Darwin, Australia, a tropical oasis located on Australia's northern coastline, welcomes you to its fast growing city. From Darwin's ancient Indigenous inhabitants to the 1933 Gold Rush, Japanese World War II bombings and the Cyclone Tracy natural disaster, Darwin is steeped with history.
Darwin is home to over 110,000 people, the capital of the Northern Territory previously relied on Australian military and mining industries for its economy and is now enjoying a boom in tourism.
Darwin is a place that encourages you to forget formalities, kick your shoes off and relax. A modern city with a youthful population who know how to work hard and play hard.
The home of the Beer Can Regatta and the Darwin Rocksitters Club is a place where formality is taken with a grain of salt. Read this delightful story of a 4000 kilometre trip to fulfill the dream of a barefoot wedding on Darwin Harbour.
At the beginning of WWII Darwin only had a population of 2000 and was extremely isolated with a small airport, unsealed roads to the rest of Australia and little infrastructure. The bombing of Darwin by Japanese forces has had a lasting effect on Darwin, both in the destruction caused and the massive build up of the area by allied forces. To aid the war effort, the road to Alice Springs was upgraded and sealed, large military airports were built at Darwin and Batchelor and many smaller airfields were built. Adelaide River developed as an important strategic military base with ammunition dumps, supply depots and a hospital.
The railway was strengthened to handle a massive incease in traffic and the rail bridge was decked to provide a wet season crossing for road traffic. Manton Dam was built to secure water supplies, recreation areas were built at Berry Springs and Howard Springs and sheds, wharves and other structures were built.
In the 1950's the development of iron ore and uranium resulted in a new wharf, an upgrade of the railway to Larrimah, establishment of the town of Batchelor and a boom in accommodation. The development of the Ranger Uranium Mine has provided the Arnhem Highway and the town of Jabiru, in turn opening up Kakadu National Park and tourism on a large scale. Through the 60's and early 70's Darwin continued to grow steadily. It was still very isolated with roads into the town cut frequently during the tropical wet season.
The Fannie Bay Gaol is one of the few buildings in Darwin that survived the winds of cyclone Tracy. An important part of Darwin City history since it was built in 1883, the antiquated cells and gallows are now a tourist attraction. Fannie Bay Goal And the biggest change was delivered in a few hours by Cyclone Tracy in 1974 when the existing town was nearly completely destroyed. The Cyclone Tracy Movie, made in 1986, is available as a DVD and contains around 9 minutes of original ABC news footage which drives home just how much this event changed Darwin forever. Many of the victims of the cyclone are buried at the Darwin General Cemetery and a visit can drive home just how much this destruction affected peoples lives. However the rebuilding that followed has left a well designed, modern city very few old buildings. In recent years major upgrades to Australian Defence Force strength in Darwin, Palmerston and Katherine have made a major impact on the city. With the announcement that up to 2,500 United States troops will also be based in Darwin this effect can be expected to grow over the next few years. The discovery of oil and natural gas in the Timor Sea in 1983 by BHP Petroleum has added to this momentum and will make an ongoing impact on Darwin City History.