Wednesday, August 10, 2016


A detailed   diary  kept  by  Mayor  J. F.  Burton  during  the  WWll  bombing of the Northern Territory  capital   by the   Japanese   has  been  found  by Little Darwin  in an interesting new  secondhand  shop in Ingham , North Queensland. It was  accompanied by  a  badly silverfished and  torn , illustrated  map  which forms  the  endpapers  in  Douglas Lockwood's  Australia's Pearl Harbour  but includes a  photo  of  the MV Neptuna , loaded with depth charges  and  other explosives, which blew  up   in  a massive, deafening  fireball , and  another  view of  the Darwin Post Office  where  staff  were killed .   

The badly silverfished cover note [above] to the diary , written in 1981, states  Burton was  one of the few who remained behind to attend to  air raid  and other  duties  , one of  the last public servants  to leave after the town had been  taken  over  by  the  military . 

Details  from the first attack on February 19, 1942  to June  16 are  covered in the above diary  extract; there is  even mention of  a  violent earth tremor . It seems these  documents  may have been part of   a  display , a large penned  in  note saying  the  diary assisted  the  commission handling  claims  for   war  damages. The  proprietor of the interesting  shop  said she had obtained the  items  from Cairns
Present  day  memorial  to  bombing  in  Darwin .
NOTE: Burton's diary is included in the appendices to  Lockwood's book The Front Door - Darwin,1869 -1969.