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Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Ballarat








Information and photos supplied by Noel Rowsell, March 2004

His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffrey, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia; Hon. Danna Vale MP, Minister for Veterans Affairs (representing the Prime Minister) and Victorian Premier Steve Bracks were among the many dignitaries present at the opening of the new Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat, Vic on Friday 6th February, 2004.

It was a magnificent affair for the Victorian country town, with over 10,000 people attending the opening ceremony to help commemorate the memories of Australian soldiers from the two World Wars, the Boer War and the Korean War who were captured and held as prisoners of war.

Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial

Among the other dignitaries on hand for this magnificent occasion were General Peter Cosgrove AC MC (Chief of the Defence Force); Catherine King MP, Federal Member for Ballarat (representing the Leader of the Federal Opposition); Fred Hodel (National President of the Ex-Prisoners of War Association), Cr David Vendy (Mayor of the City of Ballarat); Major General Bill Crewes OA (President of the RSL); Bill Schmitt AM (Patron in Chief of National Ex-Prisoners of War Association); Mr David Baird OAM (Chairman of the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Appeal Committee); Brigadier David Welch (Director General Land Close Combat Systems - representing the Chief of the Australian Army); Captain Robert Richards (Commanding Officer HMAS Cerberus - representing the Chief of the Navy); Air Commodore Rodney Luke (Commander of Training Command - representing the Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force) and Robert Doyle (Leader of the Opposition, Victoria).

Among the many speeches, Cr David Vendy said "In the four theatres of war featured in this memorial, where more than 35,000 Australians had been held captive as prisoners of war.

Tragically, more than 8,000 of these brave young men and women never made it home, succumbing to the disease, deprivation and brutality of the respective camps.

Today provides a long-awaited opportunity for this nation to finally pay its respects to Australia's prisoners of war.
The sheer number of names is staggering, their sacrifice, courage and determination unforgettable".


Last updated 29/08/2022