Over 12,000 Australian lives ended in their home country during the Second World War or as a result of their service during the First World War. Australian, Commonwealth and Allied war dead, civilian casualties and even two enemy military dead are buried in 72 Commonwealth war cemeteries and plots and over 1,900 civil cemeteries in Australia. The OAWG also maintains Cowra Japanese War Cemetery and Tatura German War Cemetery for their respective Governments.
Many Australian war cemeteries and graves are close to the sites of Second World War military bases and facilities and each plays a unique part in telling the story of Australia at war.
Sydney War Cemetery, Memorial to the Missing and the NSW Cremation Memorial
Located within the Rookwood Necropolis, Sydney War Cemetery is Australia's largest war cemetery and the only Australian war cemetery that has a Stone of Remembrance. Although Stones of Remembrance are normally limited to war cemeteries with more than 1,000 graves, this stone remains at this slightly smaller cemetery due to shipping challenges (it was intended for Ambon War Cemetery in Indonesia).
Sydney War Cemetery contains 744 war graves, including 33 sailors, 499 soldiers and 86 airmen of the Australian Forces; 85 sailors, 20 soldiers, 16 airmen and one Merchant Navy sailor of the UK Forces; one sailor and one airman of the NZ Forces; and one French sailor and one civilian (died while in employment of the Admiralty). The Sydney Memorial to the Missing honours 741 dead. A further 199 names of men and women of the Armed Forces whose remains were cremated appear on the NSW Cremation Memorial.
The cemetery was established by the military authorities in 1942 as the last resting place of servicemen and women who gave their lives during the Second World War. It contains mainly the graves of those who died in the Concord Military Hospital because of sickness, accident or injuries sustained in operational areas.
The UK casualties died as Prisoners of War held by Japanese forces, and were cremated. After the war, the Army Graves Service arranged for their ashes to be brought by HMAS Newfoundland to Sydney for interment. The cemetery was taken over by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in December 1946.
Sydney War Cemetery was entered on the Register of the National Estate on 21 October 1986.
Sydney War Cemetery
ROOKWOOD NSW 2135
Sydney War Cemetery, CWGC details
Cowra (Australian) War Cemetery
The Cowra (Australian) War Cemetery contains 27 war graves. Of the dead, four died during the break out at the prisoner of war camp in August 1944. Two of those soldiers were awarded the George Cross for their actions during that incident. Buried in the Cowra General Cemetery are six Australian Army casualties of the Second World War and one from the First World War.
Cowra (Australian) War Cemetery, CWGC details
Cowra (Japanese) War Cemetery
The Japanese War Cemetery, adjacent to the Australian War Cemetery, has been managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission since 1964 (with maintenance costs retrieved from the Japanese Government). The 523 graves include those of Prisoners of War who died in the attempted break out from Cowra in 1944, aircrew shot down in Northern Australia and Japanese civilian internees who died in Australia during the Second World War.
Cowra (Japanese) War Cemetery, CWGC details
Albury War Cemetery
During the Second World War, Albury became a major army base for the Allies. It also contained a military base hospital which serviced the large military population in the area. Located within the Albury General Cemetery, in Waugh Road, the cemetery contains 96 war graves, including two men of the Royal Navy. The other 94 burials are those of soldiers and airmen of the Australian Forces, most of whom died from war-related injury, illness or accident.
A Cross of Sacrifice stands in the central path, flanked by the marble headstones on each side.
Albury War Cemetery, CWGC details
Newcastle (Sandgate) War Cemetery
The Sandgate War cemetery, located within the Sandgate General Cemetery on the Pacific Highway, has 73 burials including four men of the Royal Navy.
The city of Newcastle was a strategic military site both as a centre for heavy industry and as a busy seaport. On 8 June 1942, Newcastle came under attack from a Japanese submarine. The area was also a major staging area for AIF Divisions and supported some of the largest concentrations of troops in Australia throughout the war. The Australian Second Army, including the 1st, 9th and 28th Brigades and the 3rd Army Tank Brigade were based on the outskirts of Newcastle. The 4th Armoured Brigade in Singleton and three artillery training regiments were based at Greta.
