Darwin: History


The Dutch visited Australia's northern coastline back in the 1600's, and created the first European maps of the area. Many Dutch place names such as Arnhem Land and Groote Eylandt, relate back directly to those Dutch explorers


Several unsuccessful attempts at settlement were made in the area. The British were very keen as they thought the French or the Dutch would get a foot hold before they did.

Present-day Darwin was finally founded in 1869. The harbour had been discovered back in 1839 by John Lort Stokes aboard the Beagle, who named it Port Darwin after former shipmate, Charles Darwin. It was not until 1869 that a permanent European settlement was established by the South Australian Government who had control of the Territory at that time. The traditional Aboriginal owners, the Larrakai, did not welcome the invasion, and several fierce clashes ensued

The process of white settlement in the Northern Territory was just as turbulent as elsewhere in Australia. Aboriginal groups vainly tried to resist the takeover of their land and clashes with settlers continued throughout the Territory resulting in the aboriginal communities being decimated.


Overland Telegraph

During the years 1870 - 1872 a support route was created for the Overland Telegraph. It was constructed between Port Augusta and Darwin and it contributed greatly to he history and success of Darwin. The Overland Telegraph connected Australia to the rest of the world. During this time workers uncovered alluvial gold near Pine Creek, about 200km south of Darwin and this boosted the new colony's development. This "gold rush" attracted more than 7000 Chinese and plus various Europeans. In 1884, the pearling industry brought people from Japan, Thursday Island, Timor and the Philippines.

World War Two

On 19 February 1942, at 10 am, during World War II, 188 Japanese warplanes attacked Darwin with their bombs killing 243 people. Many public buildings were destroyed and allied ships were sunk in the harbour. Between February 1942 and October 1943, the Japanese launched more than 60 air raids over Darwin.

Later, many Greeks came to Darwin and they were involved in the pearling and construction industries.

Cyclone Tracey

On Christmas Day 1974 the devastating Cyclone Tracey hit Darwin. The wind force that struck the city was estimated to be 250 km./hour. It decimated the city, killing dozens of people and injuring thousands. At that time the population was 43,000 and 30,000 of those people had to be evacuated to places all over Australia. Most of those came back to resume their lives in the city. A massive post-cyclone rebuilding program has turned Darwin into Australia's newest capital city.

Nowadays there are now many refugees from Timor and Vietnam also calling Darwin home. Darwin now has an amazing cultural mix. It is a very cosmopolitan and modern city and a gateway to Asia.







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