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On this day …….. 31st of July 1942

In WWII, the first real attack of the Japanese on an Australian base occurred with the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942. That attack was the first of about 90 attacks that occurred at various places in and around Australia during the war. Shortly after this initial attack, the northwest coastal towns of Broome and Wyndham also came under fire, followed by Derby a few weeks later. It is less well known that the town of Mossman, near Cairns, was also bombed. On the night of 31 July 1942, Sub Lieutenant Mizukura dropped eight bombs, thinking that the lights he saw were Cairns. In fact it was Mossman, and while the other seven bombs have never been recovered, one fell on a sugar cane farm near Saltwater, Mossman. It caused a crater that measured 7 metres wide and a metre deep, and sent flying shrapnel through the window of the nearby farmhouse. Farmer Felice Zullo’s two and a half year old daughter was wounded in the head from shrapnel which entered the house, although she was in her cot at the time.

The child grew up to become Mrs Carmel Emmi, and on 31 July 1991, Mrs Emmi unveiled a plaque on a memorial stone commemorating the attack and her survival. The memorial stone is situated on Bamboo Creek Road, after the turnoff to Whyanbeel.

 

Sir John Gorton the 20th Prime Minister of Australia survived three flying accidents and ship being torpedoed during the Second World War. Gorton was also the only PM to voted himself out of office.

On this day …….. 6th of July 1943

Darwin, capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, was just a small town with a civilian population of less than 2000 during World War II. Nonetheless, it was a strategically-placed naval port and airbase. The first of an estimated 64 air raids against Darwin during 1942-43 occurred on 19 February 1942. At least 243 civilians and military personnel were killed, not counting the indigenous Australians whose deaths were not counted, as the Japanese launched two waves of planes comprising 242 bombers and fighters. Following the February raid, other parts of Australia including Darwin, northwest Western Australia and even regions of far north Queensland were subject to over one hundred more raids. Airport base areas attacked included Townsville, Katherine, Wyndham, Derby and Port Hedland, while Milingimbi, Exmouth Gulf and Horn Island were also targetted. 63 more Japanese raids occurred against Darwin and its immediate surroundings, some of them heavier than others. On 6 July 1943, the last of the heavy air attacks against Darwin occurred. The attack was directed against the US Liberator base at Fenton, located about 150 kilometres south of Darwin. Three pilots were killed, while three bombers damaged and eight Spitfires and a Liberator were destroyed. Three more minor attacks were carried out in August. The final attack on Australian soil occurred on 12 November 1943. There was only minor damage around the town of Darwin, and no casualties.

 

How well do you really know our Prime Ministers…….. At Twisted History we thought we would share the strange, weird and bizarre facts on our 29 PM’s!

1) Sir Edmond Barton was a cricket umpire when the first ever international cricket riot happened in 1878, against Australia and England at the SCG.

2) Alfred Deakin was almost killed in lift accident in 1887. Melbourne became the fourth city in the world to build power hydraulic lifts. When directors of the Australian Provincial Assurance Association (including future Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin), inspected the hydraulic lift in the new APA building on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne, for the first time. The mechanism failed and the lift shot upwards 12 floors, stopped only by some stout springs at the top. Deakin exited the building by the stairs.

3) Chris Watson was born in Chile and never became a British subject, so he was technically not eligible to sit in the Australian parliament let alone become Prime Minister.

4) Sir George Reid was the first PM to be involved in a car accident, breaking his arm and bruising his pride.

5) Andrew Fisher, left school at the age of 10, to work in the coal mines, before immigrating to Australia at the age of 13.

6) Joseph Cook was largely a self-educated man after leaving school at the age of 9 as a miner. Australian artist Tom Roberts, who recorded Cook on canvas many times, noted that Cook was 5 ft 9 ins (175 cm) in height, weighed 12 stone (76 kg) and his hat size was 7.

7) Billy Hughes established the Commonwealth Police Force, after being struck by an egg in the head at a protest. Hughes also holds two distinguished records – As Prime Minister, he had the most secretaries of all PM numbering over 100. Hughes also holds the record as longest serving parliamentarian lasting 58 years, when he died at age 90, while still serving in Parliament.

8) Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

9) James Scullin was the first Prime Minister to choose the Governor-General, not the royal family. Scullin choose Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first born Australian to hold the post.

10) Joseph Lyon’s father lost the family savings at the 1887 Melbourne Cup. Lyon at the age of 9 was forced to leave school and find work.

