To me, an important part of holidaying is to delve into the history of places to really gain an insight into how and why towns and cities were established and the stories of the people who lived and died there. Adelaide River is a little over an hour from Darwin in the Northern Territory and the role this location played in Australia’s war time history can’t be understated.
During WWII the conflict was brought to Australian soil when the city of Darwin was bombed by the Japanese on the 19th of February 1942. On that day, 240 people including many civilians were killed.
Following that attack, military unit camps were established at Adelaide River,and tens of thousands of troops were stationed there.
Large store depots were established and a rail spur line and siding were constructed to allow delivery of supplies. Hospital trains also brought in patients. More than 150 units were based in and around Adelaide River during this time.
Today you can pay a visit to the Adelaide River War Cemetery and learn a lot more about the devastation caused during this conflict in Australia.
The Darwin area was the largest allied operational base in the south west pacific, having a naval base and airfields. When the first bombing of Darwin occurred the Darwin Post Office was targeted and these civilians are amongst 63 others who are buried and commemorated in the adjoining cemetery.
In the war cemetery there are 436 burials including 408 Australian soldiers, 26 Britons and 1 Canadian. There is also a memorial to the missing, acknowledging 293 service personnel and merchant mariners who lost their lives and have no known grave.