Rabaul & Montevideo Maru Memorial News, March 2019
Australian War Memorial Re-development
The Australian War Memorial has developed a detailed proposal to the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia to fund a major redevelopment of the Memorial’s galleries and precinct, and create a guiding vision for the next 50 years.
The area appears to surround the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial so we have contacted the AWM and have been assured that the project is in its earliest days and only just commencing procurement and planning. The design is yet to be confirmed.
It was clarified that all ideas are conceptual at this stage – architects will be briefed soon and can then start to formulate designs.
It is expected that the project will take about 10 years and there will be 4 stages:
1. Anzac Hall
2. Glass Atrium
3. Under the front building
4. Outside Poppies café (which is near the memorial)
They acknowledge PNGAA/ Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Group as a key stakeholder and that we will be kept informed.
What’s On? The 77th anniversary will be held during the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1 July 2019. Please email Andrea Williams (email@example.com) if you will be attending and for further information.
The WW2 New Guinea Islands Education Package encourages students and adults to explore the significance of WWII in the Papua New Guinea islands and what the start of the Pacific War in 1942 meant for Australia, including the massacres at Tol, Waitavalo and Gasmata in early February 1942 and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru on 1 July 1942.
It is an outstanding resource which complements the Australian History curriculum for secondary students and can be taught in one or two lessons. All information is available online through our Rabaul and Montevideo Maru website. https://www.memorial.org.au/Education/index.htm
Do you know of a school near you which might be interested? With Anzac Day approaching, schools are finding this story offers a new perspective for them. Let your local school know YOUR history!! Encourage their library to purchase the book ‘When the War Came: New Guinea Islands 1942’ as a school resource! It is available through the PNGAA – https://pngaa.org/site/blog/2017/06/14/pngaarmvm-book-when-the-war-came-new-guinea-islands-1942-available-from-1-july-2017/
Kylie Adams-Collier wins Brumby Awards Heritage Song of the Year for her song ‘Montevideo Maru 1942’.
Another win for Touring songwriter on Kross Kut Records, national radio host with Good Morning Country Network and OZCMR Feature Artist Kylie Adams-Collier for the Heritage Song ‘Montevideo Maru 1942’, at the Brumbies Tamworth Country Music Festival. She was also a semi- finalist in the Tamworth Songwriters Salute Awards for Best Anzac Song ‘Montevideo Maru 1942’.
What a fabulous ambassador Kylie is for this incredible Australian story and we congratulate her!
Kylie Adams-Collier won Best New Talent in the Stan Coster Memorial Australian Bush Ballad Awards with her song ‘On a Sandstone Ridge’ at the 2019 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
This prestigious award adds to Kylie’s growing collection of awards for her Little Stone album on Kross Kut Records. Kylie recently supported the PNGAA and Rabaul and Montevideo Maru with a donation from the sales of the Little Stone CD which includes ‘Montevideo Maru 1942’. If you wish to buy it, go to: http://www.krosskutrecords.com.au/KKR209-Kylie-Adams-Collier-Little-Stone?fbclid=IwAR16uiQ4dTK0o2-aXyn4Z7c6Gj_xYYr_Lh8bB1y-A-At0tK5TSaM7RKAEvM
Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial Sculptor wins Prestigious Sculptures by the Sea Award in Sydney
Congratulations to James Parrett for winning the prestigious 2018 Sculptures By the Sea prize in October 2018. James was the sculptor who created the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial, located at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Parrett’s work, ‘M-forty six’ won the Aqualand Award, worth $70,000, over 76 other artworks.
This is the most generous award in the Southern Hemisphere for sculpture, as well as one of the most sought-after awards in the world.
Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi began in 1997 as a one-day exhibition which was run by volunteers. It featured works by 64 artists, and was attended by 25,000 visitors. Since then, the event has grown to become the largest annual sculpture exhibition in the world, featuring numerous esteemed international artists. It is enjoyed by approximately 450,000 visitors over 3 weeks.
Parrett accepted his award with heartfelt gratitude. The artwork was described by him as ‘an examination of circles and how they work together’.
It will be permanently installed in Headland Park, Mosman, near where Ten Terminal is located.
‘Receiving an award like this is something that I have allowed myself to daydream about from time to time, but never expected to happen! After getting that call from David Handley and having a surreal and giddy sleepless night, I am just so excited and humbled to be the recipient of the Aqualand Sculpture Award. A big thank you to Aqualand for their generosity,’ he said. ‘I can’t wait to see M-forty six at its new home in Headland Park and hope the public will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.
