Sandakan Prisoner of War MemorialPrint Page Print this page

Sandakan Memorial
Sandakan Memorial

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The monument commemorates Queensland prisoners of war who died at Sandakan and Ranau and on death marches in World War Two.

After the fall of Singapore and Borneo to the Japanese, a prisoner of war camp was established just outside of Sandakan to house approximately 750 British and more than 1650 Australian prisoners who were sent to the camp during the period 1942-43.

In 1945, when the Japanese started to realise that the war may have been lost, and the Allies were closing in, the emaciated prisoners were force marched, in three separate marches, to the village of Ranau in the jungle, 250 kilometres away, under the shadows of Mount Kinabalu. Only six Australians of the 2400 prisoners survived the "death march" - they survived because they were able to escape from the camp at Ranau, or escaped during the march from Sandakan. No British prisoners survived.


Address:Oxlade Drive, New Farm Park, New Farm, 4005
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.470941
Long: 153.051502
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:Wednesday 20th September, 1995
Front Inscription


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Left Side Inscription

The sculptured terrain of Sabah illustrates the route of the death marches, shown by a bronze ribbon, between Sandakan and Ranau which was substantially swamp and dense jungle in 1945. (History Plaque )

In memory of 1800 Australians of the 8th Division AIF 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 33 prisoners at Ranau were massacred. Six who escaped were rescued by Special Forces.
This memorial honours Queenslanders who died at Sandakan, on the death marches and at Ranau.
We Will Remember Them.
Sandakan Memorial Foundation.

Back Inscription

This memorial was unveiled by the Honourable Sir Walter Campbell, AC, QC, and was dedicated by Father John Brendan Rogers, OFM,  Eighth Division AIF Chaplain, Sandakan and Kuching.

24th September 1995.
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Right Side Inscription

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Source: MA,SKP, QWMR
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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