HMAS Sydney MemorialThe HMAS Sydney Memorial, sitting high on the hill overlooking the Indian
Ocean in Geraldton , is one of the most imaginative memorials in the State. The memorial took the well
renowned Smith Sculptors Studio almost three years to design and create and stands as a fitting memorial
to the 645 crew members who lost their lives defending our State and country.
One Fateful Evening On November 19th, 1941 somewhere west of Carnarvon the light cruiser H.M.A.S. Sydney II encounter what appeared to be a foreign merchant ship. As the Sydney
approached the ship, it signalled that she was the Dutch merchant ship 'Straat Malakka'. The Captain of HMAS
Sydney, Joseph Burnett, requested that the ship hoist her secret signal. The merchant ship hoisted the German
Ensign revealing that it was not a merchant ship at all, but the German raider 'The Kormoran'. A battle
ensued with the Sydney being struck by a torpedo with in minutes of the battle, she was however able to hit
the Kormoran three times. The battle would end with both ships sinking, 300 men from the Kormoran made it to
shore but unfortunately all 645 souls of H.M.A.S. Sydney II perished.
A Fitting MemorialIn January, 1999, Joan, Charlie and Joanne Smith (in collaboration with the
Rotary Club of Geraldton) began work on designing and creating a fitting memorial. The memorial was designed around
a circular theme "symbolic of eternity and the circle of life".
The Dome of Souls The "Dome of Souls" structure, comprises of a stainless steel dome, made
up of 645 silver gulfs, a polished bronze propeller in the centre of a granite ceremonial area and an
"Eternal Flame" that hangs above an altar.
The SteleThe "Stele", overlooking the Indian Ocean, is a 19m high sculpture made from
stainless steel and was designed to represent the prow (forward part of a ship) of the HMAS Sydney II. The
sculpture is also symbolic of a stele, which is an inscribed upright stone used as a grave marker.
The Waiting Woman Capturing the personal despair of the many families, especially the wives
and mothers who lost a sailor in the tragedy, the Waiting Woman stares out to sea in vain hope of glimpsing
the return of her loved one. Sadly the sculpture not only represents the great loss of the time but also
symbolises the continued disparity of families that still wait for closure from the incident. The Waiting
Woman was designed and sculpted by Joan Walsh-Smith with the aim to create a "humanising feature" to the
Official OpeningThe memorial was officially opened on the 18th November, 2001 and an eternal
flame was lit on the 19th November, 2001, sixty years to the day of the tragic event. The flame was lit from the
"Eternal Flame" at the War Memorial in King's Park.
HMAS Sydney Memorial
Smith Sculptors Studio