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Last Updated on November 16, 2023

Images: 0800-501 to 0800-550 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.

Many old photographs and stories of the history of Darwin

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Please share this story with your family and friends so that they can read about the Darwin stories, its history,  and what it has to offer tourists. 

Thank you very much, Don...

Darwin Gallery Index - Images 0800-501 to 0800-550

Expand to display an index to all Darwin images.

Every image below has a link to 50 photographs. Simply click on the image to choose that group of 50.

Images: 0800-001 to 0800-050 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-051 to 0800-100 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-101 to 0800-150 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-151 to 0800-200 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-201 to 0800-250 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-251 to 0800-300 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-301 to 0800-350 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-351 to 0800-400 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-401 to 0800-450 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-451 to 0800-500 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-501 to 0800-550 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-551 to 0800-600 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-601 to 0800-650 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-651 to 0800-700 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-701 to 0800-750 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
Images: 0800-751 to 0800-800 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
0800-801 to 0800-850 Darwin Gallery of historical B&W photos converted to colour.
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The Stories

0800-501 Larrakeyah Barracks Army Theatre Darwin Circa 1945.

Photographer Andrew, Marjorie
https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+1708/3/40

Larrakeyah (Darwin, N.T.)
Motion picture theaters -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.

Don:
Larrakeyah Barracks is a military base located in Darwin, Australia. In 1945, during World War II, it served as a base for the Australian Army. The base was established in 1938 and was heavily damaged during the bombing of Darwin in 1942. After the war, it was rebuilt and continues to be an active military base to this day. The Army Theatre Darwin was also located in the base during that time, which was used for entertainment and cultural activities for the soldiers stationed there.

Posted 16-February-2022

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0800-502 Padre Chris Goy and Rev Clyde Toft outside the Methodist Church Knuckey Street Darwin Circa 1937 - 1942.

Image Source: Original B&W
Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/737767
Photographer: Steenholdt, Wilf

Image Source: Original Colour
https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-142508215/view
Creator? Flynn, John, 1880-1951

Description:
Padre Chris Goy and Rev Clyde Toft outside the Methodist Church Darwin where they preached on alternative Sundays.

Don...
Nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of Darwin's bustling city streets stood a beacon of history and resilience - the territory's oldest church. Once a dilapidated and forgotten structure, the former Wesleyan Methodist church has undergone a remarkable transformation.

Built in 1897, the church was designed to withstand the harsh tropical climate of Darwin, including cyclones and termites. It has stood the test of time, surviving World War II bombing, more than 19 cyclones, and years of neglect and abuse.

But in 2000, the NT Government recognized that the building's survival was uncertain and made the decision to reconstruct and move it to the Darwin Botanic gardens. And in 2014, it was renamed Eva's Cafe after Evlampia Holtze, paying homage to its rich history while also providing a new chapter in its story.

Posted 17-February-2023

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0800-503 Otto Peters' Store Mitchell Street, Palmerston. Port Darwin 1875.

Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/883388
Foelsche Collection Date: 03/06/1875

Description:
Otto Peters' Store, Mitchell Street, Palmerston.

Don:
On February 25th 1875, the steamship Gothenburg, owned by McMeckan, Blackwood, & Co., struck a reef off the coast of Queensland and became a total wreck. Only 22 of the 137 passengers were saved.

One of the deceased passengers, Mr. Otto Peters, was a well-known businessman in the mercantile community. He had previously worked at a wholesale establishment before starting his own retail business, Peters & Martin, which was successful. 


After a few years, he retired with a few thousands to his credit and traveled before starting a new business in the Northern Territory. He was also a passenger on a previous perilous voyage on a ship called the Springbok. Mr. Peters was unmarried.

Posted 18-February-2023

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0800-503

0800-504 Port Darwin harbour & Fort Hill taken from Stokes Hill Circa 1880s.

Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/879617
Peter Spillett Collection ;

Description:
Port Darwin harbour & Fort Hill from Stokes Hill.

