Why did the Government lie about the bombing of Darwin?

Case Study Overview

Students investigate one of the most significant episodes in Australia’s Second World War experience. Why was the bombing of Darwin ‘hushed up’ by the government? Was there a warning that was ignored? Was there looting and cowardice by soldiers? Was 19 February 1942 Australia’s ‘great day of shame’? Students visit the sites, analyse the maps, interrogate witnesses, sequence the events, and come to their own conclusions.

An interactive entitled, The bombing of Darwin, is also available for this case study. This module is currently under re-development due to FLASH being discontinued. 

Case Study unit of work inquiry structure (pdf)

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: Fire! What do you do?
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Images of war
    Examining the strengths and weaknesses of photographs and a painting as evidence
  • Activity 3: Video visit
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 4: An inquiry
    Examining the behaviour of key people during this event using a variety of evidence
  • Activity 5: Was it right for the government to lie?
    Determining arguments for and against the government’s decision to lie about the bombing of Darwin
  • Activity 6: Creating images in wartime
    Assessing four paintings of the event

About the Interactive

This module is currently under re-development due to FLASH being discontinued. 

The bombing of Darwin
It is February 1942. A Japanese attack on Australia is expected. Can you prepare Darwin’s defences and
protect Australia from this attack? A historical decision-maker interactive.

For Secondary Students

• World War II

Case Study Resources

  • Teacher Guide
  • Print Resources (PDF)
  • Downloadable High Quality Video
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