Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial

The Society

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 in January 1942, many of whom are believed to have perished on the Montevideo Maru when it was torpedoed off the Philippines on 1 July 1942. The major objective of the Society was to have a memorial erected in memory of those lost. This objective was achieved when a memorial was unveiled at the Australian War Memorial on 1 July 2012. Following this, the members of the Society resolved that it should be wound up, with its assets and remaining objectives being transferred to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia.

Vale Lorna Johnston

Lorna (Whyte) Johnston passed away on 30 September 2013, aged 98 years. She was an outstanding Australian who inspired so many with her courage and joy for life. As an Army nurse Lorna was taken prisoner by the Japanese in January 1942 in Kokopo, East New Britain, PNG, and endured over three years captivity in Japan. A true Australian, Lorna's spirit of forgiveness was heartfelt.

Lorna was a generous supporter of the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial from the start, always remembering those who had been in Rabaul with her. Along with Sister Berenice Twohill, Lorna inspired the ABC telemovie Sisters of War. What a tremendous ambassador for Australia!

Our special thoughts go to her family.

Lorna's funeral will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday 4 October 2013.

More information about her life is in this article from The Aucklander.

70th Anniversary - 2012

The 70th Anniversary of the sinking of the Montevideo Maru was marked by the dedication of a memorial at the Australian War Memorial and a Commemorative Luncheon. Further information is here and photos of the Memorial are here. A DVD of the luncheon and dedication is now available: details here.

Phil Ainsworth, President of the Society, recently presented His Excellency Charles Lepani, PNG High Commissioner to Australia, with two photographs of the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial in recognition of Papua New Guinea's contribution towards the Memorial.

The National Archives of Australia has also launched a new website featuring a Japanese passenger list for the Montevideo Maru, recently gifted to Australia from the Japanese Government.  See more here.  For an English translation of the Japanese passenger list, click here.


Copyright 2011-13
Papua New Guinea Association of Australia