Sunday, April 30, 2017


Australian  Prime  Minister Malcolm Turnbull  is soon to  meet  President Donald  Trump  aboard the  WWll aircraft carrier  USS Intrepid ,  part  of the  75th anniversary of  the  Battle of the Coral Sea  celebrations .  When  the  two gather  they will  undoubtedly  , justifiably, speak  of the historic  maritime battle,  said to have  been  the greatest  ever  ,  and  the  part played  by  both countries. However,   in   Townsville, the  large  garrison  town lapped by the  Coral Sea , in a prime waterfront position,  sits   the  neglected, rusting    anchor  from  an American aircraft  carrier, the USS  Coral Sea , presented  to  Australia   to  mark the  50th anniversary of  the  massive   sea  battle   which   had a   major  affect   on the  Japanese  advance .
Commissioned in 1947 , the  USS Coral Sea , a  Midway Class carrier  , above,  was  so named   to commemorate the  Coral Sea Battle . The  anchor from it  , a  gift  from  America  to  the Townsville City Council ,  was  presented  on  May 8  1992  by  the  Commander of  the  US 7th Fleet  and former  commanding officer  of the  USS  Coral Sea , Vice Admiral Stanley R. Arthur.The  memorial   was erected  by  the Townsville City  Council and the Townsville Port Authority .  
With the efflux of time , details of the presentation  are  almost illegible on the smaller  plaque , above , which  contains   the    presentation  details . The larger  plaque  , below,  installed by  the  Townsville Port Authority , commemorates   the role   of the  port in  defence of  Australia in  two World  Wars  and is also  in  an  unsatisfactory  condition.  

  Patches of rust  are visible  through the white coating  of  the anchor .

 That this situation has been allowed to continue in  a  military garrison  city  is hard to understand . The  anchor   is  in  a  position  not  far  from where   Townsville Enterprise  Limited  was   based - in  the so called  Enterprise House-   until  it moved on to  some other hub-but  apparently  nobody  from  that   organisation, the  Townsville City  Council and the Townsville Port A uthority  seemed  to  notice   that  the  anchor in  its  present  state  , evident over  years , was  not  a good  look   for  the  city , insulting to the Americans  , Australians  and   others  who  fought  in  that  Coral Sea  epic , and  should  be rectified  ASAP.  
This blog  raised the neglect  of the memorial  on May 4, 2015, the  73rd anniversary of the battle , headed  CORAL SEA BATTLE ANNIVERSARY  BOMBS OUT, saying it  was a  Townsville disgrace.

At the time , it pointed out  the Murdoch Townsville Bulletin marked the occasion   with a report  about   a ceremony at  Cardwell  ,  saying  "600  American and   Australian  soldiers" had   fallen in the   battle. A reader  responded by saying  his father had  been in  the Coral Sea Battle    aboard   HMAS Australia, which  involved sailors, not  soldiers.   

 Our post , on a  vital local  issue , sank without  trace .  It seems you need  to  deliver  a broadside  like  a  battleship  with  the fire  power of  the USS Missouri's 16  inch  guns  on  the   local  media  and  other organisations   before  they   understand   the   significance  of    high   explosive   incoming   mail  .

At the weekend  , there has been   another  Coral Sea Battle  commemoration at  Cardwell ; the  Townsville  Bulletin , still unaware  of  the  sorry state  of the  Coral Sea   anchor  and  plaques  , because  it is obviously out of touch with  its own  patch and appears to have run aground , ran   a  two  page  historical   feature  about  the   battle .  

When a special  dawn ceremony   was   held in  Townsville's  Anzac Park   at the above  "official  Coral Sea Battle  memorial "  , on May 1,  wreaths were laid  ,  this  was  the  scene, below,    soon   after   at  the  nearby   Coral Sea   anchor ... not  one  wreath . 
You can bet your   last  Yankee dollar,  had the   Americans  been  made aware  by  Townsville 's  protocol and   venue   team   that    there  was a  special  memorial   in the  city, centred around  an anchor from  a  US Navy  aircraft carrier ,   to mark  the  50th anniversary , that   it would have been the subject of  at  least   one  floral  tribute ,  perhaps  a  special  ceremony .

At the nearby official ceremony , the  fountain   marking   the centenary of   Queensland  breaking  away  from   the colony of  New South Wales  was  still not  working .  However ,  several   Kenny  type  portable   toilets were  strategically  placed  nearby  should  the  need  arise  for  a  water  display . 

A  further ceremony  was  performed   on the flight  deck of HMAS  Choules   off  Townsville  where  some of  the  dignitaries  from the   dawn service were   choppered   in , wreaths  thrown into the Coral Sea  . Those involved   included the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove, Minister  for  Defence  Marise Payne , Tadayuki Miyashita , representing the Japanese  Ambassador   to Australia  and  Amanda Rishworth MP, representing  the Leader of  the Opposition , Bill  Shorten .   
UPCOMING : Other Townsville  port  issues.