His solo exhibitions include Line and ARC at Gould Gallery (Melbourne), and commissions include The Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
‘War Diary 1942’
Written by George Johnson, and published by Williams Collins Pty Ltd in 1984, this is the immediate observations and insights into the day to day conflicts and the disease, hunger and conditions faced by individual servicemen.
The existence of this diary only became general knowledge in 1979 when it turned up amongst a gathering of books and papers offered for sale in the United States.
It has found its way back to Australia and joins an existing collection of Johnson’ literary papers in the National Library in Canberra.
Invasion Force Nears Rabaul
Japanese attacks are increasing in severity. Bombs were dropped on Kieta [on Bougainville], in the Solomons, Tulagi and Bulolo. At Bulolo Carpenter’s Lockheed was on the drome. The junior pilot, Clive Bernard, ran along the tarmac through a hail of machine gun bullets, took the big plane off single handed through falling bombs and escaped down the valley with Jap fighters pursuing him for nine miles. At 9.00 am enemy planes hammered Rabaul. A second attack came an hour later when the Praed Point fort was dive bombed and machine gunned for fifty minutes. The Australians did not give up until every gun and every search light had been blown from the ground. At 1 pm five Japanese transports, three heavy cruisers and three destroyers were sighted north of Wanton Island [ten miles north-west of Rabaul]. In Rabaul itself men of the 2/22 Battalion AIF and Militia and Permanent went to prepared defence positions, while engineer parties worked right through the 24 hours carrying out demolition work in the town and defence installations. The Japanese ships dropped anchor in the lee of Wanton Island, but the expected attack did not come. All RAAF machines not destroyed had left for Gasmata. At 4pm Rabaul radio station went off the air.
Evacuees Appeal to Australian Governor-General
The evacuees treatment by Minister and Prime Minister was bitterly resented because, in their unanimous opinion, they were ‘up against a stone wall’. Members of the Pacific Territories’ Association (evacuees from New Guinea and Papua), at a largely-attended meeting in Sydney Australia (the Duke of Gloucester), asked for assistance in returning to their homes.
The executive reported that, during the preceding three months, although the Ministers and high officials had been appealed to, no reassurance (or even information could be obtained in regard to the time when they would be allowed to return to the Territories or the probable conditions of their return. Canberra displayed the utmost indifference concerning the plight of the hundreds of people whose homes and interests were in the Territories.
Speaker after speaker reminded the meeting of the events of the past 3 ½ years. They had assumed that, as the Territories people were the only Australian civilians to be directly affected by Japanese invasion, the Australian Government would have been anxious to assist in their rehabilitation. They imagined that, as soon as the Japs were driven out, civilians would have been encouraged and assisted to return to their homes. Instead, two years after the Japs had been cleared out of the Territories south of the Markham, the Territories still were in military occupation. Instead of the districts, as they were liberated, being restored to the care of civilian Government and of civilians generally, all sorts of Government instrumentalities had been introduced and had taken control. Only a few civilians had been allowed to return – the remainder apparently were to be kept out indefinitely. No commercial concerns whatever had been admitted – Canberra’s policy apparently was that private enterprise should either be reduced to the utmost of kept out altogether, whilst its place was taken by the Government-owned Production Control Board – which controls not only all production, but all trading, all labour, and all transport.
It was pointed out that, for more than two years, Territorians had been appealing to the Minister for External Territories, Mr Ward; but that gentleman had refused to see them, had fobbed off their written communications with assurances that ‘the matter will receive consideration’; and finally had ignored their letters altogether. Then they had appealed to the Prime Minister – to Mr Curtin and, after his death, to Mr Chifley; but all they could get from those functionaries was that ‘the matters were under consideration’. Appeals for interviews with the Prime Minister were ignored.
It was recalled that, over a year ago, a section of Territorians had moved for an appeal to Britain and the United States – an appeal that the control of those Territories be taken away from Australia, and placed in the hands of other authorities, with some sense of human rights and justice.
‘We Europeans have all lost our homes and the results of a lifetime’s work, hundreds of our civilians have been killed, hundreds more have given pretty distinguished service in the armed forces – and yet we are treated this way by Australia. I never believed such a thing was possible.’
