Care for war graves and memorials

Last updated: 
19 December 2019

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 and as needed.

Who is responsible?

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.

Maintenance within Australia

War memorials within Australia, including state memorials, are normally under the control or care of the local authorities or local ex-service organisation where the memorial is situated.

In addition, OAWG is responsible for the maintenance of all war graves, commemorations and Memorials to the Missing within Australia and the Pacific region (Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal) and Norfolk Island).

Maintenance overseas

Official Australian overseas war memorials are the responsibility of OAWG.

CWGC is responsible for the care of all First World War and Second World War Commonwealth (including Australian) war graves and Memorials to the Missing outside Australia and Papua New Guinea.

These memorials are maintained on a regular basis and a programme of specific works is drawn up each year to cover major repairs, enhancements and new projects. Any urgent repair requests are addressed as soon as possible.

The OAWG is responsible for the care of all war graves, commemorations and memorials to the Missing for Australians who have died in conflicts since the Second World War. In practice, those at cemeteries overseas are maintained by arrangement between OAWG and the organisation in charge of the cemetery or graves. For example:

  • Boer War graves are maintained by CWGC on an agency basis for Ministry of Defence UK
  • United Nations Memorial Cemetery, Pusan is maintained by the Commission for UNMCK
  • Yokohama War Cemetery, Japan — maintained by 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.