Bombardment 1942

In This Section

VISIT US

Hours

Monday: 9am-8pm
Tuesday: 9am-8pm
Wednesday: 9am-8pm
Thursday: 9am-8pm
Friday: 9am-8pm
Saturday: 10am-4pm
Sunday: 10am-4pm
Closed on public holidays

View all locations

Contact

Phone
02 9391 7100

Email
library@woollahra.nsw.gov.au

Address

Woollahra Library
Level 1, 451 New South Head Road
Double Bay NSW 2028

Hours

Monday: 9:30am-6pm
Tuesday: 9:30am-6pm
Wednesday: 12pm-8pm
Thursday: 9:30am-6pm
Friday: 9:30am-6pm
Saturday: 10am-4pm
Sunday: 10am-4pm
Closed on public holidays

View all locations

Contact

Phone
02 9391 7988

Email
library@woollahra.nsw.gov.au

Address

Paddington Library
Paddington Town Hall
247 Oxford Street,
Paddington NSW 2021

Hours

Monday: 2pm-5pm
Tuesday: 9:30am-5pm
Wednesday: 12pm-7pm
Thursday: 9:30am-5pm
Friday: 2pm-5pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Closed on public holidays

View all locations

Contact

Phone
02 9391 7999

Email
library@woollahra.nsw.gov.au

Address

Watsons Bay Library
The Tea Gardens
8 Marine Parade
Watsons Bay NSW 2030

Library Search ×
Login

Plaque location

Corner of Fletcher and Small Streets, Woollahra

Open MapClose Map


Walking directions to this plaque

View all plaques in Woollahra

Bombardment

In late May and early June of 1942, Sydney came under attack from Japanese Navy submarines. On the night of 31 May three midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour and during the ensuing raid the HMAS Kuttabul was sunk, killing 21 sailors. Following the raid, the Japanese fleet submarines that carried the midget submarines to Australia began a campaign to disrupt merchant shipping in eastern Australian waters.

Shelling of the eastern suburbs

In the early morning of 8 June 1942 two of these Japanese submarines, I-21 and I-24, shelled Sydney and Newcastle. At 0014 hours the Japanese submarine I-24 surfaced off the coast of Sydney and launched an attack, with shells landing in the eastern suburbs of Rose Bay, Bellevue Hill, Woollahra and Bondi.

Shells from the submarine exploded at 3 Plumer Road and 67 Balfour Rd, Rose Bay, at 4-6 Bradley Avenue and 9 Bunyula Rd, Bellevue Hill and in Woollahra at the corner of Small and Fletcher Streets (1 Small Street). Other shells were found unexploded in Rose Bay at Manion Avenue and Beresford Road, and in Bondi at 34 Simpson Street. There was some property damage and minor injuries but no fatalities.

An inventory of shells landing in the Woollahra municipality compiled by the Chief Warden, was tabled at a meeting of Woollahra Council held on 8 June 1942:

  • 26 Manion Ave: Unexploded
  • 4 and 6 Bradley Ave: Exploded
  • 3 Plumer Rd: Exploded
  • Cnr Small and Fletcher Sts: Exploded
  • 81 Beresford Rd: Unexploded
  • 68 Streatfield Rd: Shell fragment
  • 4 Salisbury Rd: Electric wires down
  • 67 Balfour Rd: Exploded
  • 9 Bunyula Rd: Exploded
  • Golf Links: (2) Unknown

In a recent publication, A Parting Shot, shelling of Australia by Japanese submarines, the authors Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers reveal that a shell may still be buried under the Royal Sydney Golf Course in Kent Road.

1 Small Street, Woollahra

Small Street

1 Small Street, Woollahra in 1992 (Woollahra History and Heritage Society)

The shell at the corner of Small and Fletcher Streets exploded a few metres from the front door of the ground floor grocery shop at 1 Small Street. The impact of the shell created a small crater and shrapnel was thrown over a wide area causing damage to houses in Small Street (nos. 1 and 2) and Fletcher Street (nos. 44-52). Shrapnel from the blast was found as far away as Streatfield Road in Bellevue Hill. At 1 Small Street glass in the windows and doors to the store and upstairs residence was shattered, the external stone walls were scarred by metal splinters and stock in the grocery store was ruined. The  upstairs occupants, Stanley and Alice Richards, were thrown from their bed by the force of the explosion.

Impact of the attack

The attack on Sydney was a significant war-time event for both local residents and the nation. While not creating great physical damage the bombardment did cause psychological damage by increasing real fear of a future Japanese invasion.

Sources

  • Carruthers, Steven & Jones, Terry, A Parting Shot, shelling of Australia by Japanese submarines, Casper Publications 2012
  • Dept. Of Veterans Affairs, No cause for alarm submarine attacks on Sydney and Newcastle May-June 1942, 2002
  • Jenkins, David, Battle Surface: Japan’s submarine war against Australia, Random House, 1992

Nominate a person or event

New plaques are added based on nominations from the community, which are then assessed by the Woollahra Plaques Advisory Committee and adopted by Council.

Find out more and nominate a person or event for a plaque.