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Gustav Ponath : 15-November-2012
Gustav Ponath : 15-November-2012

Photographs supplied by John Gribben / Kent Watson

The monument constructed by German Prisoners-of-War at Murchison Camp 13 is believed to commemorate Gustav Ponath who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the German Army in charge of the German 8th Machine Gun Battalion at Tobruk in North Africa during World War Two.

Ponath was told by one of Rommel’s Senior Officers to attack an Australian Army position. Ponath objected to the order because they did not know where the Australian defences lay, and they did not have any heavy artillery backup. After being told “Orders were orders!”, Ponath still didn’t back down. Ponath was seen arguing with the Senior German Officer for some time before he was eventually told, “Divisional Orders!”.

On the 14th of April 1941 the Germans were seen advancing on the Allied position. An Australian platoon of 31 men was then sent out to engage the enemy.  During the assault the Australians killed 3, wounded 14 and captured another 100 German soldiers. Ponath was killed in the attack. 

A German flag was draped over Ponath’s body as he was taken back to the Allied base. This blood stained flag is now located at the Australian War Memorial.  The captured Germans were sent to the Prisoner of War Camp in Murchison.

At the camp the prisoners built a memorial to Gustav Ponath, because of the great respect for him. 

Note : This monument is on private land and is not accessible to members of the public. Monument Australia thanks John Gribben of the Greater Shepparton City Council for organising access to obtain the monument photographs.

The Ponath monument is the small cairn on the left side in the main photograph


Address:Camp Road, Prisoner of War Camp 13, Murchison, 3610
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.58485
Long: 145.158933
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

Ponath Weg 

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