AUSTRALIAN DIGNITARIES AND DESCENDANTS TO HONOUR LOST SOULS OF DISCOVERED SHIPWRECK MONTEVIDEO MARU
Event: Commemorative Dinner to honour lost souls of the Montevideo Maru found in April 2023.
Date: Monday, November 27, 2023.
Time: 6pm for 6.30pm Guest arrival.
Location: Aircraft Hall, The Australian War Memorial, Fairbairn Avenue, Campbell, Canberra.
What: Silentworld Foundation is pleased to invite you to cover a commemorative dinner to mark the recent discovery of the wartime shipwreck, the Montevideo Maru. The Japanese cargo ship torpedoed in 1942 resulted in nearly 1,100 lost souls, including 979 Australian soldiers and civilians – the greatest loss of life in Australia’s maritime history.
In attendance will be:
- 16 descendant families and representatives.
- Government VIPs, including Secretary of the Department of Defence Greg Moriarty; CEO of the Australian War Memorial Matt Anderson; Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond; and Chief of Army, Lt Gen Simon Stuart.
- Diplomatic VIPs, including Japanese Ambassador H.E. Kazuhiro Suzuki; PNG High Commissioner H.E. John Kali; Philippines Ambassador H.E. Helen De La Vega; Irish Ambassador H.E. Tim Mawe; and Norwegian Counselor Erik Svedahl.
- Business and cultural institution leaders, including Tim Joyce (Macquarie Group); Catherine Livingstone (Pacific National); Warren Duncan (Mazars); and Daryl Karp (Australian Maritime Museum).
- Expedition crew including Silentworld Foundation Director John Mullen; filmmaker and Founding Member, Montevideo Maru Society Max Uechtritz; and descendant & chair of the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society Andrea Williams.
Media backgrounder: story highlights (information and images) are available on request. These include:
- Three Turner brothers who lost their lives;
- Salvation Army band who perished in the tragedy;
- Indigenous soldier George Dalton; and
- Wallaby great Mac Ramsay
- 5:00pm: Media Access
- 6:00pm: Pre-event interviews (expedition crew and descendants)
- 6.30pm: Guest arrival
- 7.00pm: Guests seated - media depart (pool news crew in place)
RSVP: To confirm your attendance, please RSVP by Friday, November 25 to Karen Eck.
Credentials: Media representatives must bring a valid press ID and check in at the guest registration desk.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
About Silentworld Foundation
John and Jacqui Mullen are the founders and directors of the Silentworld Foundation. The not-for-profit organisation based in Sydney supports and promotes Australasian maritime archaeology, history, culture and heritage. It also operates a private museum dedicated to understanding our nation’s early maritime history and supports annual expeditions and other ventures seeking a greater understanding of our past. The discovery of the Montevideo Maru is another high-profile success story. Amongst others, in 2017 Silentworld participated in the finding of HMAS AE1, Australia’s first submarine. In 2009, the Foundation solved a 180-year mystery by locating the wreck site of HMCS Mermaid, lost on a coral reef off the Queensland coast in 1829. Website: https://silentworldfoundation.org.au
About the Montevideo Maru
In a groundbreaking discovery in April 2023, the wreckage of the Montevideo Maru, the Japanese transport ship that sank during World War II with approximately 979 Australian troops and civilians onboard, was located at a depth of over 4,000 meters off the coast of the Philippines. This tragic maritime disaster, the worst in Australia's history, occurred on July 1, 1942, when the USS Sturgeon torpedoed the ship, unaware that it carried prisoners of war and civilians captured in the fall of Rabaul. The finding, made possible by an extraordinary mission led by Sydney's Silentworld Foundation and Dutch company Fugro, concluded an enduring mystery that spanned 80 years. The discovery sheds light on a tragic chapter in Australia's military history and underscores the dedication of the Montevideo Maru Society, which, in collaboration with Silentworld, spent nearly five years planning and 20 years committed to bringing closure to the families of those lost at sea.
Karen Eck +61 438 532569, Karen@eckfactor.com
Media Assets HERE (including b-roll, images from the discovery and archives).