05 May 2007

More on HMAS Sydney

Two recent items about the loss of the Sydney in 1941, about which I've previously commented.

The first is an article "Remembering Anzacs and not forgetting HMAS Sydney" by Jo Green , which was posted last week on Online Opinion.

The second is an item "Saying sorry for HMAS Sydney" on the SA edition of ABC TV's Stateline. For a transcript see here.

For a summary of the "official" version see the talk "HMAS Sydney - 60 years on" given by Dr Peter Stanley at the Australian War Memorial on the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the Sydney.

Dr Green's is a strongly felt piece though unfortunately the author makes some errors, for example "Ivan Wittner" should be "Ivan Wittwer". She also could have given further details of some of her sources,for example the John Samuels book (Somewhere Below: the Sydney scandal exposed) and some other sources.

The Stateline program confirmed that there is still considerable interest surrounding the sinking of the Sydney 65 years on. There are still living former crew members of the ship, and relatives of those lost. There are, I believe, also survivors (of the 300+ originally saved)
of the Kormoran and relatives and friends thereof .

Despite various enquiries the story won't, unlike the Sydney itself, disappear beneath the waves. To my mind the government should fund a proper search for the wreck of the vessel, and not just leave it to the HMAS Sydney II Search Appeal whose efforts, judging by the long intervals between its
news releases , is becalmed. The Federal, WA and NSW governments have already chipped but have seen next to no return on their investments, so perhaps they should push harder for more to be done; and yes, to put in more money, but with tighter strings attached.

1 comment:

Miss Eagle said...

It is amazing what remains in the collective psyche. As you point out, there is a never-let-go element to the story of The Sydney. Of course, so much is left unsaid about its demise and people feel there is more to be known. It reminds me of how the sinking of The Centaur is remembered in Queensland. The Centaur was a Red Cross ship sunk by the Japanese and it was regarded as an inhumane act of treachery.

BTW, have upgraded your comment on David Hicks' homecoming to a post - it was so good I didn't want it to be overlooked. Thank you for the update and local information on that. Valuable insight.