The Battle for Australia Commemoration Service


Every year on the first Wednesday of September, we commemorate the Battle for Australia. We reflect on the bravery of those who served on Australia’s home front, and the islands, the seas and in the skies to the north.

In this year of the Air Force Centenary, the Battle for Australia Committee has prepared a special broadcast commemorating the role of the RAAF in the Battle for Australia. The commemorative broadcast can be viewed by clicking on the image below.


History of the Battle for Australia

“The fall of Singapore can only be described as Australia’s Dunkirk…The fall of Dunkirk initiated the Battle for Britain. The fall of Singapore opens the Battle for Australia.”  – The Honourable John Curtin, Prime Minister of Australia, (press release of 16 February 1942).

Thousands of Australians were engaged in actions against Japanese forces during the Battle for Australia. This includes those who served to defend the Australian mainland against attacks.

The Battle for Australia recognises all battles involving the defence of Australia between 1942 – 1943 including:

  • Midget submarine attack on Sydney – 31 May/1 June 1942
  • Air raids on Darwin – beginning on 19 February 1942
  • Battle of the Coral Sea – 4–8 May 1942
  • New Guinea Campaign – January 1942 to August 1945 including, Kokoda, Milne Bay, Wau, the Huon Peninsula, Wewak and Bougainville

The war ended on 15 August 1945, but Australia will never forget the significant role the country played in World War II and how it helped to shape our nation.

Over 39,000 Australians died during the war, most of them in the campaigns in Asia and the Pacific. Many more were wounded in action – some so seriously as to end their service. Some 22,000 Australians became prisoners of the Japanese during the war, of whom some 8000 lost their lives.

Read more about the Battle for Australia:


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