Written by Norman Cramp, Director Darwin Military Museum
One of DMM’s great friends, Dr. Peter Williams, Australian National University, has been working with the Museum Management Team and suggested DMM staff may be able to provide advice and direction with regard to various matters including;
- suitable artefacts
- where such artefacts can be purchased (if necessary)
- developing policy and procedures
- artefact conservation and preservation
- storage and security of artefacts etc and
- telling the story.
Vanuatu's WW2 history
American troops first arrived in Vanuatu on the island of Efate in May 1942, their mission to be the coordination of defences against the Japanese advance. The US Navy’s Construction Battalions (aka: the Seabees), with the assistance of local labour, built the first road around the island and then moved to construct barracks buildings, hospitals, administration centres, airfields and telephone networks across the island. The landscape had changed forever!
When the war ended in 1945, the US troops withdrew almost as fast as they had arrived, leaving behind leaving stockpiles of equipment in their wake. Trucks, cars, bulldozers and aircraft were left where they stood or were dumped under a plan code-named Operation Roll-Up.
The buildings remained were they stood but much of the machinery was pushed into the ocean – with one such dumping ground becoming known as Million Dollar Point due to the amount and value of the equipment the Americans dumped there.
The South Pacific WW2 museum will be a fully immersive and interactive experience and will tell the story of WW2 in the South Pacific region. While the project to establish and develop the SPWW2M is in its very early stages, all at DMM are very pleased to be a part of something new and exciting that is happening in a land a long way from the Northern Territory of Australia.
Stay tuned for more details as the project really starts up!