The City Of Darwin and its History
History Of Darwin

The city of Darwin in Australia was named after Charles Darwin, the scientist and evolutionist who had sailed on several expeditions on the HMS Beagle.

Though Darwin was not on board in 1839, when Darwin harbour was first sighted, the captain of the Beagle decided to name the port after him.


It wasn't until 1869 that a small group of settlers arrived from South Australia, which back then administered the Northern Territory.

The settlement was called Palmerston, after the British Prime Minister.

In 1870 the first poles of the famed Overland Telegraph reached the city of Darwin and with it Australia was finally connected to the rest of the world...

The next boost to Palmerston's development occurred in the 1880s, when gold was discovered at Pine Creek, just over 200 km away.

The Northern Territory was transferred to the Commonwealth in 1911, and Darwin became the official name of the still small town.

Development was slow, the distances to anywhere else were just too big, transport and communication difficult and the weather unpredictable.

Enter WWII. In the 1940s 10,000 allied troops were moved to the city of Darwin on Australia's northern coastline. It didn't prevent the two major air raids by the Japanese on 19 February, 1942. 243 people died in the Darwin bombings. Darwin had to live through 63 more raids, the only Australian capital city to come under major attacks during WWII.

But the biggest disaster hit the city of Darwin on 25 December, 1974 in form of Cyclone Tracy. The cyclone and it's aftermath are well documented in Darwin's Museum & Art Gallery of the NT, a fascinating and chilling exhibition.

50 People died on Christmas 1974, and 70% of the city of Darwin were destroyed. 30,000 people had to be evacuated in the biggest airlift in Australia's history.

But during the 1970s Darwin was rebuilt, bigger and better. Some locals say it's due to that rebuild that the city of Darwin is so easy to navigate today. The planners were given a second chance to get it right...

The satellite city Palmerston was established in the 1980s, about 20 km south of Darwin. The last milestone (for now) in Darwin's history occurred on 17 September, 2003. The Adelaide-Darwin Railway was completed, and since February 2004 tourist's can experience a train journey crossing Australia from South to North on the famous Ghan.

Nearly a quarter of Darwin's resident's are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. Another big percentage of the population has immigrated from South and East Asia. 75 nationalities are represented in the city of Darwin all together.

Today Darwin in Australia is a lively and multicultural city, and a "Gateway to Asia". The connections to the rest of Australia and the world, by air, land or water, are excellent, and tourists are very well looked after!



You can read more about Darwin Tourism here.

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