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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2486


Ms MADELEINE KING (Brand) (13:33): Seventy-six years ago today, the HMAS Perth and the USS Houston were both lost to the sea in the Battle of Sunda Strait. Three hundred and seventy-five Royal Australian Navy sailors of the HMAS Perth lost their lives. Six hundred and ninety-six sailors and marines serving on the USS Houston lost their lives. Of the survivors taken prisoner by the Japanese forces, 240 souls perished as prisoners of war.

The Sunda Strait connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean and lies between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. The Battle of Sunda Strait is among the most significant events in the history of the Royal Australian Navy. It is commemorated at the Rockingham Naval Memorial Park, where we are reminded of the sacrifices made in the defence of our nation and of others. A simple plaque reminds us of those souls that still are on watch in Sunda Strait. If you stand at the Naval Memorial Park in Rockingham and look to the west, you can clearly see Garden Island. It's about five kilometres off the coast of my home town and hosts HMAS Stirling, the largest base of the Australian Navy. You can see the ships of our Navy. Twelve fleet units, including the Anzac class frigates and the Collins class submarines, and the naval clearance diving team are some of the 70 units based at HMAS Stirling. The crews of all these units of the Australian Navy and of Stirling are the current guardians of the Australian naval tradition, and they're the proud successors of those that served and died 76 years ago. Lest we forget.