Darwin opens museum on bombing anniversary
Related Story: Bombing of Darwin: 70 years on
Governor-General Quentin Bryce has opened a new museum dedicated to the bombing of Darwin, remembering the suffering and sacrifice of those who witnessed the event.
On February 19, 1942, Japanese forces launched air raids on Darwin, staged in two waves, killing at least 243 people and injuring up to 400.
Ms Bryce and US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich joined Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson and dignitaries at the New Defence of Darwin Experience at Darwin's East Point.
The $10 million museum includes digital sound and light displays and newly-exhibited relics from Darwin's war years.
Ms Bryce says she is honoured to be part of a such a special occasion.
"I am thrilled and delighted to join the citizens of Darwin on this very important national occasion," she said.
"It is indeed an honour to be here with you.
"Seventy years ago the tranquillity of Darwin was rocked. The unthinkable was happening - our country was under enemy attack.
"Certainly the scale and human toll of the war in the territory did not fill a large part of the history books."
Ms Bryce says all Australians should take time out this weekend to pause and reflect on those who lost their families and homes.
"The 19th February, 1942 is integral to our ongoing story as a nation. We fought for our freedom with courage, grit and determination," she said.
"This anniversary helps us remember those we helped shape our future as a strong and self-reliant nation actively involved in world affairs."
Mr Bleich says the museum is a testament to those in the Northern Territory who have worked so hard to honour the past.
"We renew our commitment - Australians and Americans together - never to allow another invasion on our soil," he said.
The city of Darwin will continue with a program of events to commemorate the anniversary of the bombing.
The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are due to arrive this evening for a commemorative ball before attending the official commemoration at Darwin's Cenotaph tomorrow morning.
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