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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC


5 May 2018

Australians encouraged to recognise Battle of Coral Sea

THE 76th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, which ended Japanese attempts on Port Moresby by sea, will be commemorated today with a national service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the Battle of the Coral Sea had long been regarded as “the battle that saved Australia”.

“The Battle of the Coral Sea is the largest naval battle that has ever been fought off Australia’s shores and is significant because it prevented a Japanese sea-borne invasion of Port Moresby,” Mr Chester said.

“The battle was fought in the waters southwest of the Solomon Islands and east of New Guinea between 4 and 8 May 1942 and was one of a series of actions that year which ended the Japanese threat to Australia.

“If the Japanese had been successful they could have landed a force in Port Moresby, furthering their aim to cut sea routes between Australia and the United States.”

No Australians were killed during the naval battle although more than 550 Americans were killed or wounded and the United States aircraft carrier USS Lexington was sunk.

Today’s commemorations in Melbourne, which involve a wreath-laying service, are an opportunity to show thanks and gratitude to the service men and women of Australia and the United States who saved the nation from imminent threat.

“I offer the thanks of grateful generations to the men and women who sacrificed so much in the defence of our country,” Mr Chester said.

“On this anniversary, we remember those who fought in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Their efforts will never be forgotten.”


Media contacts:

  • Whil Prendergast: 0427 672 815
  • DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon. Darren Chester MP, Canberra.

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546) or visit