A place for people to remember and honour the sacrifice
More than anything, the relatives and friends of those who died in and around Rabaul, in the New Guinea Islands and on the Montevideo Maru, whether they perished in the armed forces or as civilians caught in the maelstrom of war, seek some form of tangible official recognition.
“These young men gave their lives to fight for their country and protect their families. Grandchildren still feel the sadness of their parents’ and grandparents’ loss. I question why anyone would want to go to war if they know that sacrificing their life for their country will not matter to anyone but their family.”
“If men are sent to fight an unwinnable battle with obsolete weapons and abandon them and not even mention them in our history books, what sort of message does this give Australians?”
“Knowing soldiers are valued and honoured from previous battles must also help tremendously with troop morale, knowing that at least their own sacrifice will be honoured if they die.”
– Gillian Nikakis
The events were catastrophic for both the residents of the New Guinea islands, then an Australian administered territory, and the troops of Lark Force and the 1 Independent Coy sent to the islands in early 1941. Families were torn apart, loved ones missing and there were many unanswered questions.
In early 1942 the Australians were ill prepared for the Japanese onslaught and the New Guinea islands were sacrificed.
A permanent Australian national memorial will provide the men who died with a lasting tribute and the honourable recognition they deserve.