'And the Sphinx smiled' Aubrey and Hilda Abbott, Darwin, 1937-46.A simple key, with a fancy handle bearing the engraved en·grave
tr.v. en·graved, en·grav·ing, en·graves
1. To carve, cut, or etch into a material: engraved the champion's name on the trophy.
2. name, date and details of the event, links the opening of a popular wartime hotel in Darwin with a marriage proposal on the Nile two decades earlier--the beginning of a strong partnership which culminated in some controversy when the Top End was believed to be under threat of invasion. This commemorative key was used by Mrs Hilda Abbott in 1940 to officially open the Hotel Darwin, a venue of considerable significance in Darwin. Springing from adversity, the hotel pinned its hopes on the military build-up in the north while, in the face of attack by enemy and cyclone, it showed the defiance and resurgent re·sur·gent
1. Experiencing or tending to bring about renewal or revival.
2. Sweeping or surging back again.
Adj. 1. spirit of the Territorian. Hilda Abbott's husband was Administrator of the Northern Territory The Northern Territory received self-government in 1979 under its own Administrator of the Northern Territory appointed by the Governor-General of Australia. The Commonwealth government, not the Government of the Northern Territory, advises the governor-general on appointment of throughout World War 2, and both had interesting military backgrounds from World War 1--he in German New Guinea German New Guinea (Ger. Deutsch-Neuguinea) was a former German protectorate from 1884 to 1914, consisting of the northeastern part of New Guinea and several nearby island groups. German New Guinea is now entirely part of Papua New Guinea. , the Dardanelles and the Sinai, and she as an officer of the Red Cross accompanying the AIF AIF Annual Information Form
AIF Apoptosis-Inducing Factor
AIF Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie (French: Intergovernmental Agency for Francophony)
AIF Australian Imperial Force .
Hilda Gertrude Harnett (2) was born at Eucumbene Station on 9 September 1890, the daughter of John Harnett, a grazier gra·zier
A person who grazes cattle.
[Middle English grasier, from grasen, to graze; see graze1. of Monaro, NSW NSW New South Wales
Noun 1. NSW - the agency that provides units to conduct unconventional and counter-guerilla warfare
Naval Special Warfare . Educated at Loreto Convent Loreto Convent is an all-girls secondary school located in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland. It is one of nineteen Loreto Secondary Schools in Ireland. History
The school was founded in 1854 by the then Bishop of Raphoe, Dr. McGettigan. at Kirribilli, she was the first Australian woman to serve overseas with the Australian Red Cross Society in World War 1. Whilst working in the Cairo office, she met an officer of the Australian Light Horse
The Australian Light Horse were mounted troops who served during the Second Boer War and World War I that combined characteristics of both cavalry and mounted infantry. , a veteran of service both on New Ireland New Ireland, volcanic island (1990 pop. 64,615), c.3,340 sq mi (8,650 sq km), SW Pacific, in the Bismarck Archipelago, part of Papua New Guinea. New Ireland is largely mountainous, rising to c.4,000 ft (1,220 m). and Gallipoli, Captain Aubrey Abbott For other persons named Charles Abbott, see Charles Abbott (disambiguation).
Charles Lydiard Aubrey Abbott (4 May 1886 – 30 April 1975) was an Australian politician and administrator of the Northern Territory. . After meeting regularly, one day Abbott bought a hamper, hired a barge on the Nile and took Hilda for a picnic. In front of the Sphinx sphinx (sfĭngks), mythical beast of ancient Egypt, frequently symbolizing the pharaoh as an incarnation of the sun god Ra. The sphinx was represented in sculpture usually in a recumbent position with the head of a man and the body of a lion, , one of the pivotal icons in the memory of AIF veterans, Aubrey Abbott proposed to Hilda: 'And the Sphinx smiled', he liked to recount.
They married in Westminster Cathedral Westminster Cathedral in London, England, is the mother church of the Roman Catholic community in England and Wales and the Metropolitan Church and Cathedral of the Archbishop of Westminster.
The cathedral is located in Victoria, SW1, in the City of Westminster. in London on 24 October 1916, and had two daughters (Hilda Marion and Dorothy Lydiard). Hilda Abbott was an attractive, energetic and confident lady who had travelled widely. By the 1930s, she was noted as a furniture designer and author of articles and books (many under the pseudonym pseudonym (s`dənĭm) [Gr.,=false name], name assumed, particularly by writers, to conceal identity. A writer's pseudonym is also referred to as a nom de plume (pen name). Haliden Hartt). In 1937, Women's Weekly described her as "charmingly self-possessed".
