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Memorial will be in award winning precinct

BY DON HOOK

Dome & Bean Building THE RABAUL AND Montevideo Maru memorial is to be located in the award winning Eastern Precinct of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

On Saturday night, the AWM, which won five major awards, dominated the 2011 Australian Institute of Architecture (ACT) awards.

The redevelopment of the Eastern Precinct was described as “outstanding” and took top honours.

Jury chair, Shelley Penn, said it demonstrated architectural mastery and excellence at every level.

"It is important as an historic and symbolic place in the development of our nation and its culture,” she said. “The design is an enduring contribution to a precinct which embodies our respect for the spirit and attitude of the servicemen and women who made the supreme sacrifice."

Early this year the AWM offered the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society a prime site in the Eastern Precinct for its planned memorial.

The memorial will honour those who died in the Japanese invasion of the New Guinea islands, including the men who perished when the Japanese prison ship Montevideo Maru was torpedoed by an American submarine off the Philippines on 1 July 1942. All 1,053 Australian POWs and civilian internees on the ship lost their lives.

The Society has about $200,000 at present toward the $400,000 cost of the memorial which is due to be dedicated on 1 July next year - the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. The balance is required later this year and the Society is about to step up its fundraising activities.

Relatives will be able to view the memorial site when they visit Canberra next month to attend a luncheon at the National Press Club and memorial service at the Royal Military College Chapel at Duntroon.

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