WWII bomb crater found in Darwin

By AAP with AG Staff 21 October 2010
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A bomb crater has been uncovered in Darwin’s city centre by a roadworks crew.

A LARGE HOLE UNCOVERED by roadworks in Darwin’s city centre has been identified as a World War II bomb crater.

Northern Territory heritage Minister Karl Hampton says the exciting discovery on McMinn Street provides a clear link with the past.

“World War II is an important part of the Territory’s history and identity,” the Minister said on Wednesday. “Territorians are proud of our unique history, and we now have another attraction no other capital city can match – an authentic World War II bomb crater.”

He says workers had uncovered the hole while widening the road, prompting the NT government to commission a survey and excavation to find bomb fragments or any other material that would help identify the site. “Based on the historic and stratigraphic data on site, the results of this report indicates that the site is most likely a bomb crater.”

History of Australia: 1942 air raid

NT archaeologist Dr Silvano Jung conducted the excavations and prepared a report that says the crater was likely to date from the first Japanese air raid on the city, on 19 February 1942.

“Judging by the diameter of the crater, it was probably a 1,000-pound or a 500-kg bomb, dropped by a medium bomber either from Java or Ambon [in Indonesia],” Silviano told ABC news. “Often it’s the small things in history that are really important and given that this is the only [bomb crater], it makes it unique. It’s a unique hole in Darwin.”

The Minister says 188 planes were involved in the first wave of the Japanese attack, “and of all the hundreds of bombs dropped on Darwin that day, this is the only known remaining bomb crater in the city”.

The Department of Construction and Infrastructure will be working with the Heritage Branch to landscape the site and install interpretive signage. The site could also be in line for statutory protection.

The bombing of Darwin – Wikipedia