Maintenance of War Graves and Memorials

All Australian war graves, other official commemorations and Memorials to the Missing are regularly maintained and will continue to be maintained in perpetuity to established Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) standards.

Annual maintenance is carried out on the graves and memorials in metropolitan and near country areas, in Australia and overseas. Maintenance on those in remote areas is carried out every two years. Should repairs or other work be needed outside the regular maintenance, these are attended to with all due speed.

In addition, a program of specific works is drawn up each year to cover major repairs and enhancements.

If you become aware of an Australian war grave that needs urgent attention, please contact us at Office of Australian War Graves.

Who is responsible?

The responsibility for maintenance is divided between the CWGC and the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG), depending upon the location and the conflict to which the grave, commemoration or Memorial to the Missing relates.

OAWG is responsible for the maintenance of:

  • all war graves, commemorations and Memorials to the Missing within Australia and the Pacific region [1] and
  • all war graves, commemorations and Memorials to the Missing for Australians who have died in conflicts since WW2. In practice, those at cemeteries overseas are maintained by arrangement between OAWG and the organisation in charge of the cemetery or graves [2].

There are OAWG field staff based in the State capital cities, Launceston, Adelaide River and Townsville who maintain the graves. OAWG also contracts individuals and local authorities in both city and rural areas to undertake maintenance where necessary. In Papua New Guinea an Australian OAWG manager supervises local staff to maintain the war cemeteries.

CWGC is responsible for the care of all WW1 and WW2 Commonwealth, including Australian, war graves and Memorials to the Missing outside Australia and Papua New Guinea [3].


Contact Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) with any maintenance enquiries.

 Caretaker refurbishing crematorium plaques  Hand mowing Kanchanaburi Cemetery, Thailand, in 1949  Topdressing
Refurbishing crematorium plaques Hand mowing Kanchanaburi Cemetery, Thailand, in 1949 Topdressing
 See also:

  1. Specifically, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal) and Norfolk Island.
  2. Boer War graves - maintained by CWGC on an agency basis for Ministry of Defence UK; United Nations Memorial Cemetery, Pusan - maintained by the Commission for UNMCK; Yokohama War Cemetery, Japan - CWGC; war graves from Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Confrontation, Vietnam in Malaysia and Singapore - maintained by OAWG on an agency basis for the Ministry of Defence United Kingdom and the Australian Government.
  3. Australia, as a Commonwealth member government, contributes to CWGC for the cost of maintaining WW1 and WW2 war graves in proportion to the number of its war dead. OAWG acts as the agent for CWGC in Australia and the Pacific region.