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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 September 2018

Remembering the Battle for Australia

ON the first Wednesday of September each year we commemorate the Battle for Australia, acknowledging the bravery and sacrifice of more than half a million service personnel and civilians who defended Australia during the Second World War.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester today encouraged all Australians to pause and reflect on the experiences of those who defended our nation during 1942–45.

"Australia came under direct attack from the Japanese who sought to destroy Darwin's airfields before their attack on Timor, launching the first air raids against the town on 19 February 1942," Mr Chester said.

"By November 1943, northern Australian towns and locales including Darwin, Port Headland, Derby, Katherine, Horn Island and Townsville had all been attacked.

"In May 1942, Japanese Midget submarines launched a surprise attack in Sydney Harbour, hitting HMAS Kuttabul with a torpedo and killing 19 Australians and two British sailors."

Australians also defended our shores on sea, land and in the air in battles in the Coral Sea, Papua and New Guinea. The Battle of the Coral Sea has long been regarded as "the battle that saved Australia", as it was the largest naval battle ever fought off Australia's shores, and prevented a Japanese sea-borne invasion of Port Moresby.

"Along with the Battle of the Coral Sea, Australian service personnel played a key role in the battles in Papua and in the New Guinea fighting at Wau, the Huon Peninsula, Wewak and Bougainville," Mr Chester said.

"On Battle for Australia Day we recognise the service and sacrifice of all those who served on the home front in Australia, and of those who protected our shores during the Second World War."



Whil Prendergast: 02 6277 7820
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