Tobruk Memorial - Canberra

Just in case it disappears!  I have been caught with interesting sites being no longer 
available.  See original at  http://www.skp.com.au/memorials2/pages/00008.htm


War Memorials in Australia

Rats of Tobruk Memorial

[Looks like my fears were not unfounded!  The photos that were on this site have disappeared.]

There are some photos here though

Place: Campbell,  Australian Capital Territory, 2612
District: 
Southern Tablelands (ACT)
Orientation: Suburb of Canberra
Location: Anzac Parade, east side
Postion: 35 17 19 S     149 08 51 E 
Ref: 00008

__________________________

Unveiled in 1983, the memorial is based on the 1941 memorial in Tobruk War Cemetery which was built by Australian soldiers during the siege.  It takes the form of an obelisk about 8.5 metres high and is constructed of copper alloy, tinted concrete and marble. The original marble inscription stone, one of the steps of the Tobruk Post Office brought to Australia after the war, is incorporated in the obelisk.  The walls of the memorial symbolise the perimeter defences and the landscaping around it symbolises the area in which the siege took place.  The 'Eternal Flame' element, fabricated from a bronze sheet, was created by Marc Clark and installed in 1984.

This memorial commemorates the siege of Tobruk, Libya, which began on 10 April and continued until early December 1941.  The Tobruk Garrison was ordered to delay the advance of the Afrika Corps to enable the Allies to assemble reinforcements for the defence of Egypt.  The dedication ceremony on 17 April 1991 was marked by placing a time capsule inside the monument containing memorabilia from the siege - a Tobruk medal, a German propaganda pamphlet urging Australians to surrender and a map of Tobruk.

Plaque on west face of memorial, on left hand side of base
RATS OF TOBRUK
MEMORIAL
THIS STONE IS THE ONLY SURVIVING
RELIC OF THE ORIGINAL MEMORIAL
WHICH WAS ERECTED IN THE CEMETERY
AT TOBRUK BY AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS
DURING THE SIEGE WHICH TOOK PLACE
BETWEEN APRIL AND DECEMBER 1941.
THE STONE WAS ORIGINALLY ONE OF
THE FRONT STEPS OF THE TOBRUK
POST OFFICE.

THIS MEMORIAL WAS UNVEILED BY
HIS EXCELLENCY
THE RT. HON. SIR NINIAN STEPHEN
A.K., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., K.B.E., K.St.J.
GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF AUSTRALIA
13 APRIL 1983

Stone on west face of memorial, in centre of base
THIS IS HALLOWED GROUND FOR HERE LIE
THOSE WHO DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY
"AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN,
AND IN THE MORNING
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM."

Plaque on west face of memorial, on right hand side of base
THIS MEMORIAL IS BASED ON ONE WHICH
WAS BUILT AT TOBRUK BY AUSTRALIAN
SOLDIERS DURING THE SIEGE USING
CAPTURED MATERIALS.  THE ORIGINAL
MEMORIAL WAS DESTROYED SHORTLY
AFTER THE WAR.  THE LANDSCAPING
WITHIN THE MEMORIAL AREA SYMBOLISES
THE COASTLINE AT TOBRUK AND THE 
DEFENSIVE POSITIONS WHICH SUCCESSFULLY
HELD THE FORTRESS AGAINST THE ENEMY.

THE PERIMETER WAS NEARLY FIFTY
KILOMETRES LONG.  ON 31 JULY 1941, THE
GARRISON'S STRENGTH WAS ABOUT 22,000
INCLUDING ABOUT 14,000 AUSTRALIANS.

Circular plaque on west face of memorial, on steps below stone
THIS TIME CAPSULE WAS LAID ON
THE 17TH APRIL 1991
TO COMMEMORATE THE 5OTH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE SIEGE OF TOBRUK 1941
BY
J.N. MADELY J.P.
FEDERAL PRESIDENT
"RATS OF TOBRUK ASSOCIATION"

Plaque on west face of memorial, on base
RATS OF TOBRUK MEMORIAL

THIS MEMORIAL COMMEMORATES THE HISTORIC SIEGE OF TOBRUK WHICH OCCURRED BETWEEN 10 APRIL
AND EARLY DECEMBER 1941.

