Sunday, March 16, 2008


The woman waits and waits. She looks out west to the Indian Ocean from a hill in Geraldton, Western Australia. She is part of one of the most moving war memorials I have ever visited, the memorial to the 645 men who were lost when the HMAS Sydney ll went down with all hands on 19 November 1941 after a battle with the German merchant raider Kormoran. The Sydney was the largest vessel of any nation to be lost with no survivors during World War ll.

The reason for the loss of the Sydney has long been a source of mystery and controversy, with various conspiracy theories floating around, not least because the wreck of the Sydney was never found.

Or never found until now. The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd announced a few hours ago that a government-funded search has found the wrecks of the Sydney and the Kormoran off the Western Australian coast. Further probes of the site are planned in a hope to solve the mystery of what really happened.

But for now the woman waits and watches. And, behind her, a flock of 645 interlocking steel gulls (one for every man that perished on the Sydney) fly forever over the memorial site.

1 comment:

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

It's truely a mystery-solved. Part of Australian nautical legend, is the loss of HMAS Sydney. Having it found is a huge step for us, in some subconscius way.

Your pics of the Geralton memorial are great too... I hope to get across there one day too. It *is* an inspirational and touching tribute.

Mal :)

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