"Montevideo Maru 1942" Introduction by Andrea Williams.
Kylie Adams-Collier is an inspiring ambassador for the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia’s Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Group and is kindly donating 50c from every Little Stone Album to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia to help raise awareness of the Montevideo Maru. Her single, Montevideo Maru 1942, based on her personal experience but which so many are familiar, was released on radio on Monday 18 June 2018. The song Montevideo Maru 1942 is also on the album Little Stone, released late 2017 by Kylie and she is kindly donating 50c from every Little Stone Album to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia to help raise awareness of the Montevideo Maru.
Please share this story and support this extraordinary effort - and, if you've ever heard Kylie sing, you will melt. Kylie has a beautiful voice! Read her incredible and heartfelt story below. Kylie is a talented musician and artist and this significant and poignant Australian story comes alive through her voice.
Kylie Adams-Collier’s story about her song Montevideo Maru 1942.
On Monday 18 June my song Montevideo Maru 1942 was released to radio through CRS Publicity and Key 2 Artist Promotions. Thanks Stephen Brady, Aly Cook and Therese McKee.
There is no brief way of describing my song. I speak on behalf of many. I do hope that you take a few moments to read this. Grab a cuppa.
In 2015 I took my son Gabriel Phillips to the Australian War Memorial. We paid our respects to our relative Private Douglas Cook who fought and died at Lone Pine. We found his name on the Roll of Honour and we placed a poppy there. Thank you Ryan Dudley for being the historian in our family. We went inside and explored the newly renovated First World War exhibition and noticed that Lee Kernaghan and his wife were being guided around by staff. We then visited the Second World War exhibitions.
There we found a tall glass cabinet in the corner of a room which contained the Montevideo Maru exhibition. Included in the Montevideo Maru exhibition was a piece of paper with a boldly typed list of civilians who died. My grandfather Harry Adams was on that list. We were rather overwhelmed and upset and sat on the floor gazing through the glass. We knew about my grandfather’s fate but not in great detail. Dad never spoke about it. My family history disappeared on my father's side when they all passed away.
The unmarked Japanese prison ship Montevideo Maru was sunk by an American submarine off the Philippines on 1 July 1942 and more than 1000 Australian soldiers and civilians perished. It remains Australia's worst - and least known - maritime disaster. Apparently grandad was sitting on a verandah at a neighbouring plantation having a cup of tea when he and his friend were captured. He had lived in PNG for twenty eight years.
Back to the Australian War Memorial... Later my son and I discovered the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial outside. A large sculpture, designed by James Parrett, standing proudly on the lawn with a plaque telling the story. We took a moment to reflect before watching the last post ceremony with Lee Kernaghan. When the very moving ceremony had finished I introduced myself, thanked Lee for releasing his Anzac album and I burst into tears!! Lee politely nodded with his big black hat bobbing up and down and his white smile reassuring me as he tightly held my hand. A TV crew zoomed in. I wish I had a copy of that footage!! I thank Lee for being so gracious as I told him about my grandfather and the fate of the men on the Montevideo Maru. My visit to the Australian War Memorial inspired me to write my song Montevideo Maru 1942.
I recorded it with Lindsay Waddington at Kross Kut Records in 2017 and included it on my album Little Stone. Lindsay did such a beautiful job producing my song that means so much to many. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Waddo. Thank you Tyson Colman, Lawrie Minson, Michel Rose, Lindsay Waddington, Hugh Curtis, Tony Wagner and Rob O'Sullivan for playing on my album. Also BIG thank you to Reegan Waddington. Not long after I wrote my song I was invited by Yana Di Pietro to attend a Papua New Guinea Association of Australia AGM. As fate would have it, I was then invited by Sara Turner and other PNGAA members to perform my song at the Rabaul & Montevideo Maru 75th Anniversary service in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea and the Australian War Memorial Canberra. I attended a five day tour of Rabaul and East New Britain, PNG, with a party of 30 Australians culminating in a 75th Anniversary Dusk Service at the Rabaul 1942-1945 Memorial. The dusk service was held on 22 June 2017, the 75th anniversary of the men boarding the Montevideo Maru and leaving Rabaul. Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Bruce Davis AM, gave a thoughtful and sensitive tribute, acknowledging the various aspects of this tragedy. Visiting Rabaul was the highlight of my life (besides having children).
