Dig deeper into Darwin’s war history by visiting some more of the many reminders around town of Darwin’s war history. Start with the amazing World War II Oil Storage Tunnels, under the city’s cliffs on Kitchener Drive. This rabbit warren of tunnels, carved by hand by more than 400 men, but ultimately never used, now houses an interesting collection of black and white photographs of Darwin during the war. It’s simple but haunting, as you walk through the huge dimly lit tunnels, the longest of which stretches for 170 metres.
Overlooking Darwin Harbour at Bicentennial Park on The Esplanade, the Cenotaph is Darwin’s memorial to members of the armed services, rescue services, and civilian personnel who died serving their country in times of conflict. Flanking the Cenotaph, memorial plaques include dedications to the many who were killed in the World War II air raids.
In Bicentennial Park, you’ll also find a memorial dedicated to the officers and crew of the USS Peary, sunk during the first Japanese air raid on Darwin and to American pilot Lieutenant Robert Buel, who died in a heroic attack on Japanese aircraft on a bombing raid over Darwin.
Head out of town a little, to the Darwin Aviation Museum, on the Stuart Highway at Winnellie, where you’ll find displays about World War II and the Vietnam War, as well as a section on women aviators. A B-52 bomber on loan from the United States is the centrepiece, but there’s also a B-25 Mitchell bomber, Mirage and Sabre jet-fighters, and the wreckage of a Japanese Zero fighter plane.
Nearby is Charles Darwin National Park, on Tiger Brennan Drive, where you will find World War II concrete bunkers, one of which has been converted into a visitor centre with interactive historical displays and war memorabilia including guns.