South Australian Servicewomen`s Memorial WallPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Bryan Cole

The memorial wall commemorates the South Australian Army Nursing Sisters who lost their lives in the Bangka Island Massacre during World War Two, and also to South Australian women from all the armed services who died while on active service during World War Two.

During World War Two, the Vyner Brook was attacked on the 14th of February in the Bangka Strait and sank within half an hour. While all the nurses survived the bombing, many drowned or were killed by the returning Japanese planes which raked those survivors struggling in the water with deadly machine-gun fire. 

One group of survivors was washed ashore on Bangka Island. It was a motley group, comprising nurses, soldiers and civilian men and women. Finding themselves in a desperate situation, they surrendered to Japanese soldiers on the 16th of February. The men in the group were immediately led to a beach behind a bluff. The Japanese soldiers returned alone, cleaning their rifles and bayonets in front of the horrified women. The nurses were then ordered to walk into the sea, where they were machine-gunned. Only one nurse survived, Sister Vivian Bullwinkel.


Address:Shepherds Hill Road, Women`s Memorial Playing Fields, St Marys, 5042
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.013253
Long: 138.578461
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event STart Date:03-September-1939
Actual Event End Date:15-August-1945


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1953
Front Inscription

Plaque :

In honoured memory of the South Australian Army Nursing Sisters who lost their lives in the cause of humanity on Bangka Island

February 1942  

E. L. Balfour-Ogilvy   I. M. Drummond  
F. R. Casson                L. F. Fairweather      E. L. Keats

With the sinking of the Vyner-Brook  
M. H. M. Dorsch          A. M. Trenerry

Their names liveth for evermore

Plaque :

In honoured memory of the all South Australian women of the Armed Forces who died on active service
1939 - 1945
Women`s Royal Australian Navy Service  
H. M. Stone

Australian Army Nursing Service  
M. H. McFarlane

V.A.D. / Australian Army Medical Women`s Service  
J. E. McEwin

Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service  
G. H. Robertson

Women`s Australian Auxiliary Air Force  
G. M. Armstrong   J. F. Carter           R. M. Naughton
E. M. A. Binks       H. C. Harrison      K. J. Smith
M. M. Burrowes    T. E. McConnell   V. M. Wiper

Their names liveth for evermore

Plaque 4 :

Died as prisoner of war
Bangka Island,
8th. February 1945
W. R. Raymont

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