I have always thought to really appreciate a location you must understand the events of it’s past to see how it’s formed it’s modern day character. Darwin is a town which has no shortage of epic, historic events. Darwin has been re-born time and time again. It’s a place of immense history and as time shows, resilience. The museums there are a great source of history and information for the tales of Darwin long ago. Just think, Cyclone Tracey, 64 bombings during WW2…. it’s all part of Darwin’s story.
My knowledge of Darwin’s past and indeed the depth of our nations history as it would seem was kinda sketchy but as always travelling seems to be the best educator there is. Museums are a bit geeky but none the less, a good source for discovery and the best way of getting to know a place. Darwin has 2 great museums worth a meander. The Museum and National Art Gallery of The Northern Territory is located by the most spectacular bay at Bullocks Point in the suburb of Fannie Bay. It is a dream. We were happy wondering and eating ice creams on the front lawns over looking the bay before we even stepped foot into the museum. There is a lovely cafe taking advantage of the exceptional views as well which I would definitely be a regular at if I were a local.
What I love about this museum is it’s FREE!!! The way education should be! What’s better than visiting something educational and actually interesting for free with the family?
There is oodles to see, read and explore here. There’s the comprehensive history of the Aboriginals, a gallery of their art work, many a stuffed animal which of course entertained Little Vick, the body of monster Crocodile “Sweetheart“ (all 5.5 meters of him and 800 kg’s!), and a whole division dedicated to Cyclone Tracey – the devastating cyclone which flattened Darwin on Christmas day in 1974. This is quite an experience. To top it off there is a nice little kids room for the littlies to run loose in. Something Little Vick was not opposed to.
To really understand how close Darwin was to invasion during WW2 & the defence action taken it’s best to visit the Darwin Military Museum for a comprehensive learning experience. Parts of it are all shiny and newish still which means you learn through the most modern of interactive experiences. It’s so engaging. I loved the loud, all flashing lights experience in the movie cinema which re-enacted the reality of the raids and the devastation of the bomb attacks from the Japanese.
The action of the movie cinema
Listening and learning
The hard cold facts
Seriously, did you know that Darwin was bombed 64 times and so many killed? I had not an inkling. Australia was in deep. Fear must have been overwhelming. Of course, to really understand I love the personal stories and the museum serves up plenty of those for impact. I was particularly drawn to the woman and children’s stories. They had to flee, many by boat to an undisclosed location (for their safety) in drastic conditions for the hope of survival. Many didn’t see their husbands for nearly two years and then of course there was the few woman who stayed behind. I find the stories fascinating. I admire them. I admire the resilience and sacrifices mostly. The human condition to survive is a fascinating thing.
These two museums gave me a good dose of patriotism and made me really admire Darwin. I love a place that can stand back up and re-invent itself time and time again and that is exactly what Darwin has done. It’s a survivor and it’s that hardiness that I do adore about the place. It’s the epitome of the Australian battler spirit.