Probably the darkest days in Australia’s history were during the early months of 1942.
With our soldiers, sailors and airmen committed to the fight in Europe and North Africa supporting Britain in its fight against the Axis powers, the Japanese attacks in the Pacific in December 1941 precipitated a rapid advance through South-East Asia, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and New Guinea. It would be months before our troops could return home to defend our nation.
Australia was in danger of being invaded and it was attacked by air on many occasions. Most people know Darwin was bombed… but not many know it was bombed 64 times! Or that other towns in the north of the country were also attacked.
This image shows a soldier of our Regional Force Surveillance Units who use their bush skills to patrol our north. The map shows the limit of Japanese advance and the towns that were bombed and the number of times.
Thank goodness for the Militia - the predecessors of today's Army Reserve - who were able to hold off the Japs in the jungles of New Guinea... and thank goodness for the Royal Australian Air Force and United States Army Air Force and the US Army, Navy and Marines that joined the fight to push back the enemy.