Battle for Australia Oration



Royal Automobile Club



Friday 17 February, 10am


The Oration is held each year to mark the occasion in World War II when Prime Minister John Curtin coined the phrase “Battle for Australia” in communicating to all Australians the dangers that lay ahead, following the Fall of Singapore.

The 2023 Battle for Australia Oration will be presented by Mr Tim Smith OAM. His Oration, “The M24 Submarine in Sydney Waters: Recovering an Australia-Japan Shared Site of Wartime Heritage” will consider the archaeological and commemorative significance of the 2006 discovery of the wreck of the M24, one of the Japanese submarines which penetrated Sydney Harbour in 1942: what has been revealed about its mission objectives and the possible fate of the crew in their final hours, as well as how the interests of the Japanese and Australian Governments have been recognised in the protection of human remains and spiritual values of this unique shared heritage site.

Mr Smith is the NSW M24 submarine site manager and the NSW Government’s senior Maritime Archaeologist. Intimately involved in ongoing protection of M24 since its 2006 discovery, Mr Smith is an internationally recognised expert in submarine archaeology. He currently serves as Director, Assessments at Heritage NSW (the State Government’s heritage agency) having previously served as Director of Heritage Victoria in Melbourne. He is also regarded internationally for his volunteer work on the discovery of Australia’s submarine AE1 (1914) off New Guinea; the AE2 Foundation’s work at the AE2 (1915) submarine site in Turkish waters; and the underwater survey of ANZAC Cove in Turkiye.

Mr Smith has received a UNESCO Award of Distinction for heritage management, and an Order of Australia (OAM) in 2017 for service to government heritage administration, volunteering, and maritime heritage.

More information

This event is by invitation only.

If you wish to attend, please contact Battle for Australia Secretary, Megan Lavender