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The spear and the gun : Japanese attacks on Arnhem Land : a wartime history of Milingimbi 1942-45

ISBN: 9780994588920
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Avonmore Books
Origin: AU
Release Date: December, 2023

Book Details

NT Content. In recent years many people at Milingimbi were asking about the plane wrecks and how they got here. Most people knew that they were as a result of the war with the Japanese but that was all that was known. I was determined to find out and record the facts and the ADF Military archives had all of the answers. While researching Milingimbi I knew it was necessary to include the local Aboriginal Yolngu people and the missionaries records were also a great help. Yolngu labourers working on the runways and with their knowledge of the lands and seas around Milingimbi were a great asset to the Military that was stationed on the island. I have had Yolngu help in researching into the past about men such as Bunuyura the traditional land owner and Makarrwala a great leader with his own people and who gave assistance to the military while they were here. Yolngu knew the Japanese well as they were in Milingimbi waters collecting pearl shell prior to the war and when war broke out Yolngu were informed of the atrocities and killings being carried out by the Japanese and then the air attacks against Milingimbi began. Milingimbi had fighter aircraft to defend it and Army troops on the ground. The island became a refuelling base for RAAF bombers as they refuelled and attacked the Japanese who had become entrenched in the islands north of Australia. Many bombers needed to return to refuel at Milingimbi before returning to their airbases outside Darwin. It became necessary to record the airmen and Yolngu caught up in the battles against the Japanese and those Aboriginals who rescued our airmen during the war. Also included are other Australian airbases as the threat of invasion was so real at that time right across Northern Australia.