When Woolloongabba was Wattle Scented

Friday, February 17, 2012

Extract from Diary of the Darwin General Post Office, February 19th, 1942.

I did a spot of collection fishing through the National Archives of Australia and found the diary of the Darwin General Post Office for 1942. On the morning of the 19th of February' the post office and surrounding buildings took a direct hit and claimed the lives of nine civilians.The postmaster, his wife and young daughter were amongst the fatalities, the nine who perished that morning remain the only civilians ever killed by enemy forces on mainland Australia.

Air raid on Darwin Australia at 0958 hrs.
72 Enemy planes took part in first drastic raid & 15 planes in second raid. 1st raid approached from SE & first salvo of bombs destroyed jetty, Govt. Offices & P.M.G. premises. The loss of life being as follows . PMG (Harry) Bald his wife and his daughter...postal clerk Wellington....and Mrs J.Youmg who were on duty as telephonists at the time of the raid.
The formation of bombers operated at a considerable height & were escorted by Zero fighters. The postal premises suffered sever damage from direct hits & bomb blasts.
A check of the P.M.G. staff disclosed many injured including the...and many members of the postal staff.

The entry is difficult to decipher from there but seems that  what was able to be salvaged was secured and guarded. The second raid of 12.15pm is mentioned and the final three lines of the entry read:

...decided to move our men & salvaged valuables to the 10 mile position from where communication with A House (?) can continue.

Mitchell street frontage of the Darwin Post Office.

Front cover of the diary from the Darwin General Post Office, 1942.


National Archives of Australia Item # 9217501
Australian War Memorial Item #304994

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