ART94537. James Parrett, Rabaul and Montevideo Maru memorial, 2012, stainless steel ART94537
James Parrett, Rabaul and Montevideo Maru memorial, 2012, stainless steel

In July 2012 a new memorial was dedicated in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial. Designed by noted Melbourne sculptor James Parrett, it commemorates those Australians who died in the defence of Rabaul, and those who later died as prisoners in the sinking of the Montevideo Maru.

Parrett has completed postgraduate studies in Fine Art and been a finalist in numerous sculpture awards. His work is held in public and private collections throughout Australia. “My immediate response was to create a work that would ‘protect’ the memory of the people who lost their lives as well as the tragedy of the event itself.”

Parrett sought to provide an abstract design for future generations that was timeless, both physically and aesthetically. The work is fabricated in stainless steel, and is approximately 3.5 metres high. The design is based on the manipulation of circular forms, and refers to themes of physical and personal journeys, and the ocean. This symbolic design provides a peaceful way of reflecting upon the fall of Rabaul and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru. An explanatory text panel has been placed adjacent to the memorial to provide a brief account of the events.

The Rabaul and Montevideo Maru memorial is located in the Memorial’s award-winning Eastern Precinct, designed by architects Johnson Pilton Walker, and is not far from the bronze sculpture of Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop. The site commands views across the National Service memorial and ANZAC Parade. 

There are photos of the dedication ceremony on our Flickr page.