Charles Lydiard Aubrey Abbott (3) was born in North Sydney North Sydney, town (1991 pop. 7,260), NE Cape Breton Island, N.S., Canada, on the north shore of Sydney Harbour. It was the coal-shipping port for the nearby Sydney Mines and a winter base for the Cape Breton fisheries. There is ferry service to Newfoundland. on 4 May 1886, the son of Thomas Kingsmill Abbott Thomas Kingsmill Abbott (1829-1913) was an Irish scholar and educator. He was born at Dublin and was educated at Trinity College, where he afterward occupied the chair of moral philosophy (1867-72), of biblical Greek (1875-88), and of Hebrew (1879-1900). , the Chief Stipendiary Magistrate Noun 1. stipendiary magistrate - (United Kingdom) a paid magistrate (appointed by the Home Secretary) dealing with police cases
Britain, Great Britain, U.K. of Sydney, and Marion ('May'), nee Lydiard. Educated at The King's School at Parramatta Parramatta (pâr'əmăt`ə), city (1996 pop. 139,157), New South Wales, SE Australia, a suburb of Sydney, on the Parramatta River. It is the regional center for the western suburbs of Sydney. , in the years leading up to World War 1 Aubrey Abbott spent his time in Queensland--he ran away from school in 1895 to be a jackeroo near Gunnedah, he was a stockman at Mitchell and Roma, and was a cane-cutter at Pleystowe Mill in Mackay. Finally, he was a Mounted Constable in the NSW Police Force, and was then a Confidential Clerk at Police Headquarters in Brisbane when he enlisted in 1914.
An early enlistee, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force An armed force organized to accomplish a specific objective in a foreign country.
expeditionary force n → cuerpo expedicionario
expeditionary force n → corps m (1ANMEF ANMEF Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force ) with the rank of Private. Raised independently of the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force (as it was known in 1914), the ANMEF departed Australia on 19 August, tasked with seizing the German Pacific Territories--New Ireland, New Britain New Britain, city, United States
New Britain, industrial city (1990 pop. 75,491), Hartford co., central Conn.; settled c.1686, inc. 1871. The tin shops and brassworks in the city were established in the 18th cent. , Kaiserwilhelmland, Nauru and the Admiralty Islands Admiralty Islands, group of 40 volcanic islands, c.800 sq mi (2,070 sq km), SW Pacific, in the Bismarck Archipelago and part of Papua New Guinea. Lorengau, the chief port and administrative center of the group, is on Manus, the largest island. . In particular, it was to seize the German wireless stations at Rabaul and Nauru. The force landed at Rabaul on 11 September 1914, and by 21 September the German Governor had surrendered and all fighting ceased.
From 23 March 1915, Abbott served with the 12th Light Horse Regiment The Light Horse Regiment (formerly the Imperial Light Horse Regiment (ILH)) is an armoured regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Territorial Army or United States Army National Guard unit. at Gallipoli, as a Corporal at first but subsequently commissioned in the field. Also serving on Gallipoli was his brother with his lather's name, Sergeant Thomas Kingsmill Abbott. He too had enlisted early, on 17 August 1914, being allocated the regimental number of 10. He landed at Gallipoli with A Company of the 2nd Battalion AIF, receiving a bullet wound to his leg on May 7th, and returned to Australia on 19 January the following year (4).
From Gallipoli, Lieutenant Aubrey Abbott went to the Sinai (where he was wounded-in-action), Palestine and Syria. On a feature wall in his Point Piper and Elizabeth Bay homes in his retirement years was displayed a sword taken from a Turkish General: "I am sorry Sir, but I have to ask you for your sword" Abbott recalled saying as a young Captain after participating in the famous charge against the Turkish stronghold of Beersheba. From 19 September 1918, Abbott served with the Desert Mounted Corps The Desert Mounted Corps was a World War I Allied army corps that operated in the Middle East (Sinai and Palestine) during 1917 and 1918. Originally formed as the Desert Column in February 1917 under the command of General Sir Philip W. under Lieutenant General Chauvel, which destroyed two Turkish Armies and then rode on through Kuneitra and Sasa to Damascus. In just a fortnight, the Australian light horsemen captured over 30,000 Turks, destroyed the Turkish forward elements and completely shattered all enemy reserves. At the time of the unveiling of the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial in Canberra on 19 April 1968 (5), Abbott's prime memory was of the 12th Light Horse out on the Esdraelon Plain just after the breakthrough of September 19th:
In clear sunshine, between us and the sea, a whole division of cavalry was advancing at a fast trot, with the divisional commander and his staff leading it, his red pennant of rank snapping in the breeze. As far as we could see there were endless lines of cavalry and the heavy thud of horses moving came across the plain to us on higher ground. It was cavalry in action--the apotheosis of the horse. Something never to be seen again. (6)
Abbott was demobilised in 1918 with the rank of Captain and established 'Echo Hills' near Tamworth, NSW (1919-37). Elected as a Member of the House of Representatives Member of the House of Representatives member n (US) → membre m de la Chambre des représentants in 1925, he was MP for Gwydir (Country Party) in 1925-29 and 1931-37. He was Minister for Home & Territories in 1928 and for Home Affairs 1928-29 in the Bruce-Page Government, a portfolio which included responsibility for the Northern Territory. He resigned from the House of Representatives on 28 March 1937 to accept the post of Administrator of the Northern Territory.
