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New memorial to commemorate 1053 Australians lost on the Montevideo Maru.

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Wed, 1st July 2009

New memorial to commemorate 1053 Australians lost on the Montevideo Maru

Louise Markus MP Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs

“The unveiling of a new plaque to commemorate Australian prisoners of war and civilians lost when the Montevideo Maru sank after being torpedoed off the Philippines in World War II is welcomed” said Louise Markus.

The sinking of the Montevideo Maru with the loss of 1053 Australian prisoners of war and civilians on I July 1942 is the greatest single tragedy in Australia’s maritime history but more importantly it is one of our lesser known. Those who perished had been previously captured and held by the Japanese at Rabaul on the Island of New Britain in what is now known as Papua New Guinea.

“I understand that the new plague will be unveiled by the Australian Ambassador on the 67th anniversary of the sinking on 1 July at the Hell Ships Memorial in the Philippines.

“It is important to thank and acknowledge those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, a sacrifice that has contributed to the peace we enjoy today.

“But there is still more to do for the families of these heroes. I urge the Australian Government to do everything that it can to locate the resting place of the Montevideo Maru” said Louise Markus.

In April 2008 a spokesperson for the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd said the Government would consider the idea of a fundraising appeal to find the ship.

In June 2009 my parliamentary colleague Steve Ciobo tabled a series of petitions on behalf of 1,295 Australians calling on the Rudd Government to fund the search for the ship.

“I call on the Government to respond so that families who lost their loved ones can have closure” said Louise Markus.