11) Earle Christmas Page was one of the first Australians to own a car. Serving as Prime minister for only 20 days, he refused to retire at 81, and dying from lung cancer, still contested the 1961 election.

12) Sir Robert Menzies is the longest serving Prime Minister (18 years). Menzies retired on Australia Day in 1966. Menzies was a lifelong supporter of Carlton VFL Football Club. In the 1970s, following a stroke the Carlton Football club made a ramp up onto the committee box at Princes Park Oval so that Menzies’s chauffeur, Peter Pearson could drive his Bentley into the stand to watch games.

13) Arthur Fadden liked socialising, sport, and theatre. He was once a member of an acting group in Mackay called the Nigger Minstrel Troupe. Yes that’s right …..It’s pretty much white people painting on a black face and doing that racist thing.

14) John Curtin’s first job at the age of 14, was as a messenger boy for a magazine edited by artist Norman Lindsay. Curtin was also gaoled for three days in Pentridge Prison Melbourne in 1916 for defying government’s call-up order for military. Although holding such strong beliefs Curtin passed conscription for WWII.

15) Francis Forde holds the records for the shortest term as Prime Minister for a mere 8 days.

16) Ben Chifley graduated as one of the youngest first-class locomotive engine driver at 28. Chifley died of a massive heart attack on the 13th of June 1951 in Canberra, whilst parliamentarians attended State Ball at Parliament House. Once hearing the news Prime Minister Menzies told everyone to go home. Ben Chifley ghost is said to haunt Canberra.

17) Harold Holt’s father married one of his former girlfriends…… So she became his step mother. After going missing while swimming and his body never found, in good Australian humour a local Melbourne swimming pool was named in his honour.

18) Sir John McEwen at the age of 16, worked at a Crown Solicitor’s office under Frederick Whitlam, father of future PM Gough Whitlam. At the age of 67 years McEwen was the oldest ever incoming Prime Minister. Due to only being Prime Minister for two months McEwen, after his death did not want a fancy PM headstone.

19) Sir William McMahon employed young sailors in tight-fitting bell-bottom trousers to caddy for him at golf.

20) Sir John Gorton survived three flying accidents and ship being torpedoed during the Second World War. Gorton was also the only PM to voted himself out of office.

21) Gough Whitlam is only one of two Prime Ministers whose lifetime spanned the lives of all 25 Prime Ministers in Australia’s first century (John Gorton was the other) Whitlam was Australia’s longest-lived Prime Minister, dying at the age of 98 years, sadly 2 years short of receiving a 100th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II, the woman who sacked him and his government in 1975.

22) Malcolm Fraser’s notorious incident in Memphis, Tennessee, in October 1986 is a night that would never be forgotten. After give a speech to the Memphis Economic Club Fraser decided to go for a drink at the Peabody Hotel. But for Fraser this was only the beginning of the night. He wandered into the foyer of a Memphis hotel frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers at 7am wearing nothing but a towel. He claimed to have no memory of the nights activities or were his pants where.

23) Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. This record was at the same English Hotel where President Bill Clinton smoked a joint.

24) Paul Keating left school at the age of 14, and managed a rock band called The Ramrods. Keating is the only Australian PM to be on the cover of the Rolling Stones Magazine. As Prime Minister Keating asked journalists to stop photographing his bald patch.

25) John Howard is the only Liberal Party Prime Minister to have been educated in a state school. Howard also lived at his parents’ home until he was 32 years old.

26) Kevin Rudd is a descendent of transported convict Mary Wade, who had over three hundred relatives when she died and is considered as one of Australia’s ‘matriarchs’. At the age of 15, Rudd wrote to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam asking for advice on how to become involved in a diplomatic career. Whitlam suggested Rudd learn a foreign language, which he did Chinese (Mandarin).

27) Julia Gillard immigrated with her family to Adelaide in 1966 as ’£10 poms’. Gillard is the first female Prime Minister to be sworn in by the first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce. Gillard was also the first unmarried Prime Minister.

28) Tony Abbott during his student days, once saved a child who was swept out to sea. Another time, he helped save children from a burning house next to a pub where he was drinking. At the aged 26, he studied to become a Catholic priest.

29) Malcolm Turnbull is 2nd cousin of British actress Angela Lansbury, from Murder She Wrote.