Abbott was appointed as the Territory's fourth Administrator under Commonwealth control on 29 March 1937 (7), and he additionally held the appointment of Commissioner of Police. He and Hilda arrived in Darwin on 19 April 1937. She was recorded as saying, "They call Darwin 'the front door of Australia' these days, and I shall walk in and make myself at home" (8). The Abbotts were formally welcomed with a ceremonial parade outside Government House by the Darwin Garrison.
The first soldiers forming a permanent Top End garrison (5 officers and 42 men of the Royal Australian Artillery and Royal Australian Engineers) had come to Darwin in September 1932. Under the command of Lt Col Lt Col or LtCol
lieutenant colonel T.R. Williams, they left Port Phillip
Port Phillip, also commonly called Port Phillip Bay or (locally) just the Bay, is a large bay in southern Victoria, Australia. and Port Jackson Port Jackson or Sydney Harbour, inlet of the Pacific Ocean, 22 sq mi (57 sq km), 12 mi (19 km) long and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) wide at its mouth, New South Wales, Australia, forming Australia's finest harbor. The Parramatta River forms its western arm. in HMAS Albatross One ship and one shore base of the Royal Australian Navy have borne the name Albatross:
strong - having strength or power greater than average or expected; "a strong radio signal"; "strong medicine"; "a strong man" Point, and were responsible for building fortifications This is a list of fortifications past and present, a fortification being a major physical defensive structure often composed of a more or less wall-connected series of forts. , coastal gun positions and quarters on the headland behind Emery and Elliott Points. They were supplemented by another group (3 officers and 29 other ranks) which came to Darwin on 20 September 1933 on the steamer SS Marella, as part of the Lyons Government's imperial strategy to contain the Japanese. The gunners were formed into the 9th Heavy Battery, RAA RAA Residential Accredited Appraiser (National Association of Realtors)
RAA Reinsurance Association of America
RAA Reeve Aleutian Airways
RAA Regional Airline Association
RAA Royal Australian Artillery (commanded by Maj C.A. Clowes DSO See CSO. MC), and the engineer detachment (under Lt R.R McNicoll) was designated the 7th Fortress Company in 1936. Together, they formed the 'Darwin Garrison'.
From 13 April 1936 to 12 March 1939, the Darwin Garrison was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Wilford William Whittle (1892-1964). His Garrison manned two 6-inch Mark VII guns at East Point and two guns at Emery Point, and an anti-aircraft battery at Elliott Point overlooking the approaches to Port Darwin. Three ammunition magazines were built, partially below ground, at the tip of Emery Point near the lighthouse. Some of the buildings in the new Larrakeyah Barracks bar·rack 1
tr.v. bar·racked, bar·rack·ing, bar·racks
To house (soldiers, for example) in quarters.
1. A building or group of buildings used to house military personnel. were brought from Thursday Island after the garrison there was closed down (one of these was still in use in the 1960s as the headquarters of the Command and Staff Training Unit). Most of the new buildings owed their design to B C G Burnett (1889-1955), Principal Architect to Works Branch, Department of the Interior from his arrival in the Northern Territory in 1937 until his resignation in 1946. The Other Ranks Mess, built in 1939, was steel-framed with louvre Louvre (l`vrə), foremost French museum of art, located in Paris. The building was a royal fortress and palace built by Philip II in the late 12th cent. panels. The Sergeants Mess built in 1940 (and still in use today) was a two-storey Burnett design of steel frame and concrete. The NT Force headquarters building was one-storey, of reinforced concrete, with a tower which housed the air-raid siren (used for Headquarters 7th Military District post-war, until 1981 when it was occupied by the North West Mobile Force; the siren is still present, used today as a cyclone siren). Within Larrakeyah Barracks, a crescent recalls Lieutenant Colonel Whittle's service in Darwin.
