The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial

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Ballarat POW Memorial
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Ballarat POW Memorial centre piece
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Walls with names engraved
Monument Details
Name The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
Location Botanical Gardens, Ballarat, Victoria
Dedication Date 6 Feb 2004


History Between the 1950s and 1990s surviving prisoners of war from the Ballarat region met regularly and the idea of a focal point for commemoration were periodically discussed. Mewanwhile the Australian Federal Government had given periodic undertakings that a permanent monument would be eventually built in Canberra to honour POWs.

Early in the 1980s, the Ballarat City Council had granted a parcel of land adjacent to the city gardens to allow local veterans a place to establish a permanent focal point for the Ballarat POWs. Given that by the mid-1990s the Australian Federal Government had still not produced a plan for a permanent monument to be established in Canberra, the surviving POWs in Ballarat began planning the building of a permanent memorial in their city. It was to be privately funded and established with minimum government assistance.

Strongly supported by the Ballarat branch of the Returned and Services League (RSL) of Australia, a local sculptor, Peter Blizzard, was commissioned to design a concept for the memorial. The result was for a monument far greater in scale and scope than that originally envisaged by the veterans. However, support for a significantly larger monument that would commemorate all Australian POWs was immediate. Funding was provided through lotteries, private donations, benevolent organisations, the City of Ballarat, local businesses, and belatedly the Federal and Victorian State Governments. Work commenced on the construction of the memorial in early 2003 with much of the labour and materials donated or provided at cost.

The Ballarat RSL, assisted by volunteers, had worked for over 10 years to compile names to form the first national database of Australian prisoners of war. Prior to 2004, the Australian Federal Government and the Australian Defence Force held no complete central list, database, or consolidated record of its prisoners of war. Information was recorded only on individual personnel records held in Defence archives in Melbourne. It is believed that there may be some names still missing, and the memorial has a postscript section allocated to enable further additions. [1]



Set in Ballarat's magnificent Botanical Gardens the Memorial is a place of quiet reflection and a place to remember loved ones and to mourn those 8,600 Prisoners of War who died in captivity and remain buried on foreign shores.


Approximately 130 metres (430 feet) long, the memorial features a long pathway of light-grey basalt pavers cut to resemble railway sleepers, reminiscent of those used on the Thai–Burma Railway. To the southern side are two canted black polished granite walls with the names of all known Australian prisoners of war. They are listed alphabetically by war and no rank is acknowledged. The two walls are separated in the middle by a square pool of water that features six large basalt obelisks. These feature the names of the countries where Australian POWs were held. The obelisks centralised in the pool of water symbolise the Australian POWs being cut off and isolated from their homeland by the ocean. The sixth obelisk is deliberately toppled on its side and broken, symbolising "The Fallen"[2]

Monument Details

† Died while a Prisoner of War

World War I 1914 - 1918




World War II 1939 - 1945



  • accessed 23 May 2020
  • 11 Apr 1917War_Memorial accessed 23 May 2020