Don:
Fort Hill was a majestic hill that once stood tall on Darwin Harbour in the Northern Territory of Australia. It was a site of great historical significance, being the location of George Goyder's survey camp established in 1869. The hill was not only a beacon of colonial history but also holds a special place in the hearts of the local community.

It was the earliest European burial site in Darwin, after the tragic death of John William Ogilvie Bennett, a draughtsman on Goyder's 1869 survey expedition. Bennett was fatally speared by Aboriginal people on the Adelaide River and was buried at a site on the top of Fort Hill. Another early settler, Richard Hazard, was also laid to rest on the hill after he passed away on 2 August 1869.

During World War II, Fort Hill played a vital role as it had two oil tunnels bored into the side of the hill, which were used to fuel the war efforts. But, in 1965, the hill was removed to make way for the iron-ore loading wharf, and the remains of Bennett and Hazard were relocated to Darwin Cemetery on McMillians Road. Although the hill no longer stands, the memories and history of Fort Hill will forever be etched in the annals of Darwin's history.

Posted 19-February-2023

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0800-505 Qantas Empire Airways Hanger Built in 1934. Parap Darwin


Image Source: Kerry Mark.

Peter Grice:
Today, the building is heritage listed and belongs to the NT Museum. It's licenced to the Motor Vehicle Enthusiasts Club and Museum, who repair, maintain and exhibit their vehicles there. 

The Hangar also houses some Museum owned pieces like the Sand Fly steam engine and the Margaret Rose steam traction engine from the failed Fogg Dam rice farm. In addition there is also a collection of Stationary Engines that belong to Leo Izod who is the same age as the hangar and his dad owned the first Holden Dealership in Darwin.

Don:
In 1934, the Sidney-Williams Company erected an impressive pre-fabricated hangar in Darwin for Qantas Empire Airways Ltd, in time for the Centenary Air race.

This state-of-the-art facility was used by the first Australia-England air service operated by Qantas and Empire Airways, as well as the inaugural Adelaide–Darwin air service operated by Qantas and Guinea Airways. After the Ross Smith airstrip was deemed inactive in 1946, the hangar was repurposed as a mechanical workshop and a store.

Posted 20-February-2023

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0800-505

0800-506 Stokes Hill Power Station Darwin 1967.

Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/750829
Lois & Geoff Helyar Collection. Date: 01/04/1967

Description:
Stokes Hill power station, oil tanks and wharf. Aerial view.

Don:
Stokes Hill Power Station was an oil-fired thermal power station in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. It was the largest power station in the Northern Territory at the time, yet was considered unreliable and inefficient due to its high operating costs. As a result, the government had to heavily subsidize power bills for Darwin residents. The station was opened in 1962, with a capacity of 15 MW, and was upgraded to a maximum of 141 MW by 1977. After Cyclone Tracy hit in 1974, the station closed and was not fully operational again until 25 January. It was decommissioned in 2002, with a new gas-fired power station, Channel Island Power Station, replacing it.

Posted 21-February-2023

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0800-507 The Telegraph Fleet, Port Darwin, 1871 At left is Bengal with Sweet's ship Gulnare immediately behind, then Hibernia, Investigator and Edinburgh.

Photographer: Samuel White Sweet

Description:
Telegraph Fleet responsible for laying cable in Darwin Harbour. On the left are two ships (Gulnare and Bengal) tied up alongside each other. Astern is Hibernia, Investigator & Edinburgh on the far right in deeper water.

Sweet’s trademark anchor is lower right among the bushes.

On 26 October 1871, the three ships, carrying the submarine cable arrived at Port Darwin. After laying the cable on the beach below the BAT offices, the ships steamed away to Banjoewangie on the east coast of Java where the cable was connected to the line which stretched across land and sea to England.

Posted 22-February-2023

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0800-508 Administrator's Residence, Darwin, 1956.

