May 31-June 1, 1942 – Three Japanese midget submarines sneak into Sydney Harbour in an attempt to sink Allied warships.
Two of the submarines are detected before firing their torpedoes and are scuttled by the crews, who commit suicide.
The third submarine fires two torpedoes at the USS Chicago, but instead sinks the ferry Kuttabul, which is being used as a billet for sailors. 21 men are killed when the ferry sinks.
The third submarine escapes from the harbour and disappears – it’s wreck was only discovered in 2006.
The attack achieves little of value for the Japanese but terrifies an already nervous Australia. Many people are now convinced a Japanese invasion is imminent.
Learn more about the impact the Second World War had on Australia on our WW2 in Australia tour.