National Archives website commemorates those who perished in Australia's worst maritime disaster

Media release: Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The National Archives of Australia will launch a new website on 1 July commemorating Australia's worst maritime disaster, the loss of the Montevideo Maru on 1 July 1942. More than 1000 prisoners of war and civilian internees were killed when the ship was torpedoed, most of them Australians. The launch of the website will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the disaster.

The website will feature the Archives' recently acquired list of those on board when the vessel was sunk. It is considered to be the most complete list available to date. The website will also include links to individual service records and other material in the National Archives' collection relating to people on the list.

The list of names, in both English and Japanese, was presented to Australia by the government of Japan earlier this year. It is now held by the National Archives, together with other prisoner-of-war records given at the same time. The list is being unveiled by Warren Snowdon, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, today and will remain on display for one week to coincide with 70th anniversary commemoration activities in Canberra.

The Japanese section of the list has been painstakingly translated, and the individual names linked on the new website to National Archives records where possible. Preservation experts at the National Archives have also conducted conservation work on the document to ensure its longevity.

'We hope this website will give the relatives of those who perished a chance to learn more about their loved ones and what information the National Archives holds on them,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives of Australia. 'Because they have no gravesite to visit, we hope this will provide a link where family members can pay tribute in their own way.'

Australians will be able to search for family members on the list, and link to additional materials the National Archives holds about many of those on board. They can also add their own photographs and stories as a tribute to their loved ones.

http://montevideomaru.naa.gov.au (from 1 July 2012)

Media can download high-res images of the list from www.naa.gov.au/about-us/media/images/montevideo-maru/index.aspx

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
  • Tara Nichols (Marketing Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3609 m 0430 026 612 e tara.nichols@naa.gov.au
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