This year the Battle for Australia Commemoration Service in New South Wales will be held at the Cenotaph, Martin Place, Sydney on Wednesday 2 September at 11:00. At this stage we are limited to a group of 50 including the Defence Ceremonial attendees and we must have a COVID Safety Plan which will ensure seating for the 1 per 4 square meter rule and include sign-in procedures. Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales has been invited and will attend and give the Address.
Just keep an eye out here, by 3 September 2020, Her Excellency's address will be published here.
With the weather gods smiling upon us and keeping in mind the requirements made upon us by the country's current situation the most that could be accomplished for 2020 was the laying of a wreath on the Wondai Memorial and the hotel window display which was to remind people of the contribution made by the Royal Australian Navy in 1940 in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
In 2021 the Wondai occasion will take a note of the RAAF's effort in 1941 as the Air Force found its feet through the work of the Sunderlands of No 10 Sqn in England on anti-shipping and anti-submarine duty; No 3 Sqn in the Western Desert flying Gloster Gladiators with some success against the Italians and later against the Vichy French Air Force in Syria; the first of the Empire Air Training Scheme aircrew who found their way mostly via Canada to various RAF Sqns in Britain; the hard work and substantial losses incurred by those sqns in Malaya when japan came into the war quite apart from all the other activity the RAAF was expected to accomplish with small means.
To meet a general information base two diaries are being prepared covering 1941 as a whole so far a general outlook is concerned and the other a dedicated RAAF diary so far as it can be managed without becoming a blur. Work on both these has been underway for some time and they are in keeping with those produced for 1939 and 1940. The 80th Anniversary of World War Two diaries as they apply to Australia seems fitting that they should come from the smallest place in Australia to conduct a Parade and Service.
2020 recognises the operations and battles of the Battle for Australia which occurred in 1943. In addition to the national day of commemoration of the Battle for Australia, which will be held in 2020 on the 2nd September at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, in recognition of the significance of 1943 in our nation's history, the Battle for Australia Association of NSW hosted another special event in 2020 on the 14th February.
We were very fortunate to have a presentation by Dr John Edwards "Prime Minister Curtin's 'Battle for Australia' - the Politics and Strategy behind a phrase". Dr Edwards is a Senior Fellow at the Lowy Institute and an Adjunct Professor with the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy at Curtin University. He was member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia from 2011 to 2016. John has published six books, including most recently a two-volume biography of Australia's wartime prime minister, John Curtin's War. The first volume won the 2018 Prime Minister's Prize for Literature in the history section. John holds PhD and M Phil degrees in economics from George Washington University and a BA from Sydney University.
The event was held at the Anzac Memorial Auditorium, downstairs in the new south wing Anzac Memorial Hyde Park South from 1000 to 1200 on Friday 14th February 2020.
Please use the controls below to view the presentation, it runs 42 minutes and 10 seconds. It is a MUST SEE.
Our thanks very much to Dr Edwards for his very well researched presentation. It ties together why Prime Minister Curtin used the term "Battle for Australia" in the dark days of 1942 and applied it to the struggle that ensured our nation was still a free democracy in 1945.
Our thanks also to the many honoured guests who joined members of the Battle for Australia Committee NSW at the ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney to witness Dr Edwards' presentation.