THE TOBRUK GARRISON, UNDER MAJOR-GENERAL SIR LESLIE MORESHEAD, COMPRISED THE 9TH DIVISION
AND THE 18TH BRIGADE OF THE 7TH DIVISION, AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE, WITH ELEMENTS OF
THE BRITISH, INDIAN, POLISH AND OTHER ALLIED ARMIES.  IT WAS SUPPORTED AND SUPPLIED BY
THE BRITISH AND AUSTRALIAN NAVIES AND AIR FORCES.  THE GARRISON WAS ORDERED TO DELAY
THE ADVANCE OF THE AFRIKA CORPS FOR TWO MONTHS IF POSSIBLE, TO ENABLE THE ALLIES TO
ASSEMBLE REINFORCEMENTS FOR THE DEFENCE OF EGYPT.  ON 10 APRIL 1941 IT CAME UNDER SIEGE.

THE SIEGE REPRESENTED THE FIRST MAJOR REVERSE FOR GERMAN FORCES ON LAND DURING THE WAR
AND SHOWED THAT THE PREVIOUSLY INVINCIBLE BLITZKREIG COULD BE RESISTED.  BY THEIR LACK
OF ADHERENCE TO ORTHODOX STRATEGY, THE DEFENDERS OF TOBRUK CONFIRMED AND ENHANCED THE
TRADITIONAL IMAGE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER AND THE REPUTATION FOR HEROISM WON BY THEIR
FATHERS ON GALLIPOLI IN 1915.

Plaque on perimeter wall
AT THIS POINT THE ENEMY MADE HIS FIRST
MAIN ATTACK ON 13/14 APRIL 1941.  IT WAS
REPULSED BY THE GARRISON.  CORPORAL J.H.
EDMONDSON WAS AWARDED, POSTHUMOUSLY, THE
VICTORIA CROSS FOR VALOUR - THE FIRST
SUCH AWARD TO AN AUSTRALIAN IN THE 1939-
1945 WAR.

Plaque on perimeter wall
IN THIS AREA THE ENEMY MADE HIS SECOND
MAIN ATTACK ON 30 APRIL / 1 MAY 1941.  HE
CAPTURED A NUMBER OF POSTS, BUT THE
GARRISON'S COUNTER-ATTACKS PREVENTED HIM
FROM SUBDUING THE FORTRESS.  THE AREA
CAPTURED BY THE ENEMY BECAME KNOWN AS
THE SALIENT AND WAS THE SCENE OF MUCH
BITTER FIGHTING.

Plaque on west side of memorial
RATS OF TOBRUK MEMORIAL
Map of the World

The German siege of the Libyan seaport town of Tobruk began on 10 April 1941. After
desperate fighting most of the Australians at Tobruk were relieved by October 1941. The
town was continuously contested, however, until the Allied victory at El Alamein in late
1942. The allied defence of Tobruk lengthened the German supply lines and diverted
German forces which might have been deployed against Allied troops elsewhere. This
memorial commemorates the endurance of those who were besieged.

The replica memorial is based on the 1941 memorial in the Tobruk War cemetery, built by
Australian soldiers during the siege, which has since been destroyed. The inscription
stone, the only surviving relic of the original memorial, and at one time a front step of the
Tobruk Post Office, is incorporated.

The memorial takes the form of an obelisk. Surrounding walls portray the perimeter
defences and the design recalls the area in which the siege took place. The coastline and
harbour are to the front and the defence positions flank the rear of the memorial. The
Eternal Flame, fabricated from bronze, was created by Marc Clark and installed in 1984.

Coat of arms of Commonwealth of Australia

 


Information current to April 2001

Sources:  The Memorials of Anzac Parade, pamphlet produced by the National Capital Authority, Canberra, undated
Canberra Times, 18 April, 1991