Today Taylors Bay, located between Bradleys Head and Chowder Head, in Sydney Harbour is a very peaceful spot with a beautiful little secluded beach and anchored boats bobbing on the water. In 1942 it is what was bobbing under the water that brought Taylors Bay into the limelight.
On the night of the 31 May 1942 three Japanese midget submarines, launched from larger submarines off the coast, entered Sydney Harbour, intent on attacking Allied warships.
The resultant Battle of Sydney, as it has euphemistically become known, lasted less than 24 hours. It resulted in the loss of the HMAS Kuttabul and 21 Australian sailors, though the intended target was the cruiser USS Chicago, in port at the time. All three of Japan’s midget submarines were destroyed and their crews killed (suicides), though the wreckage of one of the submarines was not found until 2006.
One of the submarines (M22) was sunk here in Taylors Bay after various attempts to scuttle it elsewhere in the Harbour. The crew of two shot themselves rather than face capture.
The conning tower of M22 in now on display in the RAN Heritage Centre on Garden Island (very worthy a visit) and a composite submarine (pictured below), comprising parts of the two submarines recovered from the harbour in 1942, is on display in the excellent Australian War Memorial in Canberra. I have referred to this submarine in one of my reviews on the Australian War Memorial – Aircraft and Anzac Halls – Australian War Memorial.
Fuller detail (including pictures of the M22 Conning Tower) on the Japanese attack on Sydney Harbour is included in my separate review – M22 and the Japanese Attack on Sydney Harbour.
The small beach and bay can only be reached on foot, unless you have access to a boat. I recommend you view Taylors Bay (or indeed go down to the water at this point) by partaking of the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk, one of the nicest walks on the harbour, and accordingly, one on which I have written a separate review.
The attached pictures, in addition to showing the composite submarine referred to, include two of the bay taken from the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk and a couple of shots taken along the track itself, in the vicinity of Taylors Bay.