Vyner Brooke TragedyPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Yvonne Doncaster / Father Ted Doncaster

The monument commemorates the nurses who left Singapore on February 12th., 1942 aboard the 'Vyner Brooke' during World War Two.  It comprises a small granite column bearing a bronze plaque surrounded by a grove of twenty one trees. At the foot of each tree is a brass tablet upon which are engraved names of Nurses on that voyage. It also celebrates the 100th year of women's suffrage.

On 14 February, while heading for Sumatra via Banka Strait, the Vyner Brooke was sunk by Japanese bombers. Sister Vivian Bullwinkel was with a group of 22 survivors on Banka Island when a Japanese patrol arrived and ordered the women in the group to walk into the sea. They were machine-gunned from behind. All except Sister Bullwinkel were killed. Of the 65 servicewomen who embarked on the Vyner Brooke, only 24, including Vivian Bullwinkel and Betty Jeffrey, returned to Australia. Of the 32 taken prisoner of war, eight died in captivity.





Address:Honour Avenue, Point Walter Reserve, Bicton, 6157
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.014722
Long: 115.788056
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:12-February-1942
Actual Event End Date:12-February-1942


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 2nd May, 1999
Front Inscription

Our Nursing Heritage
the Vyner Brooke tragedy.

On 12th February 1942 sixty five Australian Army Nursing Sisters were ordered to leave Singapore in the wake of the advancing Japanese army.  They boarded the ship the "Vyner Brooke" along with civilians.

Two days later the ship was discovered by Japanese aircraft and bombed.  Twelve nurses drowned after the attack.  Twenty two nurses, many of them wounded landed on Banka Island.

The group was found by Japanese soldiers and forced to walk into the sea and were shot.  One nurse named Vivian Bullwinkel although shot, feigned death, and later made her way to shore.  She and the remaining thirty one nurses became prisoners of war for three and a half years.  A further eight nurses died during this period of captivity.  Twenty four nurses returned home.

This memorial was made possible by Cape Bouvard Investments and the City of Melville.

This memorial was officially unveiled on 2 May 1999 by Mrs Vivian Statham (nee Bullwinkle) AO MBE ARRC FNM and another POW survivor Mrs Wilma Young (nee Oram) AM to celebrate the 100th year of Womens Suffrage in Western Australia.

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