Upcoming events and perhaps history, locations, a changing series of alerts and invitations.
3 February 1943, Australian troops of Kanga Force counter-attacked the Japanese at Wau.
Kanga Force at Wau had been reinforced by elements of the 17th Brigade, and after an all-out assault on the Australian positions by the Japanese in late January, the Australian counter-attack forced the Japanese to retreat.
During the fighting at Wau, 1,200 Japanese were killed, along with 300 Australians.
Wau became an important jumping off point for the Salamaua-Lae campaign.
Lest we forget.
19 Feb – Bombing of Darwin
22 Feb – Darwin RSL Sub =Branch AGM
1 March – on this day in 1901 the Australian Army was formed. The Australian Army is Australia’s military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force.
Although Australian soldiers have been involved in a number of minor and major conflicts throughout its history, only in World War II has Australian territory come under direct attack.
26 March – anniversary of the launch of HMAS Darwin. HMAS Darwin was the fourth of six Adelaide Class guided missile frigates (FFG) to serve in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was launched on 26 March 1982 by Mrs Joan Johnston, the wife of Commodore Eric Johnston, AO, AM, OBE, RAN, the Administrator of the Northern Territory.
She was named for the capital city of the NT and was commissioned 36 years ago. During her career she operated in the Persian Gulf as part of a peacekeeping task force, and off the Solomon Islands. Darwin completed her final overseas port visit on 26 October 2017 when she departed Singapore for Darwin, which would also be her final visit to her namesake city. The ship arrived in Darwin on 1 November and commenced decommissioning events by firing a seven-gun salute in the vicinity of the Darwin Esplanade, which was returned by the howitzers of the 8/12 Medium Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, at Bicentennial Park, adjacent to the vicinity of the proposed Defence of Darwin House.
25 April – ANZAC Day
4-8 May Battle of the Coral Sea
24 May – on Saturday, 24 May 1930 Amy Johnson, a pioneering English aviator and the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia, landed in Darwin.
Johnson achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman pilot, or in the language of the time, “aviatrix”, to fly solo from England to Australia. Flying G-AAAH, the first of two aircraft she named “Jason”, she left Croydon, south of London, on 5 May and crash landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, on 24 May after flying 11,000 miles (18,000 km). This aircraft can be seen in the Science Museum in London. She received the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE in George V’s 1930 Birthday Honours in recognition of this achievement, and was also honoured with the No. 1 civil pilot’s licence under Australia’s 1921 Air Navigation Regulations.
1 June – On this day 23 years ago (1st June 1994) Darwin’s only outdoor cinema – Deckchair Cinema opened.
It was opened by the Darwin Film Society and the first film they played was The Castanet Club.
Historically outdoor cinemas had long been important to the social life in the Territory, the first cinema under the stars begun by George Wedd at the back of the old Gordon’s Don Hotel (where the ABC office stands today on the corner of Bennett and Cavenagh Street).
1 June – Established in 1921, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is the second-oldest independent Air Force in the world. The RAAF Base Darwin was formed in June 1940 and very rapidly became the front line of Australia’s defences. It is a main forward operating base for Australia.
14 August 1945 – Japan surrenders which meant WW II ended for Australia!!
20 Victoria crosses where awarded to Australians throughout the war!
To commemorate Japan’s acceptance for unconditional surrender, the Australian government announced the 15th August, Victory in the Pacific (VP Day), a public holiday.
18 August – On 18 August, 1966, members of D Company, who were outnumbered 20 to one, fought against the odds to defeat the Viet Cong.
About 245 Viet Cong were killed in the rubber plantation and 18 Australians were killed and more were wounded.
10 of those soldiers were recognised at Government House in Canberra in 2016 for their services.
30 August – eternal flame installed TBC
September 1 – Beginning of WW11 with Britain declaring war on Germany following the invasion of Poland.
26 September 2020 Brian Winspear, one of the last survivors of the first Darwin air raids turns 100.
4 October – Lieutenant Charles Lloyd Herbert was the oldest son of Charles Edward Herbert (1860-1929), who was at various times member for the Northern Territory in the South Australian Parliament, Resident (Administrator) of the Northern Territory, and a Judge both in the Northern Territory and in Papua. Charles enlisted in the AIF in 1915, after serving as an Officer in the police in Papua. He died on 4th October 1917 at the age of 28. Unfortunately, in the subsequent course of the Battle of Ypres his grave was lost, and his name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, in Belgium.
30 October – Private Sidney James Lauder worked for the Postmaster General, a member of the Cable Guard, which was a local militia unit raised to defend the Overseas Telegraph Cable. At the outbreak of war there was a real fear of a raid by a German warship on the cable station in Darwin, which was the key link between Australia and the rest of the Empire.
Lauder enlisted into the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) underage in 1915. He served at Gallipoli in the later stages of that campaign before going on to the Western Front, where he died at the Battle of Ypres at the age of 20 on 30th October 1917. He now rests in the Aeroplane Cemetery, in Belgium.
8 Nov – On this day in 1965
The 173rd Airborne is ambushed by over 1,200 Viet Cong in Operation Hump during the Vietnam War, while the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment fight one of the first set-piece engagements of the war between Australian forces and the Viet Cong at the Battle of Gang Toi.
11 Nov – Armistice Day which ended the First World War (1914–18). Each year on this day Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11 am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts. At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. In November the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted allied terms that amounted to unconditional surrender. Today urges all Australians to observe one minute’s silence at 11 am on 11 November each year to remember those who died or suffered for Australia’s cause in all wars and armed conflicts.
At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. In November the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted allied terms that amounted to unconditional surrender.
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. This first modern world conflict had brought about the mobilization of over 70 million people and left between 9 and 13 million dead, perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their war dead.
The Darwin RSL Sub Branch holds their traditional Remembrance day ceremony at the Cenotaph memorial on the Esplanade.
16 November 1920 – Qantas, Australia’s national airline, is founded as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited.
This date was the culmination of a series of defining moments – years of trial and error that got Qantas in the air. From partnerships formed on the First World War battlefields, a long drive, chasing government subsidies and public support, and finding suitable aircraft, the Qantas story is focused on responses to the social, environmental and economic possibilities and needs for an aerial service across western Queensland and the Northern Territory.
17 December – Darwin Rebellion
The Darwin Rebellion of 17 December 1918 was the culmination of unrest in the Australian Workers’ Union which had existed between 1911 and 1919. Led by Harold Nelson, up to 1000 demonstrators marched on Government House at Liberty Square in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia where they burnt an effigy of the Administrator of the Northern Territory, John Gilruth, and demanded his resignation.
20 December 2015 – the last Australian troops evacuated Gallipoli. More than 8,700 Australians lost their lives over the eight month campaign, with more than 2,000 on the first day alone.
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