At his welcome to the Top End in early 1937, Abbott inspected the troops, accompanied by Whittle and Major 'Bush' Forrest. The Garrison troops wore khaki shorts and puttees, khaki tunics with gilt buttons and collar badges, and khaki pith pith, in botany, core of the stem of most plants. Pith is composed of large, loosely packed food-storage cells. As the stem grows older the pith usually dries out, and in some it disintegrates and the stem becomes hollow. helmets. Abbott himself was resplendent re·splen·dent
Splendid or dazzling in appearance; brilliant.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin resplend in white from head to toe--shoes, trousers, jacket and a white pith helmet. He still wore this same rig eight years later when he and Hilda welcomed Australian 8th Division POWs returning to Australia via Darwin.
There is no doubt the Abbotts came to Darwin with an air of self-assumed grandeur about them. He made the public servants of his Administration dress in a uniform of white shorts and stockings, white shirt and tie--no coat, in deference to the extreme tropical climate, hut senior officials always had one on hand in case they were required to report to the Administrator. He immediately gained notoriety, and a degree of alienation from the unions, by using his public servants to break a wharf labourers' strike. But he also showed an impressive optimism for the Top End--he cleared the Murranji stock route to encourage graziers and had the Manager of 'Hobo Downs' rename the station as 'Utopia' to make it seem less melancholic mel·an·chol·ic
1. Affected with or being subject to melancholy.
2. Of or relating to melancholia. . He pressed for the formation of a Legislative Council, but did not see its introduction (in 1947, although the Federal Government retained the power of veto Power of Veto may refer to one of the following:
Hilda Abbott busied herself with supporting engagements and official duties, and was responsible for a significant refurbishing of Government House, particularly in the aftermath of the 1937 cyclone and at the end of World War 2. She revived the Darwin Branch of the Red Cross Society, and in 1946 'Hilda Abbott Cottage' was named in recognition of her tireless commitment. She too attracted criticism by her insistence that lady guests to the House be 'properly' attired, including stockings and gloves--seen by the locals as totally inappropriate in the oppressive heat and humidity of Darwin (where the only cooling was provided by punkahs on the verandahs operated by staff).
Nevertheless, Lieutenant Owen Griffiths RAN of HMAS Platypus noted that from Government House a "decorous dec·o·rous
Characterized by or exhibiting decorum; proper: decorous behavior.
[From Latin dec and gentile atmosphere" permeated the community (10). Wine was served with meals--previously unheard of in a town where nothing but beer was drunk, and generally in great quantity. Mrs Abbott in particular saw it as her duty to develop Government House into an oasis of refinement and civilisation in the (colonial) desert, a feature of similar establishments throughout the Commonwealth and the British Empire (11).
The Abbotts were at Government House on the morning of 19 February 1942, and Aubrey Abbott suffered a perforated ear-drum when his bomb-shelter received an almost direct hit during the first Japanese raid on Darwin. As everyone then feared a Japanese invasion, he sent his wife and staff to Alice Springs for their safety; he remained in Darwin supervising the emergency response until 2 March. He then relocated to Alice Springs from where he managed the Administration until after the war. Disaffected members of the local population seized the opportunity of the Royal Commission, and the ability to present evidence in secret without cross-examination, to lay unfounded allegations against the Abbotts. They were accused of 'abandoning' Darwin, ignoring the cries of a maid 'trapped' in the rubble, and burning holes in the National Flag to simulate Japanese bullet holes--all of which have proven to be baseless and purely vexatious.
He managed the administration of the Territory from Alice Springs throughout the war and, at the end of his term, the Abbotts left Darwin by aircraft on 26 May 1946. The Government Secretary, Mr Leslie Giles acted as Administrator from 27 May until the formal expiration of Abbott's term on 30 June. After the war, the Abbotts settled on 'Murrulla' at Wingen, NSW. He died at Darling Point on 30 April 1975, and received a State funeral at St Mark's Anglican Church, Darling Point. Hilda Abbott continued her travelling and writing, and died in Bowral, NSW on 26 May 1984.
Honours and memorials
Aubrey Abbott was awarded the 1914-15 Star; the British War Medal The British War Medal was a campaign medal of the British Empire, for service in World War I.
The medal was approved in 1919, for issue to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who had rendered service between 5 August1914 and 11 November1918. 1914-20 and the Victory Medal. Various sources have suggested that he was mentioned-in-despatches, but there is no record of this. Photographs of his service ribbons provided by the family do not show the bronze oak leaves device. Neither can he be seen wearing it on the stylish white tunic tu·nic
A coat or layer enveloping an organ or a part; tunica.
a covering or coat. See also tunica.
see tunica flava abdominis. of the uniform he designed for himself as Administrator, very much in the colonial viceroy style complete with bullion cord epaulettes and bullion on velvet gorget gor·get
A surgical director or guide with a wide groove for use in lithotomy. patches worn on the stand-up stand·up or stand-up
1. Standing erect; upright: a standup collar.
2. Taken, done, or used while standing: a standup supper; a standup bar. collars. Abbott was self-confident and a little flamboyant, and it is not conceivable that he would not have worn the oak leaves device had he indeed been mentioned-in-despatches. In 1935 he was awarded the King George V Jubilee Medal, and he received the King George VI Coronation Medal The King George VI Coronation Medal was a commemorative medal made to celebrate the coronation of King George VI. For Coronation and Jubilee medals, the practice up until 1977 was that United Kingdom authorities decided on a total number to be produced, then allocated a proportion in 1937.
