A mirage from the plane window.
Outback Australia from the sky giving off an illusion of an ocean of red dirt.
On the 19th February 1942, a military force attacked mainland Australia for the first time when Darwin was the target of two devastating air raids.
Shortly before 9am that day a strike force of 188 Japanese aircraft was launched from four aircraft carriers located midway between Timor and Darwin. The same force had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii ten weeks before - but it would drop more than twice the amount on Darwin.
Darwin was caught unprepared, when the first bombs fell at 9.58am destroying a section of the main wharf at Stokes Hill and killing 21 waterside workers.
In the next 20 mins the attacks sank or disabled 21 ships, destroying most of the waterfront facilities and wrecked of the town area. Two hours later, a second force of 54 bombers attacked and severely damaged Darwin RAAF base.
At least 292 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded during the two raids. Military and civilian administration were badly disrupted by the action. Fearing possible invasion some people left Darwin.
The Darwin region sustained at least 60 more air raids up until 12 November 1943, but none was more destructive than the first two.
Government House was bombed and repeatedly strafed during the first air raid. The Administrators office which was located at the front of the house, was destroyed.
The Australian flag flying in front of government house was damaged by machine gun fire. It is now displayed in the Australian War Memorial.
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