Corner figures

Four standing figures adorn the highest corners of the Anzac Memorial building. They represent each of the four branches of Australian service during the Great War: the naval commander represents the Royal Australian Navy (facing south-east); the infantry lieutenant the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force (facing north-east), the matron the Australian Army Nursing Service (facing north-west); and the air force officer the Australian Flying Corps (facing south-west)

 

 

On this day

On this day
16 February

1942— BANKA ISLAND MASSACRE. Following the sinking of the SS Vyner Brook, many of the survivors, including 22 Australian nurses, reached the shore of Banka Island. Realising that their position was desperate, an officer from the ship set out with most of the women and children to surrender the group to the Japanese. The officer returned with 20 Japanese soldiers who ordered all the men capable of walking to move to hidden part of the beach and killed them. They then returned to the beach and ordered the 22 nurses and 1 British civilian woman to walk into the water. They were machine-gunned in the back. All the immobile survivors were then killed. Sister Vivian Bullwinkle pretended to be dead and was the only survivor