Newcastle (Sandgate) War Cemetery, CWGC details
Wagga Wagga War Cemetery
The cemetery is located within the Wagga Wagga General Cemetery on Kooringal Road and contains 83 burials (43 airmen and 40 soldiers) including a post-war burial. The No 2 Service Flight Training School of the RAAF and other military facilities, including the Army School of Engineering, were based in the area. Of the 40 soldiers buried in the war cemetery, 26 died on 21 May 1945 in a hand grenade training accident.
Wagga Wagga War Cemetery, CWGC details
Adelaide River War Cemetery
During the Second World War, Adelaide River (113 km south of Darwin, on the Stuart Highway) was the headquarters of a large base. The war cemetery was created especially for the burial of service personnel who died in this part of Australia.
The Adelaide River War Cemetery was used by Australian General Hospitals numbers 101, 107, 119, 121 and 129 and after the war. The Army Graves Service also moved other graves there from isolated sites, temporary military burial grounds, and various civil cemeteries in the area.
The war cemetery was taken over the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in 1947, and was entered on the Register of the National Estate in 1984 and listed on the Northern Territory Heritage Register and Commonwealth Heritage Register.
A total of 435 war graves marked by bronze plaques are contained in this cemetery. The burials include 14 airmen of the RAF; 12 unidentified men of the British Merchant Navy; one soldier of the Canadian Army; 18 sailors; 182 soldiers and 201 airmen of the Australian Forces and seven men of the Australian Merchant Navy.
The Northern Territory Memorial to the Missing honours a further 292 Servicemen and women lost to the north of Australia. The adjacent civil section contains the graves of the nine Post Office staff killed on 19 February 1942 during the bombing of Darwin, one of 63 separate incidents on that date. The civilian casualties of the Second World War include 31 Indigenous Australians.
Adelaide War Cemetery, CWGC details
Adelaide River War Cemetery
ADELAIDE RIVER NT 0846
Alice Springs War Cemetery
Located within the Alice Springs Cemetery, close to the aerodrome, the plot contains the graves of one sailor, 24 soldiers and three airmen of the Australian Forces. A post-war grave is located in the Church of England plot. The main road running north to Darwin was built during the Second World War to facilitate the transport of supplies and war material to Australia's most vulnerable area.
Alice Springs War Cemetery, CWGC details
Lutwyche War Cemetery and Crematorium Memorial
Brisbane became a naval base during the Second World War due to its ideal location on the Brisbane River. This location was navigable by large vessels from Moreton Bay to the city and had graving docks capable of accommodating destroyers and fuelling facilities.
When Japan entered the war, fixed defences were provided and manned in Brisbane, and American detachments arrived and established themselves there. In July 1942, General Douglas MacArthur, the American Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, South-West Pacific area, moved his headquarters from Melbourne to Brisbane to be closer to operations in Papua and New Guinea.
The Lutwyche War Cemetery is situated within the Lutwyche Cemetery in Gympie Road, Kedron, Brisbane. The Lutwyche Cemetery has 397 war burials, and the war cemetery contains 347 of those burials. The majority of burials in the war cemetery are sailors, soldiers and airmen of the Australian Forces.
Lutwyche War Cemetery
Corner Gympie and Kitchener Roads
KEDRON QLD 4031
Lutwyche War Cemetery & Crematorium Memorial, CWGC details
Atherton War Cemetery
This war cemetery adjoins the Atherton General Cemetery on corner of the Kennedy Highway and Rockley Road (access to the cemetery on Rockley Road only). The graves are in three plots, with a Cross of Sacrifice standing centrally at the far end. The area between Atherton and Cairns was used extensively as a training ground for Australian troops involved in war time action in New Guinea, Bougainville and later landings at Aitape-Wewak, Tarakan, Labuan and Balikpapan. Australia's 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions were based in the Atherton region and from here the RAAF struck at the Japanese forces who were applying pressure from the north and north-west. There are 151 soldiers and 12 airmen of the Australian Forces, plus one member of the Young Men's Christian Association buried within the war cemetery.
