The purpose of the Society was to gain national recognition and greater understanding of the tragedy and its antecedents in the interests of relatives and the historical record.
The Montevideo Maru sinking is Australia’s most devastating loss at sea, but is a quiet part of public consciousness of World War II history. The military personnel lost in particular were a product of the first desperate efforts of the Australian Government to defend our immediate approaches.
Information about the Montevideo Maru is on the POW Research Network web site.
The Japanese occupation of Rabaul and the New Guinea islands produced many heroic Australian efforts at resistance and escape and an enormous Australian tragedy, both from massacres on land and the huge loss of life at sea. Honouring those who made the supreme sacrifice by ensuring this story remains firmly in our national consciousness is essential.
1. To appropriately memorialise the tragedy of the fall of Rabaul and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru
2. To facilitate comfort and closure in the minds of the victims’ relatives.
3. To secure national recognition and stimulate action to provide greater knowledge of the events that led to the fall of Rabaul and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru.
4. To locate the nominal roll brought back from Japan and deposited with Central Army Records that is believed to include the names of all the prisoners on board the Montevideo Maru.
5. To engage the Commonwealth in declaring the site of the sinking an official war grave.
6. To undertake whatever actions are necessary in the attainment of these objectives.
As these objectives were achieved by late 2012, the Society resolved that it should be wound up and have its residual activites and assets transferred to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia.