2018 marks the 75th Anniversary of those operations and battles of the Battle for Australia which occurred in 1943. In addition to the national day of commemoration of the Battle for Australia which will be held in 2018 on 5 September at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, in recognition of the significance of 1943 in our nation’s history, the Battle for Australia Association of NSW is hosting a special event this year on the 16 February. On this date we mark the anniversary of the coining of the phrase "Battle for Australia" by Prime Minister John Curtin following the Fall of Singapore in 1942. The event will be held at the offices of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Level 2, Tower B, 280 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 from 1000 to 1200 on Friday 16 February and will incorporate an address on the Battle of Milne Bay. It will also include light refreshments and a Tribute to the sacrifices made by so many at that time.
The address will be given by Tim Gellel, the Head of the Australian Army History Unit. Prior to taking up this position, Tim was an Australian Regular Army Officer, whose thirty-year career included deployments to Afghanistan and Kuwait in support of Australian Special Operations Task Groups, and postings as the Commanding Officer of the Australian Defence Force School of Languages, and as a Defence Attaché and as a student in Japan. He holds a Master of Arts (International Relations) from Deakin University, and is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force School of Languages (Japanese), the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Command and General Staff Course, and the Japan National Institute for Defense Studies. Tim has authored several articles, and presented on, Australian and Japanese military history, and is currently completing a manuscript focussed on the Battle of Milne Bay.
Tim’s presentation will include a brief overview of the Battle of Milne Bay, and will then address some key issues which are often overlooked when considering the battle. These will include the Battle of Milne Bay’s relationship with the concurrent Japanese advance over the Kokoda Trail and the Battle of Guadalcanal, as well as the Battle of the Coral Sea which preceded it in May. Specifically, he will discuss why Milne Bay was so vital to Japanese plans to seize Port Moresby and to isolate Australia. His presentation will include new material that has not been previously been considered in Australian accounts of the Battle of Milne Bay including Japanese records and Japanese perspectives of the battle accessed by Tim on his 4 postings to Japan. His presentation will provide new perspectives on the Battle of Milne Bay, and its significance to the broader Battle for Australia.