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Revoltion counter from Japanese midget submarine

Date: c 1942
Dimensions:
Overall: 60 x 105 mm, 1.2 kg
Display Dimensions: 116 x 103 x 62 mm
Medium: Copper alloy, nickel alloy, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Reginald Schwarze
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Revolutions counter
Object No: 00019505
Place Manufactured:Tokyo

User Terms

    Description
    A revolution counter made by Kuramoto Instrument Manufacturing Company in Tokyo, Japan. This counter is believed to have come from one of the Japanese midget submarines that was sunk in Sydney Harbour in 1942. The Japanese text translates as 'Revolutions', 'x 100' and 'Kuramoto, Tokyo'.

    SignificanceThe attack on Sydney harbour by the Japanese midgety submarines on the night of Sunday 31 May 1942, was the first attack on Sydney by a foreign power. It bought the reality of the war straight to Australia and into the lives ofthose at home.
    HistoryThe revolution counter is believed to have come from one of the Japanese midget submarines that attacked naval shipping the night of 31 May / 1 June 1942 in Sydney Harbour.
    Three Japanese midget submarines infiltrated Sydney Harbour on the evening of 31 May 1942. Their mission was to attack and sink Allied naval vessels.
    The first submarine became entangled in an anti-submarine torpedo net strung up between Georges Head to Green Point. The two crew on board then blew it up.
    The second submarine, although detected, managed to fire off two torpedoes. One torpedo ran ashore at Garden Island and the second passed under the Dutch submarine K9. It struck the harbour wall beneath the depot ship HMAS KUTTABUL and exploded killing nineteen Australian and two British sailors who were aboard KUTTABUL at the time. The submarine then slipped out of the harbour and was not found until 2006, off Sydney's northern beaches. The third submarine was attacked and sunk.

    In 1943 a composite midget submarine, made from parts of the two submarines recovered from Sydney Harbour, was taken on a 4,000-kilometre tour around Australia to raise money for the war effort. The tour visited Wagga Wagga, Benalla, Ballarat, across to Adelaide and along the Victorian coast to Melbourne, then back to Sydney.
    Souvenirs and postcards of the submarines were sold at every stop along the way. The tour drew thousands of people and attracted significant media attention in every town they visited.
    After the salvage of the submarines various parts were auctioned to raise money for the war effort and some parts may also have come into the possession of people were around at the time of salvage.
    Mr Reginald Schwarze, the donor of the rev counter, was given the instrument in 1958 by Mr Goulden who probably acquired it at the auction of Japanese submarine parts.

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