History of the Museum

In the 1960s, the Royal Australian Artillery Association (NT), composed generally of serving military and retired military personnel, took action over the vandalisation of the 9.2-inch gun emplacements of East Point. These guns, together with many six-inch pieces, formed the anti-ship defence of the town in World War II. In true Territory fashion, the members of the RAAA decided one weekend to safeguard these historic icons as no government initiative was forthcoming. They took fencing wire and star pickets, and claimed one of the emplacements and the nearby Command Post as a museum and grounds.

Over the decades, the Museum – Darwin’s first – grew in size and became a tourist attraction. At first opening only a day a week with no charge, the site Collection grew as the RAAA members sought out abandoned military hardware from around the Northern Territory. Entry by gold coin donation followed, and slowly the need for permanent personnel became apparent. Despite the setbacks of Cyclone Tracy, which destroyed every tree of the precinct, the Museum prospered.

In 2012, after lengthy negotiations with Government, the Defence of Darwin Experience building was added to the precinct. Together with the RAAA (NT)’s collection of artefacts, now valued at around $25m, this tourist attraction now receives over 50, 000 visitors a year.