Skip to navigation

Media releases & speeches

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Minister for Defence Materiel

Friday, 19 February 2016

Remembering the Bombing of Darwin

Dan Tehan, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, today urged Australians to pause and remember the day the Second World War came to Australian shores.

“On this day 74 years ago, Australia faced the first World War II attack on our home soil,” Minister Tehan said.

“188 Japanese aircraft mounted two waves of attack on Darwin, claiming more than 240 lives and causing widespread devastation across the city.”

This was followed by a further 60 attacks on Northern Australian towns and cities over the next 20 months, with the last on 12 November 1943.

“Luckily, no other raids had the same devastating result as those on 19 February, as defences were strengthened and better organised,” Minister Tehan said.

“The Bombing of Darwin is an important part of our military history and should never be forgotten. To this day, it remains the largest attack mounted on Australia.

“As the nation commemorates the Anzac Centenary 2014–2018 and a Century of Service, we remember the service and sacrifice of all those who have served over the past 100 years, and those who continue to serve in wars, conflicts and peace operations.”

A memorial service takes place every year at the Cenotaph at Bicentennial Park, Darwin with a Second World War air raid siren to be sounded at 9.58am to mark the precise time the first attack took place.

Media enquiries:  

  • Minister Tehan’s Office: 02 6277 7820
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.