern Territory until 1947, when the Federal Government in Canberra finally granted limited powers to a 13-man Legislative Council. The Northern Territory did not have a democratically elected Parliament until 1978, when a Legislative Assembly took over the administration of the Territory for the first time. ◆ ◆ ◆ As happens in every democracy, government appointees to prestigious jobs are usually politicians who have either passed their prime or need to be got out of the way.

This was the An Awkward Truth 22 ◆ 9/1/09 12:59 PM Page 22 A N AW K WA R D T R U T H legendary Ghan train, a contraction of its original name, The Afghan Express. Work on the Ghan railway began in 1878, but the line did not reach Alice Springs until 1929. The local population, and later the soldiers who had the misfortune to travel on it, referred to the engine as ‘Leaping Lena’, and to the whole train as the ‘Spirit of Protest’. Even Leaping Lena still left a yawning gap of 1000 kilometres of scrub and desert between Birdum and the railhead at Alice Springs.

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