Photographer: Frey, John
Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/436627

Description:
The war memorial and Government House, Darwin, 1956

Don:
The Darwin Cenotaph is a memorial to the Northern Territory's fallen heroes who served in various wars. It features three plaques with the names of those who lost their lives during World War One, and was erected outside Government House in 1921 to commemorate this conflict. In 1970, the cenotaph was relocated to the Civic Centre, and in 1992 it was moved to its current home in Bicentennial Park. It serves as a reminder of those who sacrificed their lives in service to their
country.

Posted 23-February-2023

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0800-508

0800-509 Francesca Bleeser's Shop, Smith Street Darwin Circa 1930s.

Image Source and Description: Joyce Davis.

Some pics to show what Darwin was like before 1941

Mrs. Bleesers Shop was like an Aladin's cave as it was packed with Sparkling Jewellery, Teddy Bears, Dolls, Scarves of every color covered with sequins or sprinkles, nick nacks, Etc. At the front behind a closed door, her husband kept his specimens of rocks, animals Etc which he collaborated with others all over the world, As I was well behaved he would let me in to see them as he knew I would not touch anything. All his years of work were destroyed by the soldiers who carried out looting and vandalism when he died many said it was of a broken heart because his life's work was gone.

Don:
Fran's store was between the Commonwealth bank and Brown's Mart. That should be the Town Hall on the right hand side, partially hidden by Jolly's Bulk Store.

Posted 24-February-2023

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0800-510 Construction of Smith Street Mall Darwin 1979.

Image source and Description: Andrew King

On the 16 November 1979 saw the official opening of Darwin Mall.

Don:
The Smith Street Mall in Darwin was constructed in 1979 by the architectural firm Baulderstone Hornibrook. The mall was designed to provide an attractive pedestrian shopping precinct in the city centre, with a range of shops, cafes, restaurants and other services. The mall was constructed with a range of materials, such as concrete, brick and steel, and featured a range of lighting and sound systems to create a vibrant atmosphere. The mall was also designed to be accessible to people of all abilities and featured wheelchair-friendly ramps, lifts and other features. The mall was seen as a success and helped to revitalise the city centre, attracting shoppers from across Darwin and the
Northern Territory.

In later years, the Smith Street Mall was seen as a failure, with a decline in foot traffic, vacant retail spaces and a lack of investment in the area. In recent years, a range of initiatives have been implemented to revitalise the mall, including improved lighting, public art installations and a range of events and activities.

Posted 25-February-2023

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0800-510

0800-511 Darwin Hotel, 1997, view from NT House.

Image Source and Description: Gee Mac

Don:
In 1947, the Communist Party made a bold move in petitioning to convert the Hotel Darwin into a community-oriented establishment. Their request was met with great enthusiasm as more than 300 people signed off on the proposal. Paspalis and Stanley Thomas Laurance were the fortunate ones who won the tender for the hotel. Unfortunately, Laurance was charged with a misdemeanor for failing to display a price list in 1948. Consequently, the publican ceased serving beer during the court proceedings, a period which was later remembered as the "beerless, cheerless days" of the Hotel Darwin.

Posted 26-February-2023

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0800-512 Darwin Railway Station on Frances Bay in the 1960s.

Citation address: http://hdl.handle.net/10070/261997
Photographer: Bismark, Arnold Date taken: 30-Nov-1960 Place: Darwin (N.T.)
Collection: Arnold Bismark Collection.

Description:
Darwin Railway Station, 400 miles of railway.

Don:
The Darwin Railway Station in the 1960s was a significant landmark in the Northern Territory. Built in 1885, the station was a hub of activity, serving as a key transport hub for people travelling to and from the region.

Bryan Baker:
The station was removed about 1970 to make way for the expansion of Francis Bay area and when railway hill was cut away (and probably used as fill in the harbour).

Posted 27-February-2023

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0800-513 Darwin RSL Knuckey and Smith Street 1948.

