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The Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour.

Tue 18 Feb, 2020, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Chatswood RSL, Sydney, 446 Victoria Avenue
Chatswood, New South Wales 2067 Australia
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There are many myths about the impact of the Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney. The bloke who bought a harbourside house in Rose Bay for twenty-five quid? People were afraid there’d be an invasion, and they couldn’t get rid of waterfront houses fast enough. A mate of my uncle’s got an amazing house in Rose Bay for twenty-five quid.

You’ve heard this story before? It’s one of the most enduring urban myths of all time. For the record, NOBODY bought or sold a house in Rose Bay for £25 or anything like it and there was NO property crash.

You can hear this and other myths about the midget submarine raid debunked by author Peter Grose. What really happened that night? On 31 May, 1942 Sydney was doing what it does best: partying. The war seemed far away. Newspapers devoted more pages to horse racing than to Hitler.

That Sunday night the party came to a shattering halt when three Japanese midget submarines crept into the harbor. Their arrival triggered a night of mayhem, courage, chaos and high farce which left 27 sailors dead and a city bewildered. The war was no longer confined to distant desert and jungle. It was right here at Australia’s front door.


Peter Grose will talk about the politics leading up to Japan’s entry into World War 2. Why did the Japanese feel short-changed after fighting alongside the Allies in the First World War? Why did

Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of Japan’s Pacific War strategy, argue against going to war at all? Why did Yamamoto want the war to be over in six months? Why did the Japanese attack Australia in the first place? Were they planning an invasion?

The surprising answers to these and other questions will form the basis of Peter Grose’s talk.


About the speaker:

Peter Grose began his working life as a journalist for the Sydney Daily Mirror before becoming the first London correspondent of The Australian. He switched from journalism to working for a literary agency, setting up Curtis Brown Australia—then the first literary agency in Australia and now the biggest. After moving to the London office of Curtis Brown, where he continued as a literary agent, he joined the London publisher Martin Secker & Warburg as publishing director.

In his ‘retirement’ he returned to his first love, writing. He is the author of three best-selling history books: A Very Rude Awakening (2007), A Good Place to Hide (2015), and An Awkward Truth (2017). He is also the proud holder of British, American and Australian private pilot’s licences, and has flown all over Australia, Europe and the United States in single-engine aircraft.

He lives in France.



5.00 pm to 6.15 pm, gather in the Club for refreshments

6.15 move to presentation venue

6.30 pm presentation commences

8.00 pm presentation concludes



RSVP Required:                Due to renovations in the Club, space in the board room is limited to 25 seats.

To nominate, please phone or email the Society ASAP. E-mail: secretary@navyhistory.org.au, Ph: 93592372


The Chatswood ESL is conveniently situated on Victoria Street on the highway side after you leave the station. A number of us take the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal before the meeting.  You are very welcome to join us.


Tue 18 Feb, 2020
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Chatswood RSL, Sydney
446 Victoria Avenue
Chatswood, New South Wales 2067 Australia
+ Google Map
02 9419 7386
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