Bowen, Qld

Winter 2014

Even with the tide out the harbour is pretty and there are islands in the distance. The town itself is very hilly and the streets wide, two or three times wider than any usual country street. Any spare walls in the town bear murals depicting local history. Being a Saturday afternoon the town is eerily quiet other than a few kids wandering about looking bored and a bunch of younger kids having an absolute ball at the foreshore water park. We come across a building that was the headquarters of the Catalina flying squadron during World War Two. When we were in Lake Boga last May we visited the Catalina maintenance base. There are several hotels in town, the most outstanding being the Grandview Hotel, what a corker. The Grandview burnt down in 1927 and was rebuilt in art deco style. The walls are adorned with photos of the making of the 2008 movie ‘Australia’ when Bowen starred as wartime Darwin under aerial attack from the Japanese. The large hotel windows are open to the breeze and showcase the view of the expansive harbour and the beer is cold.

Footnote: You may have wondered why Darwin itself wasn’t used in the Baz Lurman movie ‘Australia’.

On February 19th 1942 Darwin suffered greatly under air attack by 188 Japanese planes. On that day alone more bombs were dropped on Darwin than Pearl Harbour. Over the course of almost 2 years 64 raids were made on northern Australia.

On Christmas Eve 1974 while the rest of Australia was celebrating Christmas, Darwin was again flattened. This time by the ravages of nature, Cyclone Tracy.

One look at the Northern Territory capital of today and it is obvious, a twice rebuilt modern bustling city that is vastly different from its previous incarnations.

 

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Wide streets, Bowen
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Kids will be kids, Bowen
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The Grandview Hotel, Bowen
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10 thoughts on “Bowen, Qld

  1. I had no idea that Darwin was so badly bombed. The more I learn about war… On a brighter note, I love the wall mural of the Catalina. My grandad carved a wooden Catalina as a Christmas present for my Dad when he was a little boy and we played with it when we were kids! I still have it – the props go round and everything!

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  2. I’ve often noted that the rest of world is woefully ill-educated about the role Australia played in the Wars and how much suffering her citizens as well as her military had to endure. Unfortunately most people get their information from tv and films when it comes to historical record and most of these are made from a US or British perspective.

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