Sandakan Prisoner of War MemorialPrint Page Print this page

Sandakan War Memorial : November 2013
Sandakan War Memorial : November 2013

Photographs supplied by Nancy Alford

The monument commemorates the Sandakan Prisoners of War from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

All the prisoners were members of a 2700-strong Allied contingent transferred to Sandakan by the Japanese in 1942-43 to construct an airfield following Singapore`s fall in World War Two. In late January 1945 the Japanese decided to move 455 of the fittest prisoners to Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) to act as coolie labourers - only to halt them at Ranau, owing to Allied air activity on the west coast.

At the end of May, there was a second march from Sandakan and in mid-June a third, comprised of only 75 men. There was no medical assistance and little food. Despite this, about half the prisoners completed the march, only to die at Ranau from illness, malnutrition and ill-treatment by their captors. The story of Sandakan and the death marches is one of the most tragic of World War Two. Despite appalling conditions, the prisoners never gave up. Their heroism, determination and indomitable spirit are testimony to the strength of the human spirit and an inspiration to all. Of the prisoners incarcerated at Sandakan, 1787 were Australian. The remaining 641 were British. The six Australians who escaped were the sole survivors.


Address:McIvor Highway & Crook Street, Strathdale Park, Bendigo, 3550
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.759986
Long: 144.31446
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event STart Date:03-September-1939
Actual Event End Date:15-August-1945


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 9th April, 1995
Front Inscription


In memory of 1800 Australians of the 8th Division A.I.F. and 750 British troops. They fought gallantly in the defence of Malaya and Singapore during World War II. Following the fall of Singapore, they became prisoners of the Japanese and were transported to Sandakan in British North Borneo, now Sabah, in 1942 to construct an airfield, where 900 died of ill-treatment.

By the end of 1944, when Allied forces were within striking distance of Sandakan, the Japanese Command ordered the removal of prisoners inland to Ranau 165 miles (265 kilometres) west. On 29 January 1945, 470 prisoners guarded by 500 Japanese marched towards Ranau. Those unable to carry on were killed.

The second march comprising 532 prisoners left Sandakan on 29 May 1945, 183 arrived at Ranau on 26 June 1945. Only eight survived from the first march.

Of the 288 prisoners left at Sandakan there were no survivors.

On 1 August 1945, the surviving 22 prisoners at Ranau were massacred. Six who escaped were rescued by Special Forces.

This memorial honours those men who enlisted from the 
the States of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

We will remember them.

Left Side Inscription

This memorial was dedicated by Father John Brendan Rogers OFM Eighth Division A.I.F. Chaplain Sandakan and Kuching and Chaplin Gary Kenney Australian Army 

This memorial was unveiled by Chief Commissioner Peter Ross Edwards, A.M.  City of Greater Bendigo
9th April, 1995

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Back Inscription

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Right Side Inscription

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Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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