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Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
2019 Calendar of Wooden Boats
The 2019 Calendar of Wooden Boats® continues
to set the highest standards of quality and tradition
for wooden boat enthusiasts around the world.
The 2019 edition features 12 new images by
Benjamin Mendlowitz. Sailboats, small boats,
powerboats and workboats are captured in
brilliant color and are beautifully reproduced in
this elegant 12" x 24" wall calendar. Insightful and entertaining captions are
provided by wooden boat expert Maynard Bray. $29.95
Industrious, Innovative, Altruistic
From Charlie Lucas, Purdon and Featherstone, Percy
Coverdale and Taylor Brothers to Jock Muir, Max Creese,
Purdon Brothers and Bill Foster, the 20th century saw
more than 12 commercial boat building yards in operation
along the Napoleon Street corridor of Battery Point near
Hobart. Combined, hundreds of men were employed and
thousands of vessels were built, of which many remain
in existence. This book profles and pays tribute to the
20th century boat builders of Battery Point, their yards and the vessels they
built. PB 386 pages $60.00
A Very Rude Awakening
DVD: The night Japanese midget subs
came to Sydney Harbour
Produced and directed by Gary Jackson
RRP: $29.95 (50min DVD)
Available online: www.ww2australia.com.au
Seventy six years ago, during the night of 31 May -- 1 June 1942, Sydney
Harbour came under an audacious attack by three Japanese midget
submarines, bringing a rude awakening to the citizens of Australia's
largest city, to our defence forces stationed there, and the crews of
visiting US and British warships.
It ended the rather remarkable complacency towards World War II
in Sydney at that time despite the incredible advances of the Japanese
forces since Pearl Harbour.
Darwin and other towns and military bases in the Northern
Territory had already been bombed with devastating results. However,
the Australian Government played down the attack on Darwin and the
death of several hundred residents and military personnel. It did not
want wartime morale to fall.
Sydney's Garden Island was (and still is) headquarters of the Royal
Australian Navy, a vital naval base in the South Pacific, with its extensive
dry dock and berthing facilities for our ships and those of our Allies.
In port that last week in May 1942 were more than twenty naval
vessels, including the USS heavy cruiser Chicago and the RAN cruiser
While there were anti-submarine sensors on the seabed off the
Harbour entrance and booms within the harbour, along with anti-aircraft
batteries and heavy artillery gun emplacements overlooking Sydney
Heads, there was, apparently, still a carefree atmosphere in the city.
Lights from city buildings, homes, and even the Garden Island Naval
Base blazed all night, thousands of locals were enjoying the company
of visiting US servicemen at dances and parties, and even the chief
naval officer of Garden Island was, on the evening of midget sub attack,
entertaining the officers of USS Chicago to a traditional dinner, starting
with the strong 'pink gin.'
The explosion of torpedoes, fortunately missing Chicago but sadly
killing sailors sleeping on the converted Sydney ferry Kuttabul, the self-
inflicted exploding deaths of two of the subs, then later gunfire from
coastal batteries aimed at invisible large submarines off the coast, was
'A Very Rude Awakening' for Sydney.
A Rude Awakening is the title of the best-selling book by Peter Grose
who is the narrator of an engaging new documentary based on his book.
The 50-minute DVD puts to rest all the misinformation that has
persisted about that infamous Sunday winter night in 1942. This is a
neutral, balanced, critical analysis of what did happen and why anything
that could go wrong, did go wrong.
The DVD lays bare mistakes that turned best-laid military plans into
an embarrassing failure with tragic loss of life on both sides.
In an extensive interview, Commander Shane Moore, RAN (retired)
comments: "When military plans are drawn up, they're drawn up with all
the best information and Intelligence that can be gathered.
"You're sending in your best team to undertake that plan of operation,
but normally at the very first shot, the plan tends not to go the way it
was actually intended."
The Japanese had the latest intelligence of the shipping in Sydney
Harbour at the time after float planes launched from large submarines off
the coast had made three, undetected flights over the city and its harbour.
But things went wrong with the sub's navigation, they became
entangled in boom gate netting, and the aiming of their torpedoes went
astray and they missed their prime objectives.
Sydney and the navies of the USA, Great Britain and Australia
were perhaps very fortunate they survived major damage despite the
then "antiquated and inefficient defences", to quote the author, and
significantly, the seemingly irresponsible lack of 'top brass' reaction
to on-the-water patrol warnings, and the failure of vital Japanese code
breaks being passed on to top Naval personnel and, even then, not
quickly acted upon.
Producer and director Gary Jackson has put together a remarkable
documentary, using graphic images taken at the time and outstanding
digital images to illustrate this battle of World War II, fought between
Japan and the Allies within the harbour.
A Very Rude Awakening is a most significant assessment of the night
Japanese midget subs came to our harbour. In all 27 servicemen died
that night, 21 sleeping Australian and British sailors and the six valiant
crew of the three Japanese subs.
Their remains were given full military honours by Australia, and their
ashes returned during the war to their families in Japan.
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