Battle For Australia Day Proclaimed

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26th June 2008, 12:35pm - Views: 441

Government Government Minister For Veterans' Affairs 1 image

The Hon Alan Griffin MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs


26 June 2008


The Battle for Australia will now be marked on the first Wednesday in September each year, the Minister

for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin, announced today.

Mr Griffin said the Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC (Retd), had signed the

proclamation for the Battle for Australia Day.

The proclamation delivers on a Labor Party election promise to declare a day of national observance for

the Battle for Australia.

“Battle for Australia Day will commemorate the service and sacrifice of all those who served in defence

of Australia in 1942 and 1943 when we faced the gravest threats to our nation,” Mr Griffin said.

“This national day of observance will provide tangible recognition and greater community awareness of

the contribution to Australia’s freedom and democracy of those who fought in the Battle for Australia. 

“There were direct attacks on the Australian mainland, particularly in Darwin, and battles in the Coral

Sea and Papua and New Guinea, including Milne Bay and the Kokoda Track.”

Prime Minister John Curtin announced the Battle for Australia when Singapore fell on 15 February 1942. 

However, the first Wednesday in September has been chosen by the veteran community as it represents

the first defeat of Japanese forces on land in the Battle of Milne Bay.

“The Day will also be an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of those on the home front, who lived in

a time when the entire Australian economy was directed towards the war effort,” Mr Griffin said.

Mr Griffin said Battle for Australia Day would not be a public holiday.

“This proclamation will not detract from the importance of Australia's two most significant days of

commemoration, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, on which we remember all Australians who

served and died in wars, conflicts and peace operations,” Mr Griffin said.

Details of commemorative ceremonies to  be held to mark Battle for Australia Day will be published on

Media inquiries: Laura Ryan 0437 863 109


In February 1942, the arc of the Japanese advance had embraced the Western Pacific, the Australian

Territory of New Guinea and the Netherlands East Indies.

In the following three months Darwin and other Australian cities were bombed and midget submarines

attacked Sydney. By July, Japanese had occupied the Solomons and landed in Papua.

The Australian population of more than seven million was living with wartime controls on their daily lives

including rationing, restrictions on movement and with many directed to jobs supporting the war effort. The

entire Australia economy was geared towards the defence of Australia and industry from peacetime

production to wartime requirements.

Australia was being defended  by more than a half a million full time Army, Navy and Air Force personnel and

the women's services. The part time Volunteer Defence Corps was also preparing for the defence of

Australia. As well as ten Army divisions, the equivalent of one division each was deployed in the Northern

Territory and Papua with support from the Navy and Air Force.

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