$165,000 To Support Overseas Memorials To Australian Heroism And Sacrifice

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21st April 2008, 12:51pm - Views: 1027

Government Government Minister For Veterans' Affairs 1 image

The Hon Alan Griffin MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs


Monday 21 April 2008 



The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin, today announced $165,000 in funding to help

restore four overseas war memorials honouring Australian heroism and sacrifice.

Mr Griffin said the funding, made available through the Overseas Privately-Constructed

Memorials Restoration Program, would help restore and preserve memorials at Stadil in

Denmark, Sabah in Malaysia, Honiara in the Solomon Islands, and Fovant in England.

“Each of these memorials tell a tale of Australian heroism and sacrifice on foreign shores, and

have been built and maintained for decades by local communities,” Mr Griffin said.

“Due to various circumstances, including age and weather, they are in need of work to restore

and preserve them.”

Mr Griffin said the story behind the Stadil memorial in Denmark was a powerful reminder of the

courage of Australians who served and died overseas.

“The Stadil memorial was built by the local community 65 years ago, and was dedicated to the

eight airmen who died when their Lancaster Bomber was shot down near the town.

“The airmen, four of whom were Australians, managed to steer the damaged Lancaster away

from the village before it crashed, saving many lives, but not their own.  As a mark of gratitude

and respect, the local community erected a wooden cross at the crash site, and later a plaque,

which they have tended over the years. The Australian Government’s grant of $15,100 will help

ensure the site is protected into the future.”

Funding of up to $200,000 is made available each year to help restore and preserve overseas

memorials, through the Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorials Restoration Program, which

is administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“Although the four memorials mentioned are not official Australian memorials, the Government

recognises the contribution of the communities in honouring our men and women who served

overseas,” Mr Griffin said.

“Through this program, we can help ensure that the legacy of those who served our nation are

remembered for generations to come.”

For more information about the Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorials Restoration

133 254.  Overseas callers please contact +61 02 6289 6184.

Media inquiries: Laura Ryan 0437 863 109

Editors note: Details of memorials and their funding are attached.

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RAAF EE138 Lancaster Memorial

In September 1943, a RAAF Lancaster Bomber EE138 was shot down near the village of Stadil,

Denmark after a bombing mission to Germany.  Four Australian airmen were part of an eight-

man crew who died on impact.  All but one of the men’s remains are buried in the ground within

the fuselage of the plane.  The only recoverable remains are buried in the SvinØ graveyard.

The existing memorial consists of a granite commemorative stone inscribed with the names of

all eight crewmen and information about the tragedy in English, Danish and German.  Weather

has significantly eroded the site and it is proposed that a more durable replacement memorial

be made of bronze and stone.  The foundations and supports will also be renovated and

bollards erected to secure and preserve the site.

Funding of $15,100 has been granted to the applicant, Peter Forrester of South Australia, who

is a nephew of Flying Officer Milton Forrester who lost his life in the crash.  Mr Forrester will be

managing the memorial refurbishment project with help from the original land owners, the

Halkjaer family, with a dedication of the new memorial on 4 September 2008––the 65th

anniversary of the crash.

Kundasang Memorial Gardens

The Kundasang Memorial Gardens in Sabah, Malaysia, were established in 1962 and were one

of the first memorials to commemorate the 2428 Australian and British Prisoners of War (PoWs)

who died in Sandakan and during the death marches to Ranau in World War II.  The memorial

also honours the people of North Borneo who risked their lives to help the prisoners.

The memorial comprises four gardens representing the three different nationalities––Australian,

English, and those from Borneo.  There is also a Contemplation Garden.

A grant of about $128,000 (RM363,510) would go toward protecting and preserving the site,

including secure perimeter fencing and a gallery and audio visual building to house photos and

memorabilia from families of the PoWs.  These items are currently displayed in an open

structure, exposed to tropical weather.  The building will also house a theatre allowing visitors to

watch a documentary on the Sandakan-Ranau death march.

HMAS Canberra Memorial

In August 1942, HMAS Canberra was destroyed by torpedoes and gunfire during the Battle of

Savo Island (Solomon Islands), and was subsequently scuttled.  Eighty-four men lost their lives

and 109 were injured.

The original memorial to the Canberra was located in the grounds of Vilu Private Museum in the

Solomon Islands, but was destroyed several years ago during tensions within the country.  The

HMAS Canberra/Shropshire Association, named after Canberra’s replacement, HMAS

Shropshire, proposed a project to provide a memorial and plaque at a more secure and publicly

accessible location––the Police Memorial Park, Honiara, overlooking Savo Island.

After support from the Australian Naval Association, the Honiara Beautification Committee and

the Australian High Commission in the Solomon Islands, a grant of $6000 has been approved

by the Australian Government.

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Rising Sun Badge, Fovant

During World War I, the village of Fovant, England, was a main campsite for Commonwealth

troops.  In honour of their colleagues who died, many of the regiments staying in the area

carved replicas of their cap badges into the chalk hillsides.  The largest of the badges was the

Australian Commonwealth Military Force Rising Sun Badge.

The local community maintained the badges until World War II when they were left to overgrow

to disguise the area from enemy aircraft.  After the war, the Fovant Home Guard platoons

formed themselves into what is now known as The Fovant Badges Society and undertook the

task of restoration.  The Australian Government contributes $3000 annually to assist with the

maintenance of the Rising Sun Badge, however the image was badly damaged by heavy rain

during the wettest English summer on record in 2007 and additional restoration work is now


A grant of about $16,000 (£7000) has been provided to restore the chalk image of the Rising

Sun Badge at Fovant.

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