 

On This Day ……. 31st May 1942

When the town of Darwin was bombed by the Japanese in World War II, Australians were forced to accept the reality of how close the war was. Further bombing raids continued along Australia’s northwestern coastline, and even Townsville and Mossman in far north Queensland, but the war was truly brought home to Australians living along the more populated east coast on the day that three Japanese submarines entered Sydney Harbour. On the afternoon of 31 May 1942, three Japanese submarines sat approximately thirteen kilometres out from Sydney Harbour. Each launched a midget submarine, hoping to sink an American heavy cruiser, the USS Chicago, which was anchored in the harbour. One midget was detected by harbour defences at about 8:00pm, but was not precisely located until it became entangled in the net; the two-man crew of the submarine blew up their own vessel to avoid capture. When the second midget was detected after 10:00pm, a general alarm was sounded. The third midget was damaged by depth charges, and the crew also committed suicide to avoid capture. When the second midget was detected after 11:00pm and fired upon, the submarine returned fire, hitting the naval depot ship HMAS Kuttabul, a converted harbour ferry, which served as an accommodation vessel. Nineteen Australian and two British sailors on the Kuttabul died, the only Allied deaths resulting from the attack, and survivors were pulled from the sinking vessel. The submarine presumably returned to its mother ship, known as I-24. Nine days later, on 8 June 1942, I-24 surfaced off Sydney, about 10 km off Maroubra. For four minutes, the submarine’s deck gun was fired at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Every shot landed well short of its target, with at least 10 shells hitting the residential suburbs of Rose Bay, Woollahra and Bellevue Hill. All but one of the shells failed to explode and there were no fatalities or serious injuries.

On this day …….. 29th of August 1941

Arthur Fadden, the second of five men who served as Australian Prime Minister during World War II, is sworn into office.

At the time that World War II began, Australia’s Prime Minister was Robert Menzies. It was Menzies who made the announcement in September 1939 that Australia was at war with Germany. However, party dissension led Menzies to resign as Prime Minister in August 1941. Menzies’ successor was Arthur Fadden. Fadden was born in Ingham, Queensland in 1895, and first entered politics as an alderman for Townsville in the State Parliament. After losing Townsville in 1935, and declaring his exit from politics permanently, he then won the Federal seat of Darling Downs in 1936. Fadden was one of five Country Party members included when Menzies reshuffled his Cabinet to form a coalition government with the Country Party in March 1939. He was given the portfolios of Air and Civil Aviation when three Country Party ministers were killed in an aeroplane crash in August 1940. He rose to the position of Deputy Leader of the Country Party and, following a leadership crisis within the party, was officially elected leader of the Country Party in March 1941. During this time, he also served as Deputy Prime Minister while Menzies was overseas for four months. Soon after Menzies’ return from overseas, party dissension caused him to resign. A joint United Australia Party – Country Party meeting resulted in Arthur Fadden being elected Prime Minister, and he was sworn in to office on 29 August 1941. However, in the federal election five weeks later, the coalition government lost majority support in the House of Representatives, and John Curtin became Prime Minister.

On this day …….. 31st of July 1942

In WWII, the first real attack of the Japanese on an Australian base occurred with the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942. That attack was the first of about 90 attacks that occurred at various places in and around Australia during the war. Shortly after this initial attack, the northwest coastal towns of Broome and Wyndham also came under fire, followed by Derby a few weeks later. It is less well known that the town of Mossman, near Cairns, was also bombed. On the night of 31 July 1942, Sub Lieutenant Mizukura dropped eight bombs, thinking that the lights he saw were Cairns. In fact it was Mossman, and while the other seven bombs have never been recovered, one fell on a sugar cane farm near Saltwater, Mossman. It caused a crater that measured 7 metres wide and a metre deep, and sent flying shrapnel through the window of the nearby farmhouse. Farmer Felice Zullo’s two and a half year old daughter was wounded in the head from shrapnel which entered the house, although she was in her cot at the time.

The child grew up to become Mrs Carmel Emmi, and on 31 July 1991, Mrs Emmi unveiled a plaque on a memorial stone commemorating the attack and her survival. The memorial stone is situated on Bamboo Creek Road, after the turnoff to Whyanbeel.

 

Sir John Gorton the 20th Prime Minister of Australia survived three flying accidents and ship being torpedoed during the Second World War. Gorton was also the only PM to voted himself out of office.

