HMAS Sydney Memorial Drive was built in 2001 on the 60th Anniversary commemoration of the sinking of the “Sydney”.
Sinking of HMAS Sydney II
HMAS Sydney II was sunk off the coast between Geraldton and Carnarvon by the German Raider “Kormoran”. On November 19th, 1941 somewhere west of Carnarvon the light cruiser H.M.A.S. Sydney encounter what appeared to be a foreign merchant ship. As the Sydney approached the ship she signalled that she was the Dutch merchant ship Straat Malakka. The Captain rather than deploy the spotter plane to identify the ship, chose to approach to within point-blank range. When Captain Joseph Burnett of the Sydney requested the ship hoist her secret signal, the merchant ship hoisted the German Ensign revealing that it was not a merchant ship but the German raider the Kormoran.
A battle ensued with the Sydney being struck by a torpedo within minutes of the battle, she was however able to hit the Kormoran three times. The battle would end with both ships sinking, 300 men from the Kormoran made it to shore but unfortunately all 645 souls of H.M.A.S. Sydney II perished. The location of both vessels were never found until March 17th, 2008 . American shipwreck hunter David Mearns and his team, using state of the art equipment located the wreckage of both the Kormoran and HMAS Sydney ending a 70 year mystery.
The Memorial Drive has 645 plaques & palms representing the 645 souls lost on HMAS Sydney II on that fateful day in November, 1941.There is another HMAS Sydney II Memorial in Geraldton which is well worth visiting.