Caloundra AHS Centaur Memorial

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Posted on 14 January 2019
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The Centaur Memorial and Park commemorates those lives tragically lost during the sinking of Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur by a Japanese submarine on 14 May 1943. A wreck site location map at the memorial shows the AHS Centaur wreck was located on 20 Dec 19 at a depth of 2059m approximately 100kms south east of the Caloundra Headland.

Centaur was originally a merchant ship built in Scotland and launched in 1924. Following Japan's invasion of Papua, Centaur was converted into a hospital ship with the aim to ferry sick and wounded soldiers from Port Moresby to Townsville. Centaur retained her civilian merchant navy crew which were supplemented by medical staff from the Australian Army - men from the Australian Army Medical Corps and women from the Australian Army Nursing Service. Centaur also received 28 crew from her sister ship the first Netherlands Military Hospital Ship 'Oranje' of which only ten survived.  Out of the total 332 people onboard, only 64 survived. Centaur had just commenced her third voyage to collect patients when she was sunk by a torpedo.

Plaques dedicated to the crew including the Centaur's skipper, Captain George A. Murray, can be found installed in the adjacent Caloundra Headland Memorial Walkway https://placesofpride.awm.gov.au/memorials/118111. Further information on AHS Centaur can be found on the Australian War Memorial site https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/blog/the-sinking-of-the-centaur.