Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Media coverage

The final stage of the midget submarine attack did not conclude until abut 8.30am on 1 June, which was too late for the morning editions of the newspapers. Strict censorship rules, imposed soon after the attack on Darwin, impeded any detail of the Sydney raid until the afternoon edition of The Sun. News of the attack did not reach the rest of Australia until 2 June 1942, when the Melbourne Age reported a statement, issued from General Headquarters in Melbourne:

‘In an attempted submarine raid on Sydney three enemy submarines are believed to have been destroyed, one by gunfire, two by depth charges. The enemy’s attack was completely unsuccessful. Damage was confined to one small harbour vessel of no military value.’

The attack provided a sobering reminder of the danger at hand and as one eyewitness remarked in The Daily Telegraph on 2 June 1942: ‘It will do the people of Sydney a lot of good, this sub scare. Teach ‘em that there’s a war on and that there is no safe place in the world these days.’

Although numbers were down on the Manly ferry on the evening following the attack, the service hadn’t ceased. As a ferry official remarked: ‘It will take more than a few Jap subs to stop the Manly ferry’.

War Special edited footage: attack on Sydney. Courtesy Australian War Memorial AWM F00348 (2.09 Mb)

Page last updated: 10 September 2015