Sydney, June 1942

“ If London can take it, Surry Hills can take it!
Mrs Jones, Surry Hills, NSW, June 1942

On the night of 31 May – 1 June 1942 three Japanese midget submarines attacked Sydney Harbour. They were launched from a group of five larger submarines waiting off the Heads. All three midget submarines were lost, with two of them destroyed before they could fire their torpedoes. The third fired at but missed the USS Chicago, sinking HMAS Kuttabul, a coverted ferry, and killing 21 sleeping sailors aboard. Reactions by Sydney residents varied; a few made plans to flee the city, but many came to watch the recovery of the submarines.

A week after the midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour, two of the larger submarines returned to bombard Sydney and Newcastle with their deck guns. One shelled Newcastle for twenty minutes until driven off by fire from coastal artillery defences. Another submarine fired ten rounds into eastern Sydney. Little damage was done and the attacks appear to have inspired more curiosity than panic.

Lifting a Japanese midget submarine from Sydney Harbour - P00416.002 Lifting a Japanese midget submarine from Sydney HarbourP00416.002

Wrecked Japanese submarine recovered from Taylor’s Bay - 060696 Wrecked Japanese submarine recovered from Taylor’s Bay060696

Japanese submariners - 128880 Japanese submariners128880

Midget submarine souvenirs  - model - REL/21193.010 Midget submarine souvenirs - modelREL/21193.010

Midget submarine souvenirs - brass pipe with label - REL30501 Midget submarine souvenirs - brass pipe with labelREL30501

Midget submarine souvenirs - electrical cable with label - REL30502 Midget submarine souvenirs - electrical cable with labelREL30502

Japanese 140-millimetre naval shell - REL27168.001 Japanese 140-millimetre naval shellREL27168.001

Ernest Hirsch poses near shell damage on his home - 012583 Ernest Hirsch poses near shell damage on his home012583

Suburban shell damage, Sydney, June 1942 - 012593 Suburban shell damage, Sydney, June 1942012593

Warning sign - RELAWM29031 Warning signRELAWM29031