A strong advocate for development of the Northern Territory, Aubrey Abbott is recalled today in Darwin by Abbott Crescent. Within the Administrator's Office, his name is recorded on a large timber Honour Board in the reception foyer, while his photo is included in a photographic gallery of all previous Administrators in the entrance to the Administrator's Office. A portrait of Abbott by Denes De Holesch (1910-1983), commissioned by Abbott in 1938, hangs on the Western Verandah of Government House, while a modern portrait hangs in the gallery of Parliament House. Also held by Government House is Abbott's 'Address Book', which was recovered from the rubble of his office in 1942 some months after the first bombing raids, a record of visitors from 1937 to 1946. The unique Administrator's uniform designed by Abbott is held by the NT Museum, and the National Flag riddled by Japanese bullets on 19 February 1942 is held by the Australian War Memorial The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of all its armed forces and supporting organizations who have died or participated in the wars of the Commonwealth of Australia. The memorial includes an extensive national military museum. .
Holesch was also commissioned to produce a portrait of Hilda Abbott, and in 1986 the two paintings returned to Government House, Darwin Government House in Darwin is the home and official residence of the Administrator of the Northern Territory, Australia.
Government House is the oldest European building in the Northern Territory. , presented by the Abbotts' daughter Marion. At her request, the Administrator then donated the portrait of Hilda Abbott to the NT Division of the Red Cross Society--recognising both her service overseas with the Red Cross Society during First World War, and as President of this Division from 1937 to 1946.
In his record of life in Darwin, Lieutenant Owen Griffiths RAN recorded that "Government House and the new Hotel Darwin were the centres of social life" (12). The well-known Hotel Darwin which stood on the corner of the Esplanade and Herbert Street was a fine example of the pre-war style of tropical architecture. The complex had its earliest origins in the Commercial Hotel built in 1870 on the corner of Mitchell and Herbert Streets, which in 1883 was enlarged and renamed The Palmerston Club Hotel. Construction of the Hotel Darwin, on the corner of Herbert Street and the Esplanade, was commenced in 1938. The building was designed by B C G Burnett, who had designed the buildings of Larrakeyah Barracks. The designs of these and other Top End buildings reflect Burnett's earlier experiences in Southeast Asia, with buildings well suited for the tropics tropics, also called tropical zone or torrid zone, all the land and water of the earth situated between the Tropic of Cancer at lat. 23 1-2°N and the Tropic of Capricorn at lat. 23 1-2°S. and well oriented to maximise the effects of the breezes sweeping in from the harbour.
When finished, the Hotel Darwin was a two-storey building of rendered brick and concrete, with distinctive blue Marseilles roof tiles. It boasted the most modern of features and services, well beyond anything ever before seen in Darwin. The colour scheme throughout was turquoise and green, and the main lounge had a dance-floor of jarrah jar·rah
An Australian tree (Eucalyptus marginata) widely grown for its hard red-brown wood.
[Nyungar (Aboriginal language of southwest Australia) jarily. and tallow tallow, solid fat extracted from the tissues and fatty deposits of animals, especially from suet (the fat of cattle and sheep). Pure tallow is white, odorless and tasteless; it consists chiefly of triglycerides of stearic, palmitic, and oleic acids. . The Chairman of Directors noted the significance of Darwin as the venue for this grand new venture:
Darwin may be looked upon as the front door to Australia, and with the advent of the Air Services and rapid militarization of the town, the importance of Darwin demanded modern accommodation. (13)
The enormity of the defence build-up and its impact on the local infrastructure cannot be understated. In the earliest days of the Darwin Garrison, the non-Aboriginal population of Darwin totalled just 1,572. It had risen to 3,653 by June 1939, excluding military personnel, although much of this increase was attributable to civilian contractors engaged for the military building programme. By December 1942, there were 32,000 Australian troops and 5,000 US soldiers in the Northern Territory.