Mrs Wilmott (New Guinea) reminded the meeting that on a famous occasion in New South Wales, when a democratically elected Government ran amok, under Mr Lang, and seriously interfered with the fundamental rights of the people, the Government was summarily dismissed by the State Governor, Sir Philip Game. Other speakers pointed out that the European residents of the Territories, believing themselves treated with injustice, had tried the few legal and constitutional means available to them to get relief, and had been ignored by the Federal Government. The only course now left open to them was to appeal to the Crown.
The meeting unanimously adopted a resolution, instructing the executive to take all steps necessary to place before the Governor-General, in proper form, a statement of the present unhappy condition of the Territories evacuees, and an appeal for assistance.
Excerpt from Pacific Islands Monthly, October 1945
Australia – where are Kabakaul, Herbertschohe and Bitapaka?
ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney, has recently been refurbished.
One brief tribute to PNG includes a very detailed 1905 German map of Papua New Guinea with the following description:
‘Sailors of the RAN saw their first action as part of the AN&MEF in German New Guinea. Landing on the shore of Kabakaul Bay near Herbertschohe on 11 September 1914, they advanced inland and captured the German wireless station at Bitapaka. During the fighting one German soldier and 30 pro German Melanesians were killed, and the Australians suffered seven killed or died of wounds and five wounded.
Now, I wonder how many Australians know of this first decisive battle as a nation? How many know it was German New Guinea before Australia sent the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) to New Britain in 1914 and it became a League of Nations Mandated Territory of Australia. And how many could locate those place names?
Surely this significant memorial, a place of commemoration and education, is the place to mention that this was Australia’s first action as a combined marine landing of navy and army to directly protect Australia in WWI? And that this occurred on 11 September 1914, just a few weeks after WWI commenced? Australia’s action at this crucial start of WWI was significant and yet barely known or explained!
There are no arrows indicating where Kabakaul, Herbertschohe or Bitapaka is and, for a bit of trivia, how many of you know the German names of PNG towns?
It continues to surprise how little education there is in Australia’s history especially in relation to its nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea – a country it took to a peaceful Independence.
Hostages to Fortune – a documentary film by James Nightingale
Director of Hostages to Fortune, James Nightingale, says: ‘I first learnt about this story as a child listening to my grandmother replaying her own memories out loud. Her family being forced from their home and witnessing the death of her father. A story, as a boy, I simply accepted as life.
It wasn’t until I decided as an adult to explore the reasons why, that I realised how little is known and even mentioned about this monumental conflict.’
Hostages To Fortune is currently in development stages although some production has begun with a number of primary interviews already shot. Our next step is to tackle our principal photography in Papua New Guinea.
If you or your business would like to be involved in the project and help tell this important and historic story, contact our team to discuss our sponsorship packages.
Thanks to Documentary Australia Foundation all donations over $2 are now tax deductible.
Please note that PNGAA offers this information to members but accepts no responsibility and any decision to donate is personal.
Further information and contact details: https://www.hostagestofortune.com/inside-the-project.html; www.hostagestofortune.com
James Nightingale firstname.lastname@example.org
The Queensland Premier’s Anzac Prize
The Queensland Premier’s Anzac Prize has included information about the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru education package. It is included in the Anzac Prize resources at
The Premier’s Anzac Prize provides the opportunity for high school students to experience the Anzac tradition first-hand and how the Anzac legacy relates to modern Australian life.
All eligible Queensland high school students in Years 8-11 can apply for travel the following year. Each state school or accredited non-state school may nominate up to two students.
Each year the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee organises the Anzac Day service for Queensland primary and high school students. The event takes place a few days before Anzac Day and prize recipients from previous years are invited to participate in this event.
When the War Came: New Guinea Islands 1942
Published to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Rabaul and the sinking of Montevideo Maru, this book brings into focus the actions and characters of young men who left home to willingly serve their country, and then literally vanished off the face of the earth; of nurses and missionaries who volunteered to stay to help both the war effort and the local people; and of civilians – both men and women – caught at home on WWII’s Pacific front line. Alongside are incredulous stories of escape and survival in an environment that threw every obstacle in their path.
Foreword by the Hon Peter Garrett, AM and introductory piece by Max Uechtritz.
Cost: $60.00 + $20.00 p&h within Australia
To purchase, please fill in the Treasurer’s Corner in Una Voce or order from our website at: https://pngaa.org/site/blog/2017/06/14/pngaarmvm-book-when-the-war-came-new-guinea-islands-1942-available-from-1-july-2017/