Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney honoured all those who took part in the many sea, land and air operations that collectively comprised the Battle for Australia at a commemoration ceremony at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance yesterday.
“Australia’s sailors, soldiers and airmen along with their allies fought, and many died, in the defence of Singapore, the Battle of Sunda Strait, Timor, the Kokoda Track, Milne Bay, the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, in the Solomons and at Savo Island,” Senator Feeney said.
“The commemoration marked our respect and gratitude for the contribution of those who helped to defend our shores when fiercely under attack by Japanese forces during 1942 and 1943.”
More than 2000 primary and secondary school students, guests and veterans participated in the commemoration ceremony yesterday along with sport, music and literature identities who were there to honour those who served during World War 2.
“A key focus of the Battle for Australia commemoration since its inception in 1998 has been to encourage the youth of Australia, especially school students, to expand their understanding of this important part of Australia’s history as well as an opportunity to meet the veterans and honour their achievements.”
Between February 1942 and November 1943, Australia came under attack by air-raids at Port Hedland, Broome, Derby, Katherine and Townsville, with major devastation suffered in Darwin. Sydney was also attacked by two midget submarines.
This year marks the 69th anniversary of the Battle for Australia, which is commemorated every year on the first Wednesday in September – chosen because it represents the first defeat of Japanese forces on land, in the Battle of Milne Bay. For more information on the Battle for Australia, visit www.battleforaustralia.org.au
Imagery of yesterday’s event is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=11120669
Lorna Clarke: 0408 345 730
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999