WAR HISTORY: local Upper House member, Phil Edman (who is, incidentally, the  Government Whip in the Legislative Council), Rotarian Michael McCafferty and Phil’s “sidekick” Aimee Gibbs in front of some of the Point Peron display at Wednesday’s meeting.
PALM Beach Rotarians and guests got a dramatic look at how nearly Australia was invaded by the Japanese during World War II during the club’s Remembrance Day meeting last Wednesday.
Local Upper House state parliamentarian Phil Edman, who is driving restoration of the old Point K Peron battery, organised screening of a History Channel production,Battle For Australia.
Mr Edman attended the meeting with one of his staff, Aimee Gibbs, and they had decorated the meeting room with displays about Point Peron’s past and Second War War memorabilia.
Rupert Murdoch had given him the rights, allowing him to screen the film without royalty payment,  the MLC said.  Last Wednesday’s screening  was only the second timeBattle For Australia had been shown:
It was startling reminder of just how close the Japanese came to invading Australia.  Darwin was bombed 65 times, for example.
The film was also a reminder of how America saved us.
The documentary detailed scores of air raids on northern Australia and the Japanese mini-submarine  attacks on  Sydney and Newcastle in late May and early June 1942.  
On the night of May 31-June 1, three Ko-hyoteki-class midget submarines, each with two crew, entered Sydney Harbour, avoiding the partly-built anti-submarine boom net . Two were detected and attacked before they could do any damage. The crews scuttled their boats and committed suicide. The third submarine attempted to torpedo the heavy cruiser USS Chicago, but instead sank the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors. Its fate was unknown until 2006, when amateur scuba divers discovered the wreck off Sydney's northern beaches.
Closer to home, dozens of lives were lost on March 3, 1942, when Japanese aircraft attacked Broome. This was just two weeks after another devastating attack on Darwin ("Australia's Pearl Harbour”)  on February 19. 
The attack on Broome was the second-worst air raid ever suffered by an Australian town. It killed 88 people and injured many more, many of them Dutch women and children.  Twenty-four aircraft were destroyed in the onslaught, which lasted only 20 minutes or so.
Broome attacked because:
1) since February 1942, it had been the "end of an air shuttle service from Java". Many people fleeing their war-torn Indonesian homes were flown to Broome in planes from Holland, America and Australia. That explains the civilian death toll ⎯ many of the Dutch women and children killed were in the destroyed aircraft, waiting to be unloaded or waiting for take-off to other parts of Australia.
2) Broome was also a Royal Australian Air Force refuelling station and its aerodrome was upgraded just a few weeks before the air raid "to accommodate the largest planes". Japanese Zeros tore up this aerodrome with machine-gun fire on March 3.
Phil Edman was introduced to the meeting by past president Michael McCafferty, who reminded the club that the WWI  guns fell silent on that day 97 years ago.
Mr Edman said Mike was his biggest  financial supporter on the Point Peron Project. He reminded the club of Australia’s wartime losses and the importance of the batteries, which were manned by the army, to protect Australia’s coast and shipping anchorages  There was a “secret fleet”, unknown to many historians, which ended the war in the Pacific sooner than might have otherwise been.
On June 19, 2008, Australia’s then Governor General, Major-General Michael Jeffery, signed a proclamation that the first Wednesday in September was to be a national day of Remembrance, the “Battle for Australia Day”.  But very few people had ever heard of it.
Kevin McDonnell thanked Phil Erdman and Aimee Gibbs for a “wonderful presentation”  and the “fantastic program” to restore the Point Peron battery.  “Your leadership and zeal have got the project going” he remarked.