My Grandfather ran plantations in Papua New Guinea and I was able to find out more about my family history. The people of Rabaul are beautiful. Rabaul is beautiful! One day I will return. Rabaul is forever in my heart. Rabaul needs Australians to return to boost its economy. Book a cruise! I visited war sites, volcanoes, markets, beaches and much more. It was a trip of a life time and I will have lifetime friends. Thankyou Susan McGrade, Rabaul Hotel, Albert Konie, Andrea Williams, John Carolyn Reeves, Craig Tilley and everyone!
On Saturday, July 1 2017 at 1pm I attended the Rabaul & Montevideo Maru 75th Anniversary Memorial Service at the Australian War Memorial and performed my tribute song again. Keynote speaker at the service was Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, AO. Keynote speaker at the 75th Anniversary Dinner on 1 July 2017 was Mr Gordon Ramsay, MLA, ACT Attorney General and ACT Minister for Veterans and Seniors. Andrea Williams, President of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia, said: “75 years ago today the Australians who embarked on the Montevideo Maru had no idea they would be making history…that their names would be listed in the worst maritime disaster the Australian nation has known, the only hellship with no allied survivors; a disaster which was unknown for three and half years… It is important to acknowledge the sacrifice and remember these men so present and future generations of Australians are aware of the contribution made towards making our nation what it is today.”
The Australian soldiers were taken prisoners of war (POWs) in the aftermath of the Japanese invasion of Rabaul and the New Guinea Islands on 23 January 1942. They were members of the 2/22nd Infantry Battalion and ancillary units, the 1st Independent Company, and the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles. The civilian internees were officers of the then Australian Administration, businessmen, bankers, planters, missionaries and merchant seaman. They included relatives of some wellknown Australians:
Kim Beazley's uncle was a builder with the Methodist Mission; Peter Garrett's grandfather was a planter; and one time Prime Minister Sir Earl Page lost a brother, Harold Page DSC, MC,MID, Croix de Guerre, a highly decorated Australian WWI officer who was the senior government official in Rabaul at the time. Over 50 of the victims had fought in WW1, 47 of whom were civilian internees. Australian boys over 16 remained in Rabaul but in a few cases younger boys stayed. One 11 year old was executed in Rabaul with his parents. Women and children had been evacuated to Australia in the weeks preceding the Japanese invasion and for the majority it was not until 1945, after the war ended, that they learned whether their husbands and fathers were alive or dead. About 400 Australians did manage to escape but many died trying to do so. Some were captured and summarily executed; others died from illness and starvation, or drowned crossing fast flowing rivers.
On 30 June 2018, the fall of the New Guinea Islands and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru was commemorated at the moving Last Post Ceremony, with a story read by Vice Chief of Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs. The story included that of Chief Yeoman of Signals Stephen Lamont of the Royal Australian Navy who was one of the victims on the Montevideo Maru.
Visitors were invited to lay wreaths and floral tributes beside the Pool of Reflection. I attended and paid my respects again on behalf of my family Gabriel Phillips, Luella Adams, Wade Adams, Jenny Adams, Brian Adams, Jan Di Pietro.
I am donating 50 cents from every Little Stone album to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia to help raise awareness of the Montevideo Maru. I sincerely thank the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia and the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society for their ongoing support. My single is now available on CD baby, iTunes, Spotify and my album.
Please get behind my single. Request it at your local community radio station, buy the single, buy the album. Talk about my song. Help me spread the story of the Montevideo Maru.
To those who perished on the MS Montevideo Maru, we will remember them.
Lest we Forget.
Max Uechtritz produced the short film: Montevideo Maru - Australia's Greatest Maritime Disaster and launched it in July 2019.
"Montevideo Maru 1942" reached #2 on the Country Tracks Top 40 charts.
Widely publicised by Key 2 Artist Promotions Kylie had over fifty radio interviews around Australia
sharing the Montevideo Maru story even further.
Winning of a Brumby Award for Heritage Song of The Year 2019
Semi finalist in the Tamworth Songwriters Salute awards for Heritage Song 2019
Runner up for Best Heritage song in the Songs Alive National Awards 2019