Monday, 18 January 2010
The name Darwin to me means one of two things, either Charles Darwin, the English naturalist who wrote The Origin of the Species, or Darwin in Northern Territory, Australia. I know little enough about either, but Darwin in Australia has been nothing but a place name until now, until this card came to me through Postcrossing, postmarked in Darwin itself and dated 25 November 2009.
That northern part of Australia was first populated by the Larrakia people (for thousands of years) and first mapped by Europeans in the 1660s when the first Dutch explorers arrived. The first British person to see the harbour was John Stokes who named it after Charles Darwin.
In spite of its age, all the buildings in Darwin are modern, the result of two major disasters. The first was in 1942 when the same Japanese fleet that bombed Pearl Harbour then bombed Darwin, the first of many raids. Then in 1974 on christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Cyclone Tracy devastated the town and destroyed nearly three-quarters of the buildings. An airlift was organised to evacuate 30,000 residents.
So you see in the postcard a city that has been almost entirely rebuilt twice, leaving it one of the most modern cities in Australia.