CANBERRA now has a memorial for Vice-Admiral Sir John Crace, the navy commander whose taskforce blocked the Japanese invasion of Port Moresby during World War II.
Fittingly, the memorial, which also remembers the people he led in battle, overlooks the suburb of Crace, Canberra's newest residential locality and the place where Sir John grew up.
The suburb was not named after the well-known navy commander. It was named after his father, Edward, an early settler and it was the developers of the suburb, CIC Australia, that built the memorial estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The memorial was unveiled yesterday 70 years after the Battle of the Coral Sea and 12 months after two veterans of the battle suggested a memorial should be built in Sir John's honour.
The two veterans, Gordon Johnson and Derek Holyoake, who first suggested the memorial in the pages of The Canberra Times, laid a wreath on the memorial.
Sir John's son, Christopher, came from England for the ceremony.
''I'm proud of my father and what he achieved and of those who served with him,'' Mr Crace, 86, said.
''Thank you Australia.''
Vice-Admiral Peter Jones told the crowd yesterday that Sir John trained in harsh conditions on the Royal Navy's training ship HMS Britannia, where they bathed with a bucket of cold sea water before starting the day.
''[Sir John] sailed on every ocean in the world,'' he said.
In the war, Sir John, who had already broken ground by becoming the first Australian to command the Australian Squadron, made history as the first Australian to command a joint Australian-American taskforce.
He commanded taskforce 44 from April 22, 1942, to June 13, 1942.
Sir John's flagship, the cruiser HMAS Australia, was part of a force that included two other cruisers, HMAS Hobart and USS Chicago.
They were backed up during the battle by two destroyers, USS Perkins and USS Whipple. A third destroyer, USS Farragut, joined Sir John's command on May 7.