Atherton War Cemetery, CWGC details
Bundaberg War Cemetery
The cemetery, located within the Bundaberg General Cemetery in Takalvan Street, contains 46 graves of soldiers and airmen of the Australian Forces and five airmen of the United States Army Air Corps. The No 12 Elementary Flying School and No 8 Service Flying Training School of the RAAF were located at Bundaberg during the Second World War.
Bundaberg War Cemetery, CWGC details
Cairns War Cemetery
The war cemetery, located within the Cairns Cemetery, Martyn Street, Cairns, contains the graves of 70 soldiers, 17 airmen and 10 sailors of the Australian Forces and one Dutch sailor. After the first Japanese raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942, a shuttle service of small merchant ships between Cairns and Darwin was introduced. Cairns was also an important air base from which numbers 11 and 20 Catalina General Reconnaissance Bomber Squadrons operated. There are 136 war graves throughout the cemetery.
Cairns War Cemetery, CWGC details
Charters Towers War Cemetery
During the Second World War, the area around Charters Towers accommodated a number of army and RAAF units. Army troops were trained at Sellheim, including the 11th Infantry Brigade. After the Japanese entered the war in 1941, Sellheim became a reinforcement depot and troops from the Jungle Training Centre at Canungra were staged through to the Atherton Tablelands and New Guinea. It was also the site for a supply depot and ammunition company, as well as an ordnance depot and army workshop. The 116th Australian General Hospital was in Charters Towers, with a convalescent depot at Sellheim.
At Macrossan, a United States Air Force School trained RAAF crews on Liberator bombers. The RAAF operated a base at Breddan from 1943-1947 after the US 38th Bombardment Group moved north.
The war cemetery, situated within the Charters Towers Cemetery on Dalrymple Road, contains the graves of 16 soldiers and 15 airmen of the Australian Forces. Four soldiers are also buried in the civil cemetery.
Charters Towers War Cemetery, CWGC details
Ipswich War Cemetery
This cemetery, located within Ipswich General Cemetery, on the corner of Cemetery and Warwick Roads, includes 68 burials within a triangular plot, and a Cross of Sacrifice in one of the triangular points.
During the Second World War, a number of Australian units were stationed in the Brisbane-Ipswich area to reinforce the defences of this important seaport. Many of the casualties resulted from air training accidents at the No 6 Aircraft Depot at Oakey and the Air Base at Amberley.
Ipswich War Cemetery, CWGC details
Rockhampton War Cemetery
The cemetery is located within the Rockhampton Cemetery on the Bruce Highway. The plot was acquired by the Army in 1943 and contains 35 graves, including one airman of the Royal Air Force, 20 soldiers and 12 airmen of the Australian Forces, one Salvation Army member and one Young Men's Christian Association member.
During the Second World War, Rockhampton was host to a number of Allied Forces. Australian troops were stationed in the Rockhampton-Maryborough area in 1941. In 1942 the 41st American Division moved from Melbourne prior to operations in the Solomons, and in November 1942 the Commander of the 1st American Corps had his headquarters there.
Rockhampton War Cemetery, CWGC details
Toowoomba War Cemetery
The Toowomba war cemetery, situated within the Toowoomba Cemetery on the corner of Anzac Avenue and South Street West, includes burials of 34 soldiers, nine airmen and one post-war grave. There are 62 war graves throughout the entire cemetery. Centrally located among the 44 graves is a Cross of Sacrifice.
Toowoomba was the headquarters of the 1st Australian Army during the Second World War. It was conveniently placed for the establishment of Army and Air Force camps and was often used as a retraining facility for Servicemen being sent to the Pacific Islands.
