Place Approximate locations: At sea
Accession Number ART27987
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 149.0 x 273.0 x 138.0 cm
Object type Sculpture
Physical description bronze
Location Main Bld: Outdoor Exhibition Area: Western Precinct
Maker Adams, Dennis
Turville Foundry
Place made Australia: New South Wales
Date made 1968-1973
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

This memorial commemorates the service and sacrifice of Australian merchant seamen who manned ships in all ports of the world during the First and Second World Wars. The support these men provided was vital to the success of the war effort. Merchant ships carried vital supplies and troops, but were vulnerable to enemy attack because they were generally slow, poorly armed and often loaded with dangerous cargoes.
Dennis Adams was an official war artist during the Second World War, commissioned to represent the activities of the Australian and US navies and the Merchant Marines in the South Pacific. He also worked in Britain, Rabaul and Japan. This piece was commissioned in 1968 and depicts a sea rescue. The Carley float has been canterleavered into a limestone wall, suspended in space to appear as though the event is happening in the ocean. Sailors are hauling in their fellow seamen, while waves crash over them. 'Survivors' indicates Adams interest in voluminous form, depicting dynamic movement and drawing the viewer into the emotional state of the rescue effort.