With war underway in Europe, the Hotel Darwin was officially opened on 9 July 1940 by the wife of the Administrator, Mrs Hilda Abbott, who turned the lock with a suitably inscribed in·scribe
tr.v. in·scribed, in·scrib·ing, in·scribes
a. To write, print, carve, or engrave (words or letters) on or in a surface.
b. To mark or engrave (a surface) with words or letters. commemorative key--a standard key with a fancy brass plate brazed on at the head. One sarcastic wit (who noted that his invitation to the opening ceremony had obviously 'gone astray in the post') wrote to the local paper:
I understand a golden key was used. Of course, a golden key will open any door in this world, but how eminently fitting to use one as a symbol when opening an hotel where board runs from six guineas. (14)
After the fall of France, the 2"0 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery (armed with outdated 3-inch 20 cwt anti-aircraft guns) was sent to Darwin as an immediate reinforcement of the garrison. Leaving Brisbane on the SS Zealandia and SS Orungal on 1 July 1940, it arrived at Port Darwin the day after the Hotel Darwin's ceremonial opening. Battery Headquarters was established at Larrakeyah Barracks, 3 Section was at Parap and 2 Section was at the Darwin Oval across the road from the Hotel Darwin. In 1941, the battery also established the Quarantine anti-aircraft site, to defend the South West section of Darwin Harbour. The guns were soon replaced with 3.7-inch anti-aircraft guns and, in December 1940, the Militia 14th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery came to Darwin, to free up the 2 HAA HAA Harvard Alumni Association
HAA Houston Apartment Association
HAA High Altitude Airship
HAA Haloacetic Acid
HAA HIV/AIDS Administration (District of Columbia)
HAA Heavy Anti-Aircraft
HAA Height Above Airport gunners for duty in the Middle East. Many letters were written by soldiers in Darwin who spoke of gun drills and unit sports held on that oval, with the impressive Hotel Darwin as a backdrop.
A plaque on the Darwin Oval site records that four guns of 14 HAA were the first to engage the incoming Japanese aircraft on 19 February 1942, and that other guns then engaged the aircraft continuously during this and subsequent attacks. Despite the attention these guns might have attracted, the Hotel Darwin was untouched by Japanese bombs. It was looters however, that did the damage.
After the raids, there was a breakdown of military control which led to an outbreak of ransacking ran·sack
tr.v. ran·sacked, ran·sack·ing, ran·sacks
1. To search or examine thoroughly.
2. To search carefully for plunder; pillage. and systematic theft from vacated shops and houses. One author spoke of, "a period of chaos leading to an attempted dictatorship by the military policemen whose only authority was a uniform and an armband arm·band
A band worn around the upper arm, often as identification or as a symbol of mourning or protest.
Noun 1. armband - worn around arm as identification or to indicate mourning " (15). Furniture and furnishings, beds and linen, stock and hotel equipment were all pilfered. Some tried to justify the 'acquisition' of goods and foodstuffs foodstuffs npl → comestibles mpl
foodstuffs npl → denrées fpl alimentaires
foodstuffs food npl → which might otherwise have spoiled, or the collection of goods which would only have fallen to the Japanese. In the majority of cases however, as noted by Abbott, it was simple theft of goods, to be sold for personal gain (16). Abbott testified to the Royal Commission that the hotels were closed and a guard had been placed on them by the Provost Officer, but the hotels themselves were the first to be looted. He soon became aware that members of the Provost Corps were themselves involved in the looting--several were later arrested and prosecuted. Abbott later wrote: "If there was a weak link it was the Provost Corps, both in numbers and calibre" (17). Commander Laurance Tozer RAN, Commanding Officer HMAS Melville (Naval Headquarters) was responsible for establishing a patrol programme around the town area and the docks--concerned as much about a Japanese landing as he was of sabotage and looting within the largely deserted town. He gave his Petty Officers a very clear mission for the night of 19/20 February: "The Navy will patrol the town tonight to prevent any looting or sabotage" (18). Abbott later reported on some success achieved by Tozer:
An instance of the prevalence of looting is that when the Royal Commission appointed to investigate the air raid was taking evidence in Darwin from 5 to 10 March, soldiers, at that very time, were taking refrigerators, wireless sets, sewing machines and clothing in Army lorries to the wharf and selling them to sailors on the motor vessel Yochow for cigarettes and tobacco. Captain L E Tozer, RAN, saw what was going on, and the police at Brisbane, which was the vessel's destination, were informed. When the ship arrived she was boarded by the police, who were able to prevent most of the stolen property from being thrown into the Brisbane River by the crew when they found the ship was to be searched. Twenty members of the crew were convicted. (19)
Laurance Tozer was one of a select few decorated for his performance in Darwin at the time of the raids: "For courage and devotion to duty whilst serving in HMAS Melville during an air raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942" (20). He was Mentioned in Despatches as much for bravery as for his powers of leadership, particularly in connection with implementing the emergency organisation of the port and preventing the total destruction by fire of the Adelaide Steamship steamship, watercraft propelled by a steam engine or a steam turbine. Early Steam-powered Ships
Marquis Claude de Jouffroy d'Abbans is generally credited with the first experimentally successful application of steam power to navigation; in 1783 his Company freighter SS Barossa. Naval Headquarters (Base Organisation Darwin) had originally been established in Darwin in 1935, at 56 Mitchell Street, about 1 kilometre from the wharves Structures erected on the margin of Navigable Waters where vessels can stop to load and unload cargo.
