Northern Territory Government Newsroom

World War II heritage honoured with The Territory Remembers program

The Northern Territory Government today launched its The Territory Remembers program to commemorate the Territory's World War II heritage.

"The Territory Remembers program will run over the next two financial years and culminate with the 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin on 19 February 2017 to echo the first raid," Chief Minister Adam Giles said.

"Starting immediately, the years of war will be recalled, remembered, and revisited.

"The Northern Territory saw conflict on our land and in our sea, from January 1942 to November 1943. In 2017, it will be the 75th anniversary of our most difficult times.

"One of The Territory Remembers most important projects will be the creation of a statue of Matthias Ullungura, a hero of the first air raid on Australia.

"The Matthias statue commemorates a most important occasion – the capture of the first prisoner of war on Australian soil – Zero pilot Hajime Toyoshima," Mr Giles said

Toyoshima was in the air armada which bombed Darwin on 19 February 1942. His Zero was hit, lost oil pressure and he had to crash land on Melville Island to Darwin's north. There he was captured by local man Matthias Ullungura.

This air raid was the start of two years of air attacks, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people.

"The statue of Matthias Ullungura on the Tiwi Islands recognises his contribution, and the contribution of many other Indigenous Australians to the war effort during World War II," Mr Giles said.

"All Australians should know the story and recognise the contribution that First Australians made when Australia was at war.

"The Northern Territory Government is proud to provide $2.25 million in funding to lead the commemorations which will include community events, memorials, an education program, a history program, and a special emphasis on the 2017 commemoration."

The Territory Remembers program will be led by former Deputy Chief Minister Mike Reed and its Steering Committee members include:

The Territory Remembers program will include:

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Media Contact: Marnie Hobson 0409 527 909

Photograph of Matthias Ullungura