On this day …….. 6th of July 1943

Darwin, capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, was just a small town with a civilian population of less than 2000 during World War II. Nonetheless, it was a strategically-placed naval port and airbase. The first of an estimated 64 air raids against Darwin during 1942-43 occurred on 19 February 1942. At least 243 civilians and military personnel were killed, not counting the indigenous Australians whose deaths were not counted, as the Japanese launched two waves of planes comprising 242 bombers and fighters. Following the February raid, other parts of Australia including Darwin, northwest Western Australia and even regions of far north Queensland were subject to over one hundred more raids. Airport base areas attacked included Townsville, Katherine, Wyndham, Derby and Port Hedland, while Milingimbi, Exmouth Gulf and Horn Island were also targetted. 63 more Japanese raids occurred against Darwin and its immediate surroundings, some of them heavier than others. On 6 July 1943, the last of the heavy air attacks against Darwin occurred. The attack was directed against the US Liberator base at Fenton, located about 150 kilometres south of Darwin. Three pilots were killed, while three bombers damaged and eight Spitfires and a Liberator were destroyed. Three more minor attacks were carried out in August. The final attack on Australian soil occurred on 12 November 1943. There was only minor damage around the town of Darwin, and no casualties.

 

How well do you really know our Prime Ministers…….. At Twisted History we thought we would share the strange, weird and bizarre facts on our 29 PM’s!

1) Sir Edmond Barton was a cricket umpire when the first ever international cricket riot happened in 1878, against Australia and England at the SCG.

2) Alfred Deakin was almost killed in lift accident in 1887. Melbourne became the fourth city in the world to build power hydraulic lifts. When directors of the Australian Provincial Assurance Association (including future Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin), inspected the hydraulic lift in the new APA building on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne, for the first time. The mechanism failed and the lift shot upwards 12 floors, stopped only by some stout springs at the top. Deakin exited the building by the stairs.

3) Chris Watson was born in Chile and never became a British subject, so he was technically not eligible to sit in the Australian parliament let alone become Prime Minister.

4) Sir George Reid was the first PM to be involved in a car accident, breaking his arm and bruising his pride.

5) Andrew Fisher, left school at the age of 10, to work in the coal mines, before immigrating to Australia at the age of 13.

6) Joseph Cook was largely a self-educated man after leaving school at the age of 9 as a miner. Australian artist Tom Roberts, who recorded Cook on canvas many times, noted that Cook was 5 ft 9 ins (175 cm) in height, weighed 12 stone (76 kg) and his hat size was 7.

7) Billy Hughes established the Commonwealth Police Force, after being struck by an egg in the head at a protest. Hughes also holds two distinguished records – As Prime Minister, he had the most secretaries of all PM numbering over 100. Hughes also holds the record as longest serving parliamentarian lasting 58 years, when he died at age 90, while still serving in Parliament.

8) Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

9) James Scullin was the first Prime Minister to choose the Governor-General, not the royal family. Scullin choose Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first born Australian to hold the post.

10) Joseph Lyon’s father lost the family savings at the 1887 Melbourne Cup. Lyon at the age of 9 was forced to leave school and find work.

11) Earle Christmas Page was one of the first Australians to own a car. Serving as Prime minister for only 20 days, he refused to retire at 81, and dying from lung cancer, still contested the 1961 election.

12) Sir Robert Menzies is the longest serving Prime Minister (18 years). Menzies retired on Australia Day in 1966. Menzies was a lifelong supporter of Carlton VFL Football Club. In the 1970s, following a stroke the Carlton Football club made a ramp up onto the committee box at Princes Park Oval so that Menzies’s chauffeur, Peter Pearson could drive his Bentley into the stand to watch games.

13) Arthur Fadden liked socialising, sport, and theatre. He was once a member of an acting group in Mackay called the Nigger Minstrel Troupe. Yes that’s right …..It’s pretty much white people painting on a black face and doing that racist thing.

14) John Curtin’s first job at the age of 14, was as a messenger boy for a magazine edited by artist Norman Lindsay. Curtin was also gaoled for three days in Pentridge Prison Melbourne in 1916 for defying government’s call-up order for military. Although holding such strong beliefs Curtin passed conscription for WWII.

15) Francis Forde holds the records for the shortest term as Prime Minister for a mere 8 days.

16) Ben Chifley graduated as one of the youngest first-class locomotive engine driver at 28. Chifley died of a massive heart attack on the 13th of June 1951 in Canberra, whilst parliamentarians attended State Ball at Parliament House. Once hearing the news Prime Minister Menzies told everyone to go home. Ben Chifley ghost is said to haunt Canberra.

17) Harold Holt’s father married one of his former girlfriends…… So she became his step mother. After going missing while swimming and his body never found, in good Australian humour a local Melbourne swimming pool was named in his honour.

