On Wednesday 23rd April 2014, the Victoria Park Sub Branch was asked to host the visiting East Timor-Leste ex service organisation delegates as part of their official fact finding visit to Western Australia. Two other delegations participated and went to the eastern states. Their objective was to learn from RSL experiences how it advocates on behalf of its members and also how we take care of our members and their families so be able to establish a similar organisation in East Timor, as well as further strengthening the prevailing excel-lent bilateral relationship existing between the peoples of our two nations.

The delegation, led by Mr Mario Nicolau Dos Reis, was tasked with the job of enquiring about how the RSL in Australia was established (Australia wide), how it is administered as well as determining what the principal core criteria has enabled the organisation to attend to and look after the ex- service members of all arms of the Australian Defence Forces.

Over morning tea, the President presented an overview of the day to day activities of the Sub Branch as well as the national and state administrative responsibilities in achieving the aims of the League with the emphasis being placed on the welfare and advocacy aims and objectives. Members of the Sub Branch made themselves available to try and explain the ethos and objectives of the RSL.

Many questions were asked and concern was expressed by them about how to unify and consolidate the many different cultural issues prevailing in East Timor at the present time. It was interesting working through the questions asked because of the different cultural aspects existing at this point in time in East Timor.

One of the most interesting outcomes of the visit was the different experiences that these delegates had during their military service which they related with great candour.

It was very pleasing to be a part of the discussion and to share in the openness and warmth shown by the delegates to the information passed on.

It is not known whether they enjoyed the ANZAC biscuits which were given to them before they left or indeed our Australian Lions fruit cake.

Thank you to Jack Matthews, Rod Labrooy and Bill Hofert-Smith for being available to speak with our guests.

Well the festive season has passed and it was a welcomed break for your Committee members to have time off.


2014 Article from Darwin Defenders Day Magazine

A New Tradition for Victoria Park

Victoria Park’s inaugural Darwin Defenders’ Day was observed as a mark of respect for one of its members who passed away recently. The President gave an address, as did Dee Sanders, whose husband was based just outside Darwin with a reconaissance squadron.

We hope this becomes another major event on the calendar.






    The bombing of Darwin on 19th February 1942 was the first attack by foreign forces on Australia soil since the British arrived in “Terra Australis” (Australia) in 1788.

    The Japanese attack was of formidable military might, involving the dropping of more bombs, although of a lesser tonnage than at Pearl Harbour two months earlier.

    A total of 242 enemy aircraft – 188 carrier-borne and 54 land-based bombers from Ambon – dropped a total of 683 bombs over the harbour, wharf, township and airfields in two hours – one hour apart.

    The bombings caused considerable loss of life – both of civilian and military personnel, as well as much damage to the town’s infrastructure.

    It was estimated that a conservative figure of between 300 to 320 fatalities were reported killed on either land or sea.

    The bombings took place only a few days after the fall of Singapore, when the southward march of the Japanese, who had swept down the Malay Peninsula and taken the Dutch East Indies in a few short weeks, seemed unstoppable.

    Despite the extent of this attack – the most serious ever launched against Australian Territory, it received comparatively little exposure to the citizens of Australia.

    A war cemetery to honour those who paid the supreme sacrifice is located at Adelaide River located south of Darwin.

    The purpose of our gathering here today is to pay homage to the civilian and military personnel who were in Darwin at the time of this tragic event, who never expected to find themselves exposed to the ravages of war on home soil.



    On 19th February 1942 there weren’t many about.

    Darwin was an important supply port, aircraft base and staging point to try and halt Japanese access. This was in January 1942. On the day of the first attack from the Japanese – this day 1942 – 33 Squadron of the U S Army Air Corps, driven from the Philippines by the rapid Japanese invasion there, were on patrol over Darwin when the first wave of Japanese aircraft attacked. But they were outnumbered at least three to one.

    March and the P40 Kittyhawks of the US 49th Fighter Group arrived – then three more squadrons. General McArthur arrived at Batchelor Airfield, south of Darwin, and so our “Defenders” came into being.

    My husband was with 13 and then 2 Squadrons based at Hughes Airstrip – 32 miles “down the track”. This was a Hudson Squadron – mostly used for reconnaissance, they were also doing food drops over Timor to our soldiers in the hills. Don was atail gunner and quite a few times had to fire back at their attackers.

    Many thousands of personnel – Airforce, Army, Navy, road and airstrip construction men – were eventually deployed to the area, and the job of defending us.

    To these – Our Defenders – we are flying this flag today. This is a tribute to them.


  • The attack on Darwin on 19th February 1942 by the Japanese was the first attack ever made by an enemy on Australian soil. The devastating attack by 242 Japanese aircraft , sank 8 and damaged 15 of the 45 ships in the harbour. 23 aircraft were destroyed and an estimated 900 people killed with many hundreds injured.

    Although Battalions of soldiers were rushed to Darwin following the attack on Pearl Harbour, Australia defences were totally inadequate against such an attack. The area was subjected to a further 64 bombing raids through to November 12 1943.

    Strict censorship was imposed on all information regarding the air raids and all official documents were stamped “Not to be released until 1995” .  About 200,000 Australians served in Darwin in WW2 and through this ceremony we give them the recognition and respect they have earned for their efforts in the defence of their country and its people.


The Sub Branch celebrated Christmas with a visit from Santa.  It was a large, colourful event, and a great way for members to catch up on a very busy year for the sub-branch. (more…)

The State War Memorial, situated in Kings Park, overlooks the City of Perth with beautiful views of the Swan & Canning Rivers & the Darling Ranges.


Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the American Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia.


The National President of the RSL, Rear Admiral Ken Doolan, AM (RAN Retd.) together with our State President, CEO and Vice President attended the Sub Branch and addressed 45 delegates from other Sub Branches on the direction and future of the RSL.

Our own ANZAC Eve Service continues to attract more and more members of the local community which is pleasing to us all. A very big thank you to the Naval cadets from the Gallipoli Squadron who provided the Catafalque party and support.


The State War Memorial, situated in Kings Park, overlooks the City of Perth with beautiful views of the Swan & Canning Rivers & the Darling Ranges.


Once again, Victoria Park Sub Branch kicked off its heels to celebrate Christmas.

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