In Conversation on the Bombing of Darwin

Tuesday, 19 February, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Event Details

  • Date
    Tuesday, 19 February, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
  • Location
    Northern Territory Library
  • Cost
Smoke rising from harbour, 'Boat in flames'. From the M. R. Bradbrook Collection.

On 19 February 1942, Darwin came under attack for the first time by Japanese forces. Two air raids were launched that day, the start of the many attacks endured between 1942 -1943. While Darwin bore the brunt of those attacks, other parts of the Northern Territory were also a target. Arnhem Land, Batchelor, Adelaide River, Katherine, Millingimbi also suffered. 

77 years later, countless books have been written to recount the events and delve into a moment in history that had a significant impact on the shaping of our community. In the 2018 Chief Minister’s History Book Award, there were seven entries including a play and a children’s book that used stories and historical elements from the bombing of Darwin as the focus for their work. 

Join us for a conversation with historians Dr. Tom Lewis (OAM) and Dr. Wendy Beresford-Maning and playwright Sandra Thibodeaux. Together we will explore the history of Darwin’s bombing through the stories told and writing styles used to gain a better understanding of how an event so long ago remains relevant for historians, researchers, story tellers alike.  

A bit about the speakers:

Dr. Tom Lewis (OAM)
Tom has combined careers as an author and military historian, high school teacher, and military officer. He served as an intelligence analyst for nearly 20 years in the ADF, seeing service in Baghdad, Iraq, and in East Timor. He retired as a lieutenant-commander in 2013. His Masters degree in American Literature and Cold War Politics was connected with his military research, as was his Doctorate, awarded in 2004. 

Several of his books are connected with northern Australian military history, including Carrier Attack, Darwin’s Submarine I-124, and The Empire Strikes South, his most recent (2017) publication.

Dr. Wendy Beresford-Maning

Dr. Wendy Beresford-Maning is a writer and poet as well as a professional historian focusing on biography and cultural theory. Her research interests include CS Lewis, biography and church history with a particular emphasis on mission history in the Northern Territory and the Fujita connection with Darwin Memorial Uniting Church.

Sandra Thibodeaux
Sandra Thibodeaux is a playwright and poet. She has written over a dozen plays that have been staged as part of festivals across Indonesia and Australia, and broadcast on Radio National. Her latest plays include The Age of Bones, A Smoke Social, Mr Takahashi (and other falling secrets) and The Lion Tamer. Sandra has twice won the NT Literary Awards for her plays, and has been short-listed for both the Patrick White and Griffin playwriting awards. The Age of Bones was nominated for a prestigious Green Room Award (Melbourne) for Best Ensemble and is currently being adapted for the screen. 

Image credit: Smoke rising from harbour, 'Boat in flames'. M. R. Bradbrook Collection. PH0402/0031