Collection: PA-Group-00080: Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs

Darwin RSL Knuckey and Smith Street 1948
Darwin street scene with hire car parking sign

Don:
The Darwin RSL Club has a rich history, playing a significant role in shaping not only Darwin, but also Australia. It was established in 1917 by WW1 soldiers and sailors who had returned to Darwin. The club was founded with the goal of serving as a community hub for Australian Defence Force personnel and their families in the area. To raise funds, a dinner dance was held in September 1917, which was attended by a packed crowd and raised 40 pounds 10 shillings towards building a venue.

In October 1922, the Soldier's Memorial Hall was completed and opened in Darwin, located at Knuckey St. It soon became a popular gathering place for the community, offering a space for various events and a place to honor those who served in war. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the Darwin RSL grew in size and influence, becoming a focal point for WW2 veterans and a venue for entertaining dignitaries. The Soldiers Memorial Hall served the club well for 50 years, surviving the 1937 cyclone and Japanese bombings of 1942. In 1970, the club decided to relocate to a new location on Cavenagh Street and a new building was opened in 1972.

Posted 28-February-2023

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0800-513

0800-514 The home of Bert and Eunice Pierssené and their family, pictured under construction. McMinn Street near the Daly Street bridge and the railway line. Darwin Circa 1941.

Image Source and description: Karen Smith.

The home of Bert and Eunice Pierssené and their family, pictured under construction.
McMinn Street near the Daly Street bridge and the railway line. Darwin Circa 1941.

Karen Smith's grandparents, Bert and Eunice Pierssené

My Grandparents, Bert and Eunice Pierssené, lived in Darwin before World War II. They lived in a house Pa (Bert) had recently built on McMinn Street near the Daly Street bridge and the railway line. The incomplete house is pictured in this article.

Only a week after moving in, Nana (Eunice), my mother Marie and siblings Rae, Lex, Kevin, and Veronica, aged from 11 to 3 were evacuated on the infamous "Hell Ship," S.S. Zealandia. At the time Nana (Eunice) was reluctant to leave as the youngest was unwell and my Grandfather could not go. While doing christmas shopping at Blessers, Nana (Eunice) and my mum Marie, were told they would be evacuated within 48 hours with a limit of just 35lbs (15.87kgs) of clothing between the family.

They were to leave all personal belongings including toys, except for xmas gifts for 1941. All women and children were to be evacuated by either ship or train and men and boys 18 or older had to remain to protect and maintain the running of the town. Pa (Bert), a PMG linesman, assisted with essential services and post-bombing cleanup.

Posted 1-March-2023

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0800-514

0800-515 Parer's Terminus Hotel, the Eastern Cafe and the Tree of Knowledge Cavenagh Street Darwin. Circa 1920s.

Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/745318
M. Goodale Collection. 

Description:
Parer's Terminus Hotel, the Eastern Cafe and the Tree of Knowledge

Don:
The Terminus Hotel, one of Darwin's first pubs, was located where the City of Darwin building stands today. Built in 1885, it was the place where Charlie King's father found himself stranded soon after arriving in Darwin. King's father, a cyclist from Melbourne, was riding around Australia with his friend Basil to promote the Malvern Star bicycle brand. However, Basil was injured on the journey when his pistol accidentally went off, shooting him in the leg. He was sent home, leaving Charlie's dad alone in Darwin with two bikes, sitting in front of the Terminus Hotel. He soon suffered from sunstroke on a labour job, and while recovering in Darwin Hospital, he was cared for by an Aboriginal woman who became his wife and Charlie's mother.

Greg Coonan:  Another interesting story about the Terminus Hotel. Added 2-March-2023
Father W M Henschke came to Darwin in 1915 (and died there in 1972: a big man – he was 6 ft 4.5 inches tall!). Shortly after arriving he spent seven years on Bathurst Island mission and ran the sawmill there on a semi-commercial basis.

The cypress pine logs (termite resistant) were floated down to the mission, cut and brought to Darwin by the mission lugger ‘St Francis’. Those logs were used to build extensions to St Mary’s Catholic Church, the Methodist mission on Goulburn Island, dwellings at the old Pt Charles lighthouse, much of Chinatown and the Club and Terminus Hotels.
Mentioned in Frank Flynn's book "Northern Gateway".