18) Sir John McEwen at the age of 16, worked at a Crown Solicitor’s office under Frederick Whitlam, father of future PM Gough Whitlam. At the age of 67 years McEwen was the oldest ever incoming Prime Minister. Due to only being Prime Minister for two months McEwen, after his death did not want a fancy PM headstone.

19) Sir William McMahon employed young sailors in tight-fitting bell-bottom trousers to caddy for him at golf.

20) Sir John Gorton survived three flying accidents and ship being torpedoed during the Second World War. Gorton was also the only PM to voted himself out of office.

21) Gough Whitlam is only one of two Prime Ministers whose lifetime spanned the lives of all 25 Prime Ministers in Australia’s first century (John Gorton was the other) Whitlam was Australia’s longest-lived Prime Minister, dying at the age of 98 years, sadly 2 years short of receiving a 100th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II, the woman who sacked him and his government in 1975.

22) Malcolm Fraser’s notorious incident in Memphis, Tennessee, in October 1986 is a night that would never be forgotten. After give a speech to the Memphis Economic Club Fraser decided to go for a drink at the Peabody Hotel. But for Fraser this was only the beginning of the night. He wandered into the foyer of a Memphis hotel frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers at 7am wearing nothing but a towel. He claimed to have no memory of the nights activities or were his pants where.

23) Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. This record was at the same English Hotel where President Bill Clinton smoked a joint.

24) Paul Keating left school at the age of 14, and managed a rock band called The Ramrods. Keating is the only Australian PM to be on the cover of the Rolling Stones Magazine. As Prime Minister Keating asked journalists to stop photographing his bald patch.

25) John Howard is the only Liberal Party Prime Minister to have been educated in a state school. Howard also lived at his parents’ home until he was 32 years old.

26) Kevin Rudd is a descendent of transported convict Mary Wade, who had over three hundred relatives when she died and is considered as one of Australia’s ‘matriarchs’. At the age of 15, Rudd wrote to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam asking for advice on how to become involved in a diplomatic career. Whitlam suggested Rudd learn a foreign language, which he did Chinese (Mandarin).

27) Julia Gillard immigrated with her family to Adelaide in 1966 as ’£10 poms’. Gillard is the first female Prime Minister to be sworn in by the first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce. Gillard was also the first unmarried Prime Minister.

28) Tony Abbott during his student days, once saved a child who was swept out to sea. Another time, he helped save children from a burning house next to a pub where he was drinking. At the aged 26, he studied to become a Catholic priest.

29) Malcolm Turnbull is 2nd cousin of British actress Angela Lansbury, from Murder She Wrote.

 

On This Day ……. 31st May 1942

When the town of Darwin was bombed by the Japanese in World War II, Australians were forced to accept the reality of how close the war was. Further bombing raids continued along Australia’s northwestern coastline, and even Townsville and Mossman in far north Queensland, but the war was truly brought home to Australians living along the more populated east coast on the day that three Japanese submarines entered Sydney Harbour. On the afternoon of 31 May 1942, three Japanese submarines sat approximately thirteen kilometres out from Sydney Harbour. Each launched a midget submarine, hoping to sink an American heavy cruiser, the USS Chicago, which was anchored in the harbour. One midget was detected by harbour defences at about 8:00pm, but was not precisely located until it became entangled in the net; the two-man crew of the submarine blew up their own vessel to avoid capture. When the second midget was detected after 10:00pm, a general alarm was sounded. The third midget was damaged by depth charges, and the crew also committed suicide to avoid capture. When the second midget was detected after 11:00pm and fired upon, the submarine returned fire, hitting the naval depot ship HMAS Kuttabul, a converted harbour ferry, which served as an accommodation vessel. Nineteen Australian and two British sailors on the Kuttabul died, the only Allied deaths resulting from the attack, and survivors were pulled from the sinking vessel. The submarine presumably returned to its mother ship, known as I-24. Nine days later, on 8 June 1942, I-24 surfaced off Sydney, about 10 km off Maroubra. For four minutes, the submarine’s deck gun was fired at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Every shot landed well short of its target, with at least 10 shells hitting the residential suburbs of Rose Bay, Woollahra and Bellevue Hill. All but one of the shells failed to explode and there were no fatalities or serious injuries.

On this day ………… 3rd March 1942

The town of Broome, Western Australia was attacked by Japanese fighter planes on 3 March 1942, during World War II. At least 88 people were killed. Although Broome was a small pearling port at the time, it was also a refuelling point for aircraft, on the route between the Netherlands East Indies and major Australian cities.