A Special Connection

(L to R) Kevin Sumption (Director, ANMM), Malcolm Turnbull (Federal Member for Wentworth), Terry Jones (co-author), Steven Carruthers (co-author) and Peter Dexter AM (Chairman, ANMM)

(L to R) Kevin Sumption (Director, ANMM), Malcolm Turnbull (Federal Member for Wentworth), Terry Jones (co-author), Steven Carruthers (co-author) and Peter Dexter AM (Chairman, ANMM)

A Parting Shot: the story of the shelling of Sydney and Newcastle by Japanese submarines on 8 June 1942, was launched by the Federal Member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) on Friday 18 January 2013. Guests included Lady Susie Martin, serving and retired members of the defence force, members of the community who had a direct connection with the events of that night, and members and friends of the Australian National Maritime Museum.

In his opening remarks Mr Turnbull said that he had a special connection with the story, having lived near where one shell had landed. He also noted his electorate was home to two of the largest defence facilities in Australia, and  reinforced the importance of a strong Navy and defence capability.

A Parting Shot traces the story of the Japanese submarine shelling of Sydney and Newcastle—a story that until now, has not been fully told. Although casualties and damage were slight, the bombardments fuelled the real fear of an impending Japanese invasion. Revealing for the first time the contents of the bomb disposal squad war diary, the authors reconstruct events that occurred in both cities, including the search for, recovery and disposal of unexploded shells.

In recounting this legendary tale, the authors also examine Australia’s east coast defences, the activities of the National Emergency Service, and the management and communications structures that were implemented during the early stages of the Pacific War. To put it all into context, they give a Japanese perspective to the story through a critical account of Japan’s submarine operations, not only off the east coast of Australia, but also along America’s west coast and in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

The launch of A Parting Shot was the first event in the Australian National Maritime Museum’s calendar to mark the International Fleet Review (IFR) to be held in Sydney from 3 – 11 October 2013. The Review is being held to commemorate the centenary of the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet into Sydney.

On 4 October 1913 the flagship, HMAS Australia, led the new Australian Fleet Unit comprising HMA Ships Melbourne, Sydney, Encounter, Warrego, Parramatta and Yarra into Sydney Harbour for the first time to be greeted by thousands of cheering citizens lining the foreshore. This was a moment of great national pride and importance, one recognised as a key indicator of Australia’s progress towards national maturity.

The IFR is a high profile international event and Navy’s signature commemorative event for 2013. The event will see 40 ships from navies around the world, and 10 tall ships, parade through Sydney Harbour.

For further information contact the Australian National Maritime Museum.

     Images by Alan Khan Photography

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