Posted 2-March-2023

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0800-515

0800-516 Bert Pierssené and his children Marie, Rae, Lex, Kevin and Veronica. Taken in Hurstville, Sydney before they returned to Darwin Circa late 1940s.

mage and description: Karen Smith

Karen Smith
My Grandparents, Bert and Eunice Pierssené, lived in Darwin before World War II. They lived in a house Pa (Bert) had recently built on McMinn Street near the Daly Street bridge and the railway line.

Posted 3-March-2023

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0800-517 Government House Grounds Darwin 1962.

Photographer: McGeehan, Margaret
Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/417855

Description:
People on Government House lawns, view to harbour.

Notes:
In 1962 the creator was seconded to the Darwin Public Library from the National Library of Australia.

Don:
Complete with a "Hills Hoist".

Posted 4-March-2023

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0800-518 Bert and Eunice Pierssené and their youngest son Ron, from Darwin. Taken in Sydney on holidays Circa 1950.

Image and Description: Karen Smith

Karen Smith
My Grandparents, Bert and Eunice Pierssené, lived in Darwin before World War II. The family was evacuated to Sydney during the war, while Bert stayed in Darwin. The family later reunited in Sydney, then returned to Darwin in 1947.

Posted 5-March-2023

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0800-519 Hickey's Hock Shop Cavenagh Street Darwin Circa Early 1960s.

Image Source and description: Kathy Clayden

This is my parents' shop in Cavenagh Street, fondly called Hickey's Hock Shop. The occasion was Chinese New Year and it was in the early 1960s. I was with my Mum when she took the slide from the opposite side of the street next to the NT Fruit Exchange.


Posted 6-March-2023

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0800-520 Hotel Darwin 1999 - The Esplanade and Herbert Street.

Image Source: Steve Wallace

Don:
By the late 1990s, the Hotel Darwin was plagued with problems, with reports claiming that the building was "riddled with cancer" and posed a serious safety hazard. Despite protests and calls from the National Trust of the NT to save the hotel, Paspalis Hotel Investment group pressed ahead with their plan to demolish the building. In a swift and controversial move, the owners began demolition on September 9th, 1999, despite a Supreme Court injunction the following day.

 
Outraged citizens gathered to try and stop the destruction, but their efforts were to no avail. By the morning of September 11th, the once magnificent Hotel Darwin lay in rubble, its demolition widely seen as an act of disregard for heritage and history.

Posted 7-March-2023

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0800-521 Students of the first Aboriginal boarding school, Kormilda College Berrimah. Yr 6 Darwin Trial 1967.

Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/748460
Photographer: Riddell, Ella

Description:
Students of the first Aboriginal boarding school, Kormilda College. Yr 6 Trial

Front L-R
Hazel Bowden Mainoru, Kathy McDouall Snake bay, Susan Murray Mainoru,
Magalgala(Maggie) Warruwi, Ruby Wilika Bamyili

Second Row L-R
Kay Brown Snake Bay, Olga Lyons Delissaville, Peggy Dawson Warrabri Tennant
Creek, Emily Driver Warrabri, Barbara Foster Warrabri, Nancy Clayton, Mainoru,
Third Row L:R Glen Blitner Roper River, Victor Riley Roper River, Jacob Daniel
Roper River, Wayne Campion Mainoru, John Wilson Snake Bay, Robin Rogers Roper River,

Back Row L-R
Harold Kelly Warrabri, Stanley Thompson Roper River, Derek Lippo Delissaville,
Bruce Murray Mainoru, Paul Daniels Bamyili. Plus Missing Arrived from Willowra
in late September: Albert Morrison Warrabri

Posted 8-March-2023

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0800-522 Bert Pierssené and an unknown person. Possibly taken at the Daly Street Darwin rental home. Circa late 1930s.

Image and description: Karen Smith

Karen Smith
My Grandparents, Bert and Eunice Pierssené, lived in Darwin before World War II. They lived in rented house in Daly Street, prior to moving into a new a house Pa (Bert) had recently built on McMinn Street near the Daly Street bridge and the railway line.

