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Darwin Post Office

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Probably one of the most poignant moments of the first air raid on Darwin was the bombing of the Darwin Post Office, killing the postmaster, his family and six young telegraphists sheltering in a slit trench.

While many lives were lost on the morning of 19 February 1942, the deaths of these public servants were a reminder that war is not just about soldiers and men.

Postmaster Hurtle Bald, his wife Alice and daughter Iris, Archibald Halls, Arthur Wellington, Jean and Eileen Mullen, Jennie Stasinowsky and Emily Young were going about their work serving the people of Darwin when they were tragically killed.

They were buried in makeshift graves at Kahlin Beach and later reinterred at the Berrimah War Cemetery.  Their final resting place is at the Adelaide River War Cemetery.

The site of the old Post Office became the site of the old Legislative Assembly building and subsequently the modern Northern Territory Parliament House. A plaque and a remnant of the original building’s wall in the foyer of the entrance to the Northern Territory Library is dedicated to their memory.

Hurtle Bald received a Civil Service Medal 1939-1945 posthumously on 9 January 1998. This medal is for civilians who served in arduous circumstances in support of the war effort as part of organisations with military-like arrangements and conditions of service.

Hurtle, Alice and Iris Bald each have a street named after them in the Darwin suburb of Alawa. Nearby there is also a Bald Park and Bald Circuit named in their honour.

Inspector William (Bill) McKinnon NTRS 1336, Photographs of Darwin and police work in the Northern Territory, 1931-1945, item 2
Darwin Post Office prior to bombing in 1942 NTL hdl:10070/39379 (Public Domain)
Darwin 1942. The graves of civilians killed on 19 February 1942 when the Darwin Post Office was hit by a bomb from a Japanese aircraft.
Monument erected to the memory of the staff of the Darwin Post Office at the Adelaide River War Cemetery (2016).