Japanese midget sub 140mm shell

Shortly after midnight on 8 June 1942, ten 140 mm shells were fired at Sydney by a Japanese submarine. While most failed to explode, minor damage was caused to homes in the suburbs of Rose Bay, Bellevue Hill and Woollahra.

The shots were fired from the deck gun of submarine I-24, which surfaced just off the coast and aimed at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I-24 had been involved in the previous attack on Sydney Harbour on 1 June, launching the midget submarine that sank HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 Australian and British sailors.

This shell hit the top storey of the Grantham flats in Rose Bay, home to the Hirsch family. It smashed through a wall into a bedroom, then through two internal walls, before stopping at the staircase. Despite the damage, Ernest Hirsch’s fractured foot was the only injury. The shell was removed from the building by a local warden and buried across the road at the Woollahra golf course. Later dug up by a naval demolition team, it was eventually claimed and kept on display by the State Emergency Services. It was donated to the Australian War Memorial in 1998.