Gone, But Not Forgotten

Round Australia Round Trip #15

On 19th November 1941, the Australian Navy cruiser HMAS Sydney II engaged in a sea battle with the German raider HSK Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia. Both vessels sank and while most of the crew of the Kormoran were rescued, the 645 personnel on board Sydney all perished.  The loss of HMAS Sydney II and her crew is still Australia’s worst naval disaster.

A memorial commemorating HMAS Sydney II and her crew stands on a hill overlooking the city of Geraldton, on the mid-north coast of Western Australia.



From a ship’s propeller to the flock of silver gulls and the dramatic sculpture of the Waiting Woman,  the symbolism incorporated in the memorial is full of emotion, and is best explained by the plaques on the granite wall surrounding the site.






Despite many intensive searches, the location of both shipwrecks was unknown for more than 60 years. They were finally discovered on 16 March 2008, lying of the floor of the Indian Ocean at a depth of more than 2 km.




Even though she was placed here long before they were found, the Waiting Woman looks towards the exact site where the ship and her crew lie. Was it an eerie coincidence or the hand of fate guiding the sculptors?



18 thoughts on “Gone, But Not Forgotten

  1. I like your post, I don’t like the reason for it. You have to wonder whether we will ever learn from history and whether we can ever all live in peace. It is a wonderful and poignant memorial.

    • War is terrible but I do think it is important to remember these men, who died while volunteering to serve their countries. I was so impressed by the symbolism in this memorial. The sinking of this ship was a major event for Australia at the time because of the huge loss of life so close to home.

      • It is a beautiful memorial – I like the way they have included the discovery of the ship and the waiting woman. Very symbolic. With a son in the armed forces, I dread all the news of yet another conflict with politicians making the decisions.

        • Mr ET was in the army for the first twenty years of our marriage so I know just how you feel. The politicians aren’t the ones who have to go and do the job.

          The Waiting Woman was there when the memorial was first opened. It’s amazing to read that she was already looking at the exact place where the ship was eventually found. The memorial is set up so as you look, the part about the discovery is the last part you come to. So much thought has gone into it all, which is a tribute to those lost men.

  2. We live in the house that was owned by Jimmy Lavendar, the last crew member of HMS Sydney to pass away. He was on leave when the ship was lost. He lived his later years in Busselton, passing away only a few years ago.

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