Saturday, December 23, 2017

Sydney during the Second World War

Recently I wrote an assignment based on an oral history interview I conducted in 1994 with my mother. I decided to use the section where she described her experiences living in Sydney during the Second World War. Mum was twelve when, in 1939, she moved to Sydney to live with her aunt at Rose Bay and attend secondary school. A number of books provided background information about life in Sydney during this time.

A useful book on this topic was Australians at home: World War II by Michael McKernan, Scoresby, Five Mile Press, 2014. The book provides an excellent insight into what it was like living in Australia during the war. Chapter four was particularly useful.

This was the year the Australia feared invasion from Japan and the book, 1942: Australia's greatest peril, by Bob Wurth, Sydney, Macmillan, 2008, provides a detailed account of the threat and the reaction to it.

Another book on this topic is Australia in 1942: in the shadow of war, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 2013. This collection of essays, by Australian and Japanese historians and edited by Peter J Dean, looks at different perspectives regarding the intentions of the Japanese in the South Pacific.

A book that I found particularly useful for information about the shelling of Rose Bay was by Terry Jones & Steven Carruthers, A parting shot: shelling by Japanese submarines 1942, Narrabeen, NSW, Casper Publications, 2013. Part one looks at the shelling of Sydney suburbs by a Japanese submarine on 6 June 1942. The authors are particularly interested in where the shells landed and why only a few exploded. Photographs and maps accompany the text. Part two examines the shelling of Newcastle by another submarine while part three looks at the Japanese submarine strategy in general.

In 1992, David Jenkins wrote Battle surface! Japan's submarine war against Australia 1942-1944, Sydney, Random House. Jenkins writes about the Japaneses operations in Australian waters. Chapter 12 is about the attacks on Sydney Harbour, including the shelling of Rose Bay.

Australian politics
Bob Wurth wrote about John Curtin and how he and his government coped with the perceived threat of Japanese invasion in the book, The battle for Australia: a nation and its leader under siege, Sydney, Macmillan, 2013.

General information
Thomas Keneally has written a series of books on Australian history entitled Australians. The third volume is Flappers to Vietnam: a time of wars, changes and social revolution, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 2014. Much of this book provides information about Australians during the Second World War including the war with Japan.

Another aspect
Not all children stayed in Sydney during the war. Ann Howard has written a book based on interviews with people who were evacuated to the country which was considered safer than living in coastal areas. A carefree war: the hidden history of Australian WWII child evacuees, Newport, New South Wales, Big Sky Publishing, 2015.


Infolass said...

Thanks for the resources Vicki - don't forget digitised historical newspapers on Trove and The Australian Women's Weekly is a great resource for Sydney, indeed the homefront in WW2.

Vicki's Blog said...

Thanks for the comment, Liz. I also found useful articles in Trove about the Qantas Sea Plane Base at Rose Bay plus accounts of the shelling at Rose Bay. There is a great deal of information that can be found quite easily, however for an 800 word essay it was necessary to limit the background reading. I will add the essay to the Family Connections blog once the results are out - early January. The shelling of Rose Bay was only one of the war related incidents that Mum mentioned so I will be doing some more research and more posts. Vicki