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Atherton War Cemetery
Atherton War Cemetery

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The War Cemetery and Cross of Sacrifice commemorate soldiers and airmen who died in World War Two.

The Atherton War Cemetery established in 1942, is situated within the Atherton Cemetery Reserve on the Kennedy Highway on the outskirts of Atherton. It contains a Cross of Sacrifice and 164 graves and headstones for soldiers and airmen killed during World War Two. 

During the last three years of World War Two, the Atherton Tablelands served as a major base and training area for soldiers involved in action in New Guinea and Bougainville. Many of the soldiers buried in the cemetery died in the local military hospitals from war related wounds, illness or accidents. There are 151 soldiers and 12 airmen of the Australian Forces, plus one member of the Young Men’s Christian Association buried within the war cemetery.

In 1948, the Imperial War Graves Commission, Melbourne forwarded an agreement between the Shire and the commission giving the commission the right to establish a war cemetery in the Atherton cemetery and maintain it in perpetuity.
Cairns Post, 25th September 1948.


Address:Kennedy Highway & Rockley Road, Cemetery, Atherton, 4883
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -17.276568
Long: 145.493681
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


Front Inscription

Atherton War Cemetery. During the last 3 years of the Second World War, 1942-45, the Atherton Tablelands area served as a major base and training area for Australian troops involved in action in New Guinea, Bougainville and the later landings at Aitape - Wewak, Tarakan, Labuan and Balikpapan. Australia`s 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions were based in the Atherton region, and from here the Air Force struck at the Japanese pressing down from the North and North-West. Many of the servicemen buried at this site died in local military hospitals for war-related wounds, accident or illness. The Atherton War Cemetery contains 164 burials comprising 151 Australian Army, 12 RAAF and 1 YMCA member.

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