Cities located on lakes, rivers, and oceans usually have at least one wharf, where ships can deliver and pick up passengers and load and unload various types of goods. , and was commissioned as HMAS Melville on i August 1940. The Navy had a significant association with the Hotel Darwin--it was responsible for carrying out repairs, and then for some time the hotel was used as the Naval Headquarters radio facility and quarters.
After the war, the southeast wing facing Herbert Street was the only portion of the original building still standing. An accommodation wing was built on the Herbert Street side in 1946, and the 'Hot & Cold Bar' was built on the site of the old Palmerston Club Hotel on the corner of Mitchell and Herbert Streets. This hotel dated back to 1883, an expanded version of the original Commercial Hotel established on that site in 1870 during the earliest days of the township of Palmerston as it was then known. From 1921, the Palmerston Club and Terminus Hotels (which had both been operating at a loss under government control since 1915) had been managed by J.J Parer parer
see hoof knife. , the descendant of an old Spanish settler. He was a Darwin entrepreneur recorded as being particularly militant in his support of First World War, and had founded the Overseas Club in February 1917 while his son Leslie was serving with distinction in France. Leslie James Parer had actually been the first from the Northern Territory to enlist with the AIF, travelling interstate to join the 2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade as a Gunner on 17 August 1914. He returned to Australia on 13 November 1918, a recipient of the Military Medal for bravery in the field (21), and Parer Drive in Casuarina casuarina
Any of the chiefly Australian trees that make up the genus Casuarina (family Casuarinaceae), which have whorls of scalelike leaves and segmented stems resembling horsetails. Several species, especially C. recalls his father's various contributions to Darwin. Parer's Palmerston Club Hotel had burnt to the ground a month after the first Japanese raid in 1942, and the site lay vacant until the 'Hot & Cold Bar' was built in 1946.
In 1947, shops were built between the Hotel and the Hot & Cold Bar. In 1968, the Esplanade accommodation wing was added, and a modern northwest wing was built in 1972, retaining the original open concept. The hotel was extensively damaged by Cyclone Tracy in 1974: the roof was completely blown away and the interior ruined. The shops facing Herbert Street were destroyed and were not rebuilt (this site later became a car park). There was extensive restoration of the whole structure to its original character in 1975, and the hotel again opened its doors for business in June 1976.
In many ways, the Hotel Darwin epitomised the Territory and people like Aubrey and Hilda Abbott. It was defiant, emerging with the hope of resurgence following the adversity of the depression--at the start of what proved to be an economic boom period when the defence presence in Darwin was increasing dramatically. It again showed its defiance by standing unscathed following the Japanese raids, and its bar was well patronised Adj. 1. patronised - having patronage or clients; "street full of flourishing well-patronized shops"
patronized by soldiers throughout the war, based in the Top End or on their way overseas. It entered the local folklore as the soldier's 'last stop' before deployment. And then once again, like so many Territorians did, it shrugged off the debris of Cyclone Tracy and re-emerged as one of the focal points of the modem rebuilt Darwin, its pre-war charm and military heritage earning it an undying respect from the local population.
A significant Darwin focal point, not least because of its naval and military connection, the Hotel Darwin has been the venue for many reunion gatherings, especially during the War Service Memorial Year of 1992. Its tropical atmosphere, open spaces and fans, wicker and palms, effectively captured the spirit of 'old' Darwin. Although a civil facility, its links with the military and its prime position opposite Darwin Oval (later established as Bicentennial Park, with the cenotaph cenotaph
(Greek: “empty tomb”) Monument, sometimes in the form of a tomb, to a person buried elsewhere. Ancient Greek writings tell of many cenotaphs, none of which survives. Existing cenotaphs of this type are found in churches (e.g. relocated) also saw it become the perfect 'staging point' following Anzac Day and other commemorative services before moving further into town to the RSL RSL - RAISE Specification Language .
Again, like many who came to the Territory, after surviving enemy action and cyclone it was politics which finally brought the Hotel Darwin's chapter to a close. Reports (said by some to be spurious) of concrete cancer in the structure and escalating values of inner-city land during the 1980s and 1990s put pressures on the site and, despite injunctions by the National Trust (NT), the Hotel Darwin was demolished by the Government after hours on Friday 10 September 1999, with much public outcry (22). Part of the Top End, and its military heritage in defence of Australia, was lost that night.