Don:
I was going to crop the unknown person out, but felt it may take away the possibility of this person being recognised by a descendant in the future.

Posted 9-March-2023

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0800-523 Hotel Darwin The Esplanade Darwin 1952.

Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/787178
Colin Gill Collection ;

Don:
The Hotel Darwin, also known as the "Grand Old Duchess", was a well-known hotel located on The Esplanade in central Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. Despite surviving the bombing of Darwin and Cyclone Tracy, the hotel was ultimately demolished in 1999. However, a bar at the rear of the original site, formerly known as the Hot & Cold Bar, now operates under the name Hotel
Darwin.

The hotel was designed by D. K. Turner of the architectural firm Messrs. Stephenson and Turner, and was built on the site of the old Club Hotel in 1936 at a cost of between £50,000 and £85,000. The opening of the hotel was attended by 200 people, and was officiated by the Northern Territory Administrator Charles Aubrey Abbott, with his wife Hilda Abbott opening the doors using a golden key, which is now on display at the Defence of Darwin Experience. However, the opening of the hotel was surrounded with controversy as several prominent Darwin figures did not receive an invitation.

Posted 10-March-2023

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Hotel Darwin

0800-523

0800-524 Eunice Pierssené. Possibly taken at the Daly Street Darwin rental home. Circa late 1930s.

Image and Description: Karen Smith

Only a week after moving in, Nana (Eunice), my mother Marie and siblings Rae, Lex, Kevin, and Veronica, aged from 11 to 3 were evacuated on the infamous "Hell Ship," S.S. Zealandia. At the time Nana (Eunice) was reluctant to leave as the youngest was unwell and my Grandfather could not go. While doing christmas shopping at Blessers, Nana (Eunice) and my mum Marie, were told they would be evacuated within 48 hours with a limit of just 35lbs (15.87kgs) of clothing between the family. They were to leave all personal belongings including toys, except for xmas gifts for 1941. All women and children were to be evacuated by either ship or train and men and boys 18 or older had to remain to protect and maintain the running of the town. Pa (Bert), a PMG linesman, assisted with essential services and post-bombing cleanup.

Posted 11-March-2023

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0800-525 Izod Motors Knuckey and Cavenagh streets Darwin Late 1960s.

Image Source and Description: Marcia Davis

Description:
Ian, Tony, Denise, Ellen, Marcia Davis nee Izod, Chris Davis, Russel, Michael and Jenny Izod

Posted 12-March-2023

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0800-526 Government House The Esplanade Darwin 1962.

Photographer: McGeehan, Margaret
Citation address: https://hdl.handle.net/10070/417769

Description:
Front of Government House with palm tree.

Don:
Perched on the hillsides of Darwin's bustling business district, The Esplanade, lies the grand and storied Government House - the official residence and office of the Administrator of the Northern Territory in Australia. With its roots dating back to 1870 and 1871, this magnificent building has been home to successive Government Residents and Administrators and stands as the oldest European building in the Northern Territory.

Boasting mid-Victorian Gothic architecture, Government House is a stunning example of a classic villa style, adapted to the local climate with the addition of shaded verandahs and porches. Despite facing numerous challenges such as earthquakes, cyclones, enemy bombing raids, white ant infestations, and public demonstrations, the building has persevered and remains one of the most beautiful and impressive structures in Darwin.

On December 17, 1918, Government House made history when it became the center of political turmoil and union unrest against John Gilruth's administration. A crowd of 1000 demonstrators marched to the house, burning an effigy of Gilruth and demanding his resignation, an incident that has become known as the Darwin Rebellion.

In recognition of its historical significance, Government House was entered onto the now-defunct Register of the National Estate in 1991 and added to the Northern Territory Heritage Register in 1996. Today, it serves as a symbol of the government's presence in Darwin and stands as a testament to the rich heritage and exciting history of the Northern Territory.

Posted 13-March-2023

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