Anzac Square Memorial Galleries Hosts Free Talk To Honour The Memory Of AHS Centaur

Anzac Square Memorial Galleries
Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The sinking of the 2/3 Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur in 1943 was one of the most tragic events of the Second World War. Stories from the survivors, including the story of the only nurse to survive the sinking, will be shared during a free talk to be held at the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries.


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During the free talk, visitors will have the opportunity to hear stories from those who survived the sinking of the Centaur. These stories will provide insight into the bravery and courage displayed by medical personnel during the war, as they risked their lives to save others. 

Visitors will also learn about Sister Ellen Savage, who was the only nurse to survive the sinking and was awarded the George Medal (GM) for her bravery and courage.

Ellen Savage (Photo credit: Australian War Memorial ID Number: 061952)

In addition to these stories, visitors will learn about the establishment of the Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses. This fund was established in 1948 as a memorial tribute to the nurses of Queensland who served during two World Wars on the home and military fronts. 

A propaganda poster calling for Australians to avenge the sinking of Centaur (Photo credit: www.awm.gov.au

Naming the fund for the Centaur recognised the 268 non-combatant personnel who died in the sinking. This fund has provided support to nurses and nursing education programs in Queensland for over 70 years.

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After the talk, visitors can stay to explore the Memorial Galleries, which will be open until 6:00 p.m. The Anzac Square parklands will also host the 2023 Nurses’ Memorial Candlelight Vigil, providing visitors with the opportunity to pay their respects to the nurses who lost their lives during the war.

The free talk will be held on Monday, 24 April 2023.

About the AHS Centaur

Centaur (Photo credit: centaur.org.au)

The 2/3 AHS Centaur was a Scottish-built vessel which was a combination passenger liner and refrigerated cargo ship before it was converted into a hospital ship for the Australian military during the Second World War.


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The sinking of the 2/3 Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur on 14 May 1943 was one of the most tragic events of the war. On this day, the Centaur, a hospital ship carrying medical personnel, was attacked by a Japanese submarine off the coast of South-East Queensland, resulting in the death of 268 non-combatant personnel. 

Mark your calendars!

WhatCommemorating the sinking of Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur
WhereAnzac Square Memorial Galleries, 285 Ann Street, Brisbane
WhenMon 24 April 2023, 3–3:30 p.m.

Published 20-April-2023