Toowoomba War Cemetery, CWGC details
Townsville War Cemetery
The Townsville War Cemetery is situated within the Townsville Belgian Gardens Cemetery, containing 222 war graves. The burials consist of one sailor and one soldier of the UK Forces and nine sailors, 105 soldiers and 106 airmen of the Australian Forces.
During the war, Townsville was a RAAF Base and a base for the new American heavy bombers was constructed there. In 1941 it also became the base of an Area Combined Headquarters, established to ensure naval and air cooperation in trade defence in north-eastern Australia. It was one of the ports of embarkation for troops to New Guinea and the islands, and many transit camps and a Base Hospital for troops, evacuated through sickness and wounds from New Guinea, were in the vicinity.
Townsville War Cemetery
BELGIAN GARDENS QLD 4810
Townsville War Cemetery, CWGC details
Adelaide (Centennial Park) Cemetery and South Australian Cremation Memorial
Although there are 217 service personnel buried in the Centennial Park Cemetery, only 200 of these are buried in the Centennial Park War Cemetery. The war cemetery was established by the Army in 1942 for the burial of those who died of wounds in military hospitals after return from operations, as well as those who died of sickness or accident. The war cemetery was taken over by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1946. The majority of the burials are those of soldiers of the AIF.
Centennial Park War Cemetery
760 Goodwood Road
PASADENA SA 5042
Adelaide (Centennial Park) Cemetery & South Australian Cremation Memorial, CWGC details
Mallala War Cemetery
The Mallala war cemetery, located on the south-west corner of Mallala General Cemetery in Dublin Road, contains the graves of 12 airmen of the Royal Australian Air Force. The No 6 Service Flying Training School of the RAAF was located at Mallala during the Second World War.
Mallala War Cemetery, CWGC details
Port Pirie War Cemetery
This cemetery, located within the Port Pirie General Cemetery in Morphett Road, contains 22 graves of soldiers and airmen of the Australian Forces. There are seven other war graves throughout the cemetery.
The No 2 Bombing and Air Gunnery School of the RAAF was based at Port Pirie during the Second World War. Most of the RAAF casualties buried here died in air training accidents.
Port Pirie War Cemetery, CWGC details
Hobart War Cemetery and Tasmanian Cremation Memorial, Cornelian Bay
This cemetery looks out over Hobart and up to Mt Wellington and contains 51 war graves, among them nine ex-Servicemen of the First World War who died during the Second World War (post-war graves). Another 24 war graves are scattered throughout the Cornelian Bay Public Cemetery. During the Second World War the port was provided with fixed defences for the protection of its shipping.
Hobart War Cemetery
CORNELIAN BAY TAS 7008
Hobart War Cemetery & Tasmanian Cremation Memorial, CWGC details
The Launceston War Cemetery is situated within the Carr Villa General Cemetery. The war cemetery contains 19 graves, including a recent Afghanistan casualty. A further 39 war graves lie in the Carr Villa General Cemetery.
Carr Villa War Cemetery
KING'S MEADOW TAS 7249
Springvale War Cemetery and the Victorian Cremation Memorial, Melbourne
The Springvale War Cemetery, located within the Springvale Necropolis, contains 612 war graves, including six sailors, four soldiers and two airmen of the UK Forces; 25 sailors, 387 soldiers and 182 airmen of the Australian Forces; one member of the Salvation Army (attached to the Australian Military Force); one member of the YMCA (attached to the RAAF); and three sailors and one soldier of the Netherlands Force. The names of 72 service personnel whose remains were cremated appear on the Victorian Cremation Memorial near the cemetery.
During the early months of the Second World War, this land was set aside for the burial of men and women of the services dying in the Melbourne area, by agreement between the Minister for the Army and the Necropolis Trust. Many of those buried there died of wounds in the Heidelberg Military Hospital after return from operational areas, others from sickness and accident.
