Australia under attack
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.