The raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942 by Imperial Japan was the first attack ever made by an enemy on Australian soil. The devastating attack by 242 Japanese aircraft sank eight and damaged fifteen of the ships in the harbour. An estimated 900 people were killed, with many hundreds injured. Twenty-three aircraft were destroyed.
From then until 12 November 1943, a further 64 bombing raids hit Darwin. Airfields, runways, oil tanks, railyards and navy yards were common targets, but the raids also hit civilian targets such as banks, stores and hotels. News of the attacks was strictly censored to keep the news from demoralising the Australian public.
The Darwin Defenders Association commemorates the 200,000 Australians who served in Darwin during the Second World War, and those who lost their lives.
Reviewed 13 June 2023