Springvale War Cemetery
North Drive SPRINGVALE VIC 3171
Springvale War Cemetery, CWGC details
Bairnsdale War Cemetery
Located within the Bairnsdale Public Cemetery on the south-west corner of the cemetery extension, the Bairnsdale War Cemetery contains the graves of 38 Australian airmen who died through illness or flying accidents while training. A Cross of Sacrifice stands at the far end.
Bairnsdale War Cemetery, CWGC details
Mildura War Cemetery
Located within the Mildura Public Cemetery on Koorlans Avenue, the war cemetery contains the graves of 49 airmen and soldiers of the Australian Forces. The majority of the graves are airmen killed in aircraft training accidents. During the Second World War, at the RAAF Station at Mildura, the No 2 Operational Training Unit for fighters introduced a most effective form of gunnery known as 'shadow' shooting. There are 69 war graves throughout the entire cemetery.
Mildura War Cemetery, CWGC details
Sale War Cemetery
The war cemetery is situated within the Sale Public Cemetery at the end of a short avenue leading from the Maffra Road to the cemetery area. It contains the graves of 59 Australian Servicemen, of whom 56 were airmen from the RAAF Station at East Sale. The remaining three were soldiers. A Cross of Sacrifice stands in the centre of the area.
Sale War Cemetery, CWGC details
Tatura German Military Cemetery
This cemetery contains the graves of 250 German Servicemen and civilian internees. A memorial located within the cemetery records the names of 27 Germans buried elsewhere in Australia and also commemorates 129 Catholic and 45 Protestant missionaries. The cemetery is maintained by the Office of Australian War Graves, on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, for the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Tatura German Military Cemetery, CWGC details
Perth War Cemetery and the Western Australian Cremation Memorial, Nedlands
The Perth War Cemetery, in Karrakatta, on Smyth Road, Nedlands, is adjacent to the Western Australian Garden of Remembrance. It was established by the Army in 1942 for those who died on service during the Second World War of wounds in the Hollywood Military Hospital after returning from operational areas. The remains of many casualties were also brought in from civil cemeteries and temporary military cemeteries so that they might lie among their comrades. Among them is 'Bluey' Truscott (Sqdn Ldr Keith W Truscott DFC and BAR, MID) the football star and famous air ace, who was a member, from its beginning, of the first Australian fighter squadron to be formed in the UK. During the battle of Milne Bay his squadron - No 76 - together with No 75 Squadron played a vital part in halting the Japanese advance.
The Perth War Cemetery contains 498 war graves, including 16 from the First World War and five from the Vietnam War. In addition to the 21 graves from these two wars, a further 477 burials from the Second World War are located there, consisting of 14 sailors, one soldier and one airman of the UK Forces; one British Merchant Navy seaman; one man of the Royal Canadian Navy; 23 sailors; 348 soldiers and 78 airmen of the Australian Forces; one sailor and six soldiers of the NZ Forces; one man of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps; and two men of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
The headstones in the war cemetery are a distinctive grey granite, mined locally in Perth. The cemetery was taken over by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1949.
Perth War Cemetery
NEDLANDS WA 6900
Perth War Cemetery and Annex, CWGC website
Perth War Cemetery Dutch Annexe
Adjoining the war cemetery is an enclosure known as the Perth War Cemetery Dutch Annex where five sailors of the Netherlands Navy, one Naval Airman and 21 Dutch civilians are buried. They were evacuated from Java in February 1942 but the seaplanes carrying them were sunk by Japanese aircraft in Broome Harbour.
Perth War Cemetery Dutch Annex, CWGC website
Geraldton War Cemetery
The war cemetery adjoins the Geraldton Civil Cemetery, adjacent to the airport on the main road to Mullewa. The main entrance, in the form of a pergola of stone piers and overhead concrete beams, is situated in Eastward Road. A Cross of Sacrifice stands at the southern end, facing the entrance. There are 83 burials, comprising 41 soldiers and 42 airmen, all of the Australian Forces.
During the Second World War, the No 4 Service Flying Training School of the RAAF was based in Geraldton. Most of the RAAF casualties died in air training accidents.
Geraldton War Cemetery, CWGC website