Rabaul & Montevideo Maru MemorialPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Ian Bevege / Russell Byers

The monument commemorates Australians who died in the defence of Rabaul, and those who later died as prisoners in the sinking of the Japanese ship the Montevideo Maru. It was unveiled on the 70th anniversary of the sinking. 

On July 1, 1942, more than 1,000 Australians perished when the Japanese navy ship Montevideo Maru was torpedoed by the American submarine, USS Sturgeon, off the coast of the Philippines.

The Montevideo Maru was not marked as a prisoner of war ship, and 845 prisoners of war and 209 civilians are thought to have been locked in the hold when it was sunk.

The "Lark Force" plaque in the Australian War Memorial grounds also commemorates this event



Address:Fairbairn & Limestone Avenues, Eastern Precinct, Australian War Memorial, Campbell, 2600
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.281578
Long: 149.148893
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Designer:Johnson Pilton Walker (architects)
Artist:James Parrett


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 1st July, 2012
Front Inscription

James Parrett
Rabaul & Montevideo Maru Memorial
stainless steel
acquired under commission in 2012

In memory of those killed in the defence of Rabual and the New Guinea Islands and those who later died as prisoners in the sinking ot the Montevideo Maru.

Many Australians lost their lives during and in the aftermath of the Japanese invasion in January 1942.  Some were executed while trying to escape. About 150 were massacred at Tol Plantation, and others succumbed to illness and hunger.  Most became prisoners of war, their fate unknown until 1945.

In late June 1942, more than 1,000 Australian servicemen and civilian internees left Rabaul aboard the Montevideo Maru.  All perished when the unmarked ship was torpedoed by an American submarine off the coast of the Philippines on 1 July.  It remains Australia's greatest maritime tragedy. This was one of serveral incidents in which Japanese ships carrying Australian prisoners were unwittingly sunk by Allied forces.

The artist was inspired by circular 'wave-like` forms, with the large sweeping curves conveying both the power of the sea and the magnitude of the tragedy.

This memorial was unveiled by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, on 1 July 2012

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design