A reminder of the Hotel Darwin, which itself was a key aspect of Darwin 'BB' ('Before the Bombing') and a symbol of all things Territorian, Hilda Abbott's ornate key was presented by the author to the Northern Territory Museum in 2002.
(1) Paul Rosenzweig is a collector and non-professional military historian and biographer. He has contributed to Sabretache and other historical journals on a voluntary basis regularly over the last twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. , and was for several years a member of the Executive Committee of the Historical Society of the Northern Territory.
(2) Carment & James (1992); Women's Weekly, April 1937.
(3) Abbott (1950); Alexander (1950); Carment et al (1990); Mrs M Bednall, pets comm (various, 1991-92) and family papers; The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 1968, 2 May 1975.
(5) This was a replica of the original which stood on the bank of the Suez Canal near Port Said, unveiled on 23 November 1932 and damaged beyond repair by Egyptian nationalists on 26 December 1956 during the Suez conflict.
(6) The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 1968.
(7) Commonwealth of Australia Commonwealth of Australia: see Australia. Gazette, No.14 dated 1 April 1937; See Rosenzweig, P A (1993) 'Government House and the Services'. Sabretache, XXXIV: 13-22 (January/March 1993).
(8) Women's Weekly, April 1937.
(9) Cabinet approval-in-principal for the creation of 7th Military District as an independent command (comprising the whole of the Northern Territory) was granted on 13 March 1939, although it was not formally sanctioned until October 1939.
(10) Griffiths, O (nd) Darwin Drama. Bloxham & Chambers, Sydney, p.36.
(11) See Coulthard-Clark, C D (1988) Gables, Ghosts and Governors-General. Allen & Unwin, Sydney.
(12) Griffiths (nd) p.34.
(13) The Northern Standard, 9 July 1940: 'New Darwin Hotel Supplement'.
(14) The Northern Standard, 12 July 1940.
(15) Lockwood (1972) pp. 168-169.
(16) Lowe (1942) p. 11; Royal Commission evidence by the Honourable C L A Abbott, 25 March 1942 (AA ACT, Series A816/1, item 37/301/293).
(17) The Honourable C L A Abbott, letter to the Minister for the Interior dated 11 April 1942; In Lowe (1942) p.42.
(18) Bracht, W H (nd) 'Memoirs in Peace and War. Book 1. The battle for existence'. Australian War Memorial (AWM78, 400/2, 490290, MSS 1576), pp. 169-170.
(19) Abbott (1950) p.94.
(20) Third Supplement to The London Gazette, 1 September 1942, p.3818.
(21) London Gazette, 14 May 1919, page 6060; Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 15 September 1919, page 1367.
(22.) See http://www.ntu.edu.au/faculties/technology/schbe/hoteldarwin.html and also Stinson, K (2002) 'Historic sites and Developmentalism: A Study of the Country Liberal Party's Policy on the Development of Darwin'. Journal of Northern Territory History, 13: 15-23.
Abbott, C L A (1950) Australia's Frontier Province. Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Alexander, J, Ed (1950) Who's Who in Australia The Who's Who in Australia is an Australian biographical dictionary, first published Fred Johns in 1906 as Johns's Notable Australians, it has been published under its current name since 1923. , The Herald, Melbourne.
Bean, C E W (1934) The Official History of Australia The history of Australia began when people first migrated to the Australian continent from the north, at least 40,000-45,000 years ago. The written history of Australia began when Dutch explorers first sighted the country in the 17th century. in the War of 1914-1918. Volumes 1 & 2. Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Carment, D (1996) Looking at Darwin's past. Material evidence of European Settlement in tropical Australia. North Australian Research Unit, ANU Anu (ā`n), ancient sky god of Sumerian origin, worshiped in Babylonian religion. , Darwin.
Carment, D and B James, eds (1992) Northern Territory, Dictionary of Biography. Volume 2. NTU Press, Darwin, NT.
Carment, D, Maynard, R and A Powell, eds (1990) Northern Territory Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1: To 1945. NTU Press, Darwin.
Lockwood, D (1984) Australia's Pearl Harbour. Rigby.
Lowe, Justice C J (1942) 'Commission of Inquiry concerning the circumstances connected with the attack made by Japanese aircraft at Darwin on 19th February 1942', 27 March 1942. Commonwealth Parliamentary Paper, presented 5 October 1945.
Powell, A (1982) Far Country. Melbourne University Press.
Rosenzweig, P A (1996) Government House Darwin; The House of Seven Gables. Historical Society of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT.