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Grant to commemorate Second World War hero



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Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Friday, 21 January 2010 VA004

GRANT TO COMMEMORATE SECOND WORLD WAR HERO

A memorial in Malaysia marking the site of an Australian serviceman’s act of heroism during the Second World War will be refurbished with the help of an Australian Government grant, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Warren Snowdon announced today.

“The Beaufort Memorial, Malaysia, marks the area where Private Tom Starcevich of the 2/43rd Battalion single-handedly took on a series of Japanese defensive positions in June 1945 and was later awarded a Victoria Cross for his bravery,” Mr Snowdon said.

On 27 June, the 2/32nd and 2/43rd Battalions of the 9th Australian Division had fought their way into Beaufort, Sabah, while Australian companies positioned outside the town engaged the Japanese trying to escape. The following morning, as Australian troops patrolled the surrounding jungle, Private Starcevich destroyed four machine gun posts which were holding up his platoon’s advance.

Private Starcevich originally from Subiaco, Western Australia, survived the War and the Beaufort Memorial was later built by locals in the area who had been liberated by the Australians.

“To ensure the actions of Private Starcevich and the other Australians who fought and liberated the area are always remembered, the Australian Government has provided a $15,000 grant under the Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorial Restoration Program to refurbish the Beaufort Memorial,” Mr Snowdon said.

Mr Snowdon said the funding would help to clean and refurbish the memorial, landscape the surrounding gardens, improve access to the memorial for visitors and build sheltered seating.

“This grant will help to ensure more people can enjoy the Beaufort Memorial and learn about the important wartime history of this region and the heroic efforts of Private Starcevich,” he said.

“I encourage Australians travelling overseas to visit the Overseas Memorials Database to find out more about memorials located in the area they are travelling to.”

The Australian Government’s Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorial Restoration Program provides funding to restore existing memorials outside Australian territory which directly commemorate Australia’s military involvement in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations and recognise the contribution of Australian servicemen and women.

More than $520,000 has been spent on Program projects since the Labor Government took office. For more information on the Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorial Restoration Program visit the DVA website.

Editors note: Images of Private Starcevich and the Memorial are available at www.dva.gov.au/media.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 Dept of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203