House debates

Monday, 22 February 2010

Statements by Members

Commemoration of the Bombing of Darwin

6:40 pm

Photo of Tony ZappiaTony Zappia (Makin, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On 19 February, I attended a commemorative service for the bombing of Darwin, organised by the Salisbury RSL. It was held at the Cross of Sacrifice memorial site in Salisbury. The bombing of Darwin by Japanese aircraft during World War II commenced at 9.58 am on 19 February 1942. At the end of the first of two separate raids, which lasted over an hour, more than 240 Australians had been killed, hundreds more had been injured and Darwin was left in ruins with property and buildings demolished. Twenty military aircraft were destroyed and eight ships were sunk. Over the next 21 months, Darwin and other areas of the Northern Territory endured more than 80 air raids, with attacks also at Townsville, Katherine, Wyndham, Derby, Broome and Port Hedland.

Sixty-eight years later, the Darwin bombings fade into history, but, for the families and friends of those killed or injured, I have no doubt that the memory lives with them. I take this opportunity to commend the Salisbury RSL, which organised again this year what has now become an annual service. In particular, I acknowledge the untiring work of Mick Lennon, who, with the support of RSL president David Kernes and Padre Trevor Rogers, officiated at what was a very dignified service. I also acknowledge the many people who placed wreaths, including a representative of Nick Champion MP; the state Minister for Families and Communities, Jennifer Rankine; Tom Howells, from the NSA; Frank Post, a former Darwin defender; Vietnam veteran Ian Le Raye; Gloria Dean, from the Australian Red Cross; Brenz Kriewaldt, from the RAAF Association; Royal Engineer Allan Weeks; Pam Price, from the Legacy widows; Salisbury councillors Betty Gill and Brian Goodall; and Chris McDonald, on behalf of the Salisbury traders.