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HMAS Canberra Memorial


A memorial shaped like the helm of a ship overlooking Savo Island. It has a brass plaque with an inscription.


In August 1942, the HMAS Canberra was wrecked by torpedoes and gunfire during the

Battle of Savo Island (Solomon Islands).

An American invasion force had started landing on Guadalcanal on 7 August, the objective was to capture the almost completed Japanese airfield at Lunga Point, thus ensuring that the vital USA-Australia supply lines could not be threatened. The initial landings and capture of the airfield at Lunga Point, renamed Henderson Field, met with only light resistance ashore, however, air attacks on the assault force commenced and were to continue during the period of the campaign. Fortunately for the Allied commanders, Royal Australian Navy Coastwatchers were providing invaluable warnings of Japanese raids. In order to protect the transports against these raids, a screening force of cruisers and destroyers was deployed to patrol the approaches to Guadalcanal. HMAS CANBERRA had been forming part of this screening force, patrolling an area to the south of Savo Island. In the early hours of 9 August the Japanese naval force sighted the Southern Screening Force and opened fire with all weapons. CANBERRA, being the lead ship, received almost the full force of the Japanese barrage and was immediately put out of action. She was finally abandoned and scuttled (torpedoed). 84 men lost their lives and 110 were wounded.

Following the loss of the HMAS Canberra, the British Government approved the transfer of the Shropshire to the Royal Australian Navy as a replacement. She was commissioned as HMAS Shropshire on 20 April 1943, however, due to the pre transfer refit it was not until 25 June 1943 that she was formally handed over to the Royal Australian Navy. Most of the crew for HMAS Shropshire were former members of the HMAS Canberra when it was sunk at Savo Island.

Construction information

The original memorial to HMAS Canberra in the Solomon Islands was located in the grounds of Vilu Private Museum, 30 kilometres east of Honiara, and was destroyed a few years ago during tensions in the country. The memorial and plaque is now located at the Police Memorial Park, Honiara, overlooking Savo Island, where it is more secure and readily accessible to the public.

In 2008 the Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorials Restoration Program provided funds to the HMAS Canberra/Shropshire Association to restore the memorial.


Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Located in Rove Police Park.


Click to enlarge
HMAS Canberra/HMAS Shropshire Memorial