Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Note: the high definition versions of some images are not available online, but may be Ordered
|Title:||Leave in Darwin - 15 February 1942|
|My Story:||Sunday morning February 15 was expected to be a normal one. Life was so predictable. However we had a surprise. The unit had been granted a 12 hour leave from midday. Transport was provided to convey them to Darwin - the first time for most of the boys. Sunday was a normal day in Darwin with shops, hotels (you name it) open to customers. The hotels were very popular as beer had been rationed at the camp. The Vic, Don and New Darwin Hotels catered for the many nationalities which graced their doors. Customers were reminded of the hotel saloons in western films it certainly had that atmosphere. Any thought of a Japanese attack (rumours were thick) were forgotten in the euphoria of enjoying their leave. Dark skinned provost teams were kept busy evacuating trouble makers. They would enter the hotel swinging their rubber batons, and "casualties" were thrown into wagons for transport to holding quarters. Some of the inmates were innocents caught up in the melee. There were some sore heads among those returning to camp that night. Betting shops flourished in Darwin, and to those who know, entrance to the illegal casinos were through these doors. Bob, "Ros" and Tom visited one of these casinos. "Ros" became interested while Bob and Tom looked on. Most of the players were Chinese - or of Asian origin. We noticed a doorkeeper locking the middle door. They couldn't get "Ros" to leave, Bob and Tom escaped through the back door onto a small alley. About an hour later Bob and Tom revisited the casino - through the alley. There they found "Ros" nursing a sore head and penniless. He was still on a winning streak when he was knocked on the head and robbed. Such is Chinatown. The icy cold drinks (slush) with ground ice, were popular, and stomach aches were prevalent the next day. Other popular visiting spots were Government House, Botanical Gardens and the new Darwin hotel. The country and western lifestyle was adopted by most people. Leave finished quickly and it had been most enjoyable. Little did we know that most of what we had seen would be demolished the following Thursday. (Chinatown was flattened, then burnt down; the Post Office became non existent from a direct hit). On our leave the wharf area was very busy. Rumours were circulating that the Japanese were on reconnaissance between Timor and Darwin, and Darwin was the base for maintaining supplies and communications. Some of us were fortunate to visit an American submarine in the Harbour. There were many nationalities in Darwin that day. We didn't meet any Japanese although we believe the members of the Pearling Fleet were mingling with the crowds. However it was the last time they would be in Darwin, which was under Military Control less than a week later.|
|Appears in Collections:||Territory Times Gone By|
Files in This Item:
There are no files associated with this item.
Items in Territory Stories are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.