Pre-War Darwin

Jim Fawcett was born in Darwin in the old Darwin Hospital in Packard Street in 1927. Jim’s connections to Darwin stretch back a long way. He is related on his mother’s side to Eliza ‘Granny’ Tuckwell, who came to Darwin on the first passenger ship arriving in January 1870.

Jim Fawcett described his earliest memories of the town:

 play audio

Darwin in those days was very, very much a real frontier town. There was no – like everything was brought to Darwin by boat, mainly from the south. There was no such thing as fresh milk. I was reared on tinned condensed milk. I don’t think there was any powdered milk in those days either, if I remember rightly. I remember Darwin in those days, there was a lot of horses and buggies around, very few motor cars in my earlier times. The boats came, I think, about once a month; maybe a bit more frequently, I’m not real sure on that. But on the whole, we had a Darwin Public School and a convent; they were the main two schools in the town of Darwin in those days, of which I attended the Darwin Public School which was situated in the carpark alongside the old Cavenagh Street Woolworths, which is now closed down…

Yes, well, the building in the school was a big, very, very tropical built – like as the old Darwin homes were in those days. It was very open, wide verandahs, with central classrooms and right up off the ground; one of the main reasons for coolness, the other one was so – like when we get our tropical storms here in the wet, the children used to play underneath the school without being out in the yard.

[Northern Territory Archives Service NTRS 226, TS 613 and NTRS 219, TP 683, Jim Fawcett]

Pupils, Darwin public school, n.d. c.1930s

Postcard, Darwin Public School

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