On 22 June 1942, 1053 civilian and military prisoners interned by Japanese invasion forces in Rabaul were transferred to the freighter, Montevideo Maru. Nine days later, on 1 July 1942, off the Philippines, the ship was torpedoed and sunk by the American submarine Sturgeon. All the prisoners died.
The Montevideo Maru Memorial Committee was established to gain official recognition of the sinking, to determine precisely who was on board at the time and to encourage further research into events in Rabaul that led to the tragedy. Mr Beazley has accepted the position of Patron of the Committee and I have been appointed Chairman.
Prof Beazley’s uncle, the Rev Sydney Beazley, who resided in Rabaul at the time of the Japanese invasion, was just 33 when he was believed lost on the Montevideo Maru.
Maru sinking is
“The military personnel lost in particular were a product of the first desperate efforts of the Australian Government to defend our immediate approaches.
“The Japanese occupation of Rabaul produced many heroic Australian efforts at resistance and escape and an enormous Australian tragedy, both from massacres on land and the huge loss of life at sea. Getting this story more firmly into our national consciousness is a noble effort,” Prof Beazley said
Prof Beazley’s ministerial career began in 1983 in the first Hawke Government. In December 1984, he became Australia's youngest ever Defence Minister. He also served as Special Minister of State, Minister for Transport and Communications, Finance Minister and Minister for Employment, Education and Training. He was twice Opposition Leader.
now professorial fellow in Political Science and
International Relations at the University of Western Australia.