The Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society

Posted on 23 August 2019
Like 791

The Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society was established in 2009 to represent the interests of the families of the soldiers and civilians captured in Rabaul and the New Guinea Islands after the Japanese invasion of this Australian Territory in January 1942.

Many of these soldiers and civilians are believed to have died on the MS Montevideo Maru when this Japanese prisoner transport ship was sunk by an American submarine off the coast of The Philippines on 1 July 1942.

The major objective of the Society was to have a memorial erected in memory of those lost. The Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial was unveiled by the Australian Governor-General in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial on 1 July 2012. Following this, the Society closed in 2013, with its assets and remaining objectives being transferred to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia.

There is an education package for history teachers and students on the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society's website at This website also contains information on Kylie Adams-Collier's song, Montevideo Maru 1942, as well as the history book, When the War Came, and other information.   

The most reliable list of those lost on the MS Montevideo Maru is on the National Archives of Australia's Montevideo Maru website at 

A Last Post Ceremony is held each year on the anniversary of the sinking of the MS Montevideo Maru at the Australian War Memorial.

It was arguably the greatest Australian maritime tragedy which took the lives of over 1,000 Australians, civilian internees and POWs.