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Bomana War Cemetery — Port Moresby — Papua New Guinea

ANZAC Day service Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs Commemorations and War Graves

Snapshot

Service:

Anzac Day Service

Date:

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Time:

4.30 am: Site open to the public
5.30 am: Official Anzac Day Dawn service commences

Seating style:

Non-allocated seating will be provided for visitors attending the ceremony on a first-come, first-served basis with individual chairs on the grassed area.

Venue:

Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Weather:

Extremely hot humid tropical weather

Attendance Registration:

Not Required

Visa requirements:

Australian Passport holders — Check your visa requirements

Visas are required to travel to Papua New Guinea.

Important notes:

 

Links to further information

Introduction

After the Japanese landed at Lae and Salamaua in March 1942, Port Moresby became their chief objective. They decided to attack by sea, and assembled an amphibious expedition for the purpose, which set out early in May, but they were intercepted and heavily defeated by American air and naval forces in the Coral Sea, and what remained of the Japanese expedition returned to Rabaul. After this defeat they decided to advance on Port Moresby overland and the attack was launched from Buna and Gona in September 1942.

Early in 1942, and almost without resistance, the Japanese established a considerable force and developed a useful base on Bougainville, the largest and most northerly of the Solomon Islands. This they held until the Americans and Australians began offensive operations towards the end of 1943, when Bougainville was the only one of these islands remaining in Japanese hands.

By August 1945, when the Japanese surrendered, most of the island had been recovered. Those who died in the fighting in Papua and Bougainville are buried in Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, their graves brought in by the Australian Army Graves Service from burial grounds in the areas where the fighting had taken place.

The unidentified soldiers of the United Kingdom forces were all from the Royal Artillery, captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore; they died in captivity and were buried on the island of Bailale in the Solomons. These men were later re-buried in a temporary war cemetery at Torokina on Bougainville Island before being transferred to their permanent resting place at Port Moresby. The cemetery contains 3,824 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 699 of them unidentified. There is also 1 Non war and 1 Dutch Foreign National burials here.

The Port Moresby Memorial stands behind the cemetery and commemorates almost 750 men of the Australian Army (including Papua and New Guinea local forces), the Australian Merchant Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force who lost their lives in the operations in Papua and who have no known graves. Men of the Royal Australian Navy who died in the south-west Pacific region, and have no known grave but the sea, are commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial in England, along with many of their comrades of the Royal Navy and of other Commonwealth Naval Forces. Bougainville casualties who have no known graves are commemorated on a memorial at Suva, Fiji.

Getting to Bomana War Cemetery

The official Anzac Day Dawn Service in Bomana is conducted by the Port Moresby RSL sub branch and the Australian High Commission assisted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery lies approximately 19km north of Port Moresby at the southern end of the Kokoda track, on the road to Nine Mile, and is approached from the main road by a short side road called Pilgrims Way.

There is approximately a 120m walk from the front gate of the cemetery to the Cross of Sacrifice. The average weather in April in Port Moresby Papua New Guinea can be extremely hot (tropical weather) with an average minimum temperature of 22ºC and average maximum temperature of 31ºC. The Dawn service is conducted outdoors and visitors are exposed to the elements, with limited sheltered areas. Tropical storms and downpours have been experienced at past services. Visitors should ensure they are appropriately equipped for hot, humid and wet weather. This includes the provision of bottled water and appropriate clothing. The surfaces at the cemetery can become slippery due to rain and humidity. It is advised that sensible footwear should be worn.

Limited medical support is provided at the commemoration. Visitors should ensure to bring their own medication, including non-prescription pain relief medication as this is not available from authorities on site. The medical support provided is equipped for medical emergencies and is not designed to treat minor ailments.

Tour coaches and tour operators

If you are a tour operator and have not made contact with the department, please send your contact details to wargraves@dva.gov.au so that we can ensure you are provided updated information.

Traffic arrangements / Private Vehicles

The local Papua New Guinea police manage all traffic arrangements outside the Cemetery. There is limited parking available at the cemetery. Transport to and from the Cemetery are to be via attendees own arrangements.

What to take with you

A small day pack or small bag may be useful containing the following;

  • Wet weather jacket
  • Insect Repellent
  • Bottled water
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat

What facilities are available at Bomana War Cemetery?

  • Toilets
  • First Aid Services

Wreath-laying

Wreath-laying, by invited official representatives, will occur during the services.

Members of the public who wish to lay a wreath will have the opportunity to do so at the appropriate time during the service. Members of the public who are laying a wreath are to supply their own wreaths and it is their responsibility to carry it with them, care for it and transport it to the Cemetery. There are no facilities or arrangements for storage or transport of personal wreaths at the Cemetery.

Guides, apps and other event information

Bomana Cemetery

Explore the Bomana Cemetery online, with images and historical information. Visit the Anzac Portal.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (CWGC) war graves app provides information about the cemeteries around the world and allows you to search for the location of an individual’s war grave. Visit CWGC to download the app.

Contact information

Port Moresby (Bomana) Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery dating from World War II near Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Enquiries via email to enguiries@cwgc.org

The Dawn Service is coordinated by the Australian Government and consular assistance for Australians in Papua New Guinea is provided through the Australian High Commission, Papua New Guinea.

Australian High Commission, Papua New Guinea
Godwit Road (Waigani)
Port Moresby NCD
Papua New Guinea
Tel: +675 325 9239

Department of Foreign Affairs - Emergency helpline
Consular Emergency Centre 24 Hour Phone Service:
Tel: 1300 555 135 with Australia (local call cost) or
Tel: +61 2 6261 3305 from outside Australia
SMS: +61 421 269 080

Department of Foreign Affairs, Canberra, Australia
R.G. Casey Building
John McEwan Crescent
Barton ACT 0221
Tel: +61 2 6261 1111
Fax: +61 2 6261 3111

In Australia
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Office of Australian War Graves
Free call
Tel: 133 254
Regional callers: 1800 555 254
Email: wargraves@dva.gov.au

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