Bangka Strait Memorial Service
On February 16th, 1942, 22 Australian Army Nurses were machine gunned by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army on Bangka Island's Radji Beach in the Dutch East Indies (now known as Indonesia). All but one nurse were killed in the massacre. Five years later, the lone survivor, Vivian Bullwinkel, gave evidence at a war crimes trial in Tokyo, having survived the war.
Thirteen years after the massacre, the first Bangka Strait Memorial Service was held at the South Australian Women's Playing Fields and has been held annually on the Sunday closest to 16th February. The memorial service has expanded its scope of commemoration to Australian women who served their country overseas in the armed forces.
Each year, a guest speaker addresses the Bangka Strait Memorial Service. Below are copies of some the transcripts from previous years.
- 2021 - The guest speaker was the Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret'd). You can read a transcript of her address here.
2017 - The guest speaker was the Honourable Dr Brendan Nelson AO, Director of the Australian War Memorial. You can read a transcript of his address here.
2016 - The guest speaker was Colonel (Rtd) Susan Neuhaus. A transcript of her speech is available here.
2014 - The guest speaker was Dr Barbara Orchard. You can learn more about her here.
2013 - The guest speaker was His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, Governor of South Australia. You can read a transcript of his address here. His speech offers a more detailed account of what occurred on Radji Beach than the brief overview provided above.
2008 - The guest speaker was Brigadier Rob Atkinson. A transcript of his speech can be accessed here.
2006 - The guest speaker was Harry Medlin. A transcript of his speech can be accessed here
Next Bangka Day Memorial Service
18 February 2024 9.45am for 10am to be held at South Australian Women's Memorial Playing Fields, Shepherds Hill Road, St Marys