War Memorials in Australia
Sandakan Memorial, Canberra
Australian Capital Territory, 2600
District: Southern Tablelands (ACT)
Orientation: Suburb of Canberra
Location: Sculpture Garden, Australian War Memorial, Anzac Parade and Limestone Avenue
Position: 35 16 83 S 149 08 83 E
The memorial is made of carved and polished pink granite that rises in a long, low, oblong shape and incorporates a section of 40 panes of glass. The shape was inspired by the airfields that the men who are remembered by the memorial were forced to build by their Japanese captors. There are also four distinct platforms, representing the four years the men spent in captivity. The markings in the stone recall Sabah, the Land Below the Winds, where Sandakan is located.
The memorial, designed by sculptor Anne Ferguson, is in essence a simple sundial. On the summer and winter solstices and 11 November, the shadow cast by the sundial advances over three curved lines on the tiled base, marking the hours of the day. These shadows symbolise the passage of time and the permanence of memory.
IN MEMORY OF THE 1787 AUSTRALIAN
PRISONERS OF WAR WHO DIED
IN THE SANDAKAN DEATH MARCHES, IN BORNEO
IN THE FINAL MONTHS
OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
ONLY SIX SURVIVED THIS ATROCITY.
Polished pink granite plaque set in ground on east side of memorial
granite, sandstone and glass
The memorial was unveiled on 29 May 2005
Designed as an accurate sundial, the
memorial is rich in symbolism.
The memorial was dedicated on 29 May 2005. The Order of Ceremony and images of the proceedings are available here.
Information current to May 2005
Sources: Program for Dedication Ceremony produced by Australian War Memorial
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