A History of Darwin Australia

By Tim Lambert

19th Century Darwin

In 1839 a ship called The Beagle sailed to Darwin Harbour. The captain named the harbour after who had sailed with him on an earlier voyage. The city of Darwin in Australia was founded in 1869. However, at first, the settlement was named Palmerston after the British prime minister. It was renamed after Charles Darwin in 1911.

In 1871 gold was discovered near Darwin and as a result, the new settlement thrived. In 1872 Darwin was connected to other parts of Australia by the Overland Telegraph Line. Government House was built in 1883. Palmerston Town Hall was also built in 1883 (although it was devastated by a cyclone in 1974). Furthermore, Fannie Bay Gaol was built in 1883.

Down’s Mart Theatre was built in 1885. The first Chinese Temple was built in Darwin in 1887. Victoria Hotel opened in 1894. However, in 1897 Darwin was damaged by a cyclone.

Modern Darwin

Lyons Cottages were built in 1925 and Old Admiralty House was built in 1937. By 1939 Darwin was still only a small settlement with a population of about 2,000.

During the Second World War, the Japanese carried out air raids on Darwin. The first air raid on Darwin was on 19 February 1942. The air raids killed hundreds of people and devastated Darwin. However, after the Second World War Darwin grew rapidly. Darwin was officially made a city in 1959. Casuarina Square Shopping Centre opened in 1973. Indo-Pacific in Darwin opened to the public in 1974.

However, in 1974 Darwin was devastated by cyclone Tracy. It struck early on Christmas Day 1974 and it killed 66 people. The cyclone also destroyed many buildings in Darwin. Most of the city’s population was evacuated.

However, Darwin was rebuilt. Northern Territory Library opened in 1980 and The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory opened in 1981. Darwin Entertainment Centre opened in 1986. Marrara Stadium was built in 1991. Parliament House opened in Darwin in 1994. Also in 1994, Deckchair Cinema opened. Darwin Convention Centre opened in 2008. Crocosaurus Cove also opened in 2008. Meanwhile, in 2004 Darwin was linked to South Australia by train.

Today Darwin is a flourishing and fast-growing city. Today the population of Darwin is 142,000.