Adelaide River War Cemetery

During the Second World War, Adelaide River was the headquarters of a large base and the Adelaide River War Cemetery was created especially for the burial of servicemen and women who died in this part of Australia. It was used by Australian General Hospitals 101, 107, 119, 121 and 129.

Adelaide River War Cemetery was established in 1942 following the Bombing of Darwin. Control of the cemetery was handed over to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1947. The cemetery has a memorial to missing personnel serving in the area whose remains were never found. It is set on the banks of the river and is maintained with lush green lawns, and floral garden beds all year round.

Adelaide River War Cemetery is the third largest war cemetery in Australia. 434 servicemen and 54 civilians who were killed by Japanese air-raids in Darwin during World War II were laid to rest here. During the war, The 107th Australian General Hospital and 119th Australian General Hospital were set up around Adelaide River.

Within the War Cemetery the graves are set in a grassed area with low growing shrubs dotted in regular patterns among the headstones. Beyond this, there are colourful garden beds and within the boundary fence is a screen of trees and shrubs. There are 434 burials, comprising 14 airmen of the Royal Air Force, 12 unidentified men of the British Merchant Navy, one soldier of the Canadian Army, 18 sailors, 181 soldiers and 201 airmen belonging to the Australian forces, and seven men of the Australian Merchant Navy.

The War Cemetery adjoins the Adelaide River Civil Cemetery, in which are buried 63 civilians, including nine Post Office workers who were killed on 19 February 1942, as a result of a direct hit on the Post Office by Japanese bombs. Thirty-one Aboriginal people are among the dead who lie in that part of the cemetery.

The Northern Territory Memorial to the Missing is one of several erected around the world for those who have no known grave. This Memorial was erected especially to commemorate those of the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Merchant Navy who lost their lives in the South West Pacific region during the Second World War. Men of the Royal Australian Navy who lost their lives in this area and who have no known grave 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.


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The total number honoured on the Memorial is 292, of whom 102 belong to the Australian Army, 164 to the Royal Australian Air Force and 26 to the Australian Merchant Navy. Included in the figure for the Army is a sister of the Australian Army Nursing Service.

The Adelaide River War Cemetery was entered in the Register of the National Estate in 1984.

Location: Memorial Avenue, Adelaide River. Phone:(08) 8976 7053

Adelaide River War Graves website |  Adelaide River War Cemetery

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