This memorial, located about 50m from the National Carillon and easily recognised as you walk along the northern shore of the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin is a five tonne anchor and chain of the type typically carried by a naval cruiser like the HMAS Canberra which it commemorates. The base of the memorial is in the shape of a ship.
HMAS Canberra was built in Scotland and commissioned in 1928 and prior to its sinking had accumulated battle honours in the East Indies, the Pacific and Guadacanal. On 9 August 1942, HMAS Canberra was struck by the opening Japanese shots of the Battle of Savo Island, and mortally damaged. Unable to propel herself, the cruiser was evacuated and sunk in Ironbottom Sound by two American destroyers. 84 sailors were killed (74 during the battle, 10 dying later from wounds).
In recognition of the valour displayed by the Australian ship and her company, US President Roosevelt commemorated the loss of HMAS Canberra by naming a US battleship in her honour. The ship so named is the only US warship ever named after a foreign capital city. This US naming incidentally, and notwithstanding the wishes of King George VI, precluded Australia naming a replacement ship, gifted by the UK, Canberra. The replacement ship retained its UK name, Shropshire.
The memorial, designed by the ACT Naval Historical Society, commemorates the ships sinking and was unveiled on 9 August 1981 by Admiral Sir Anthony Synnot.
The final photo above – public domain official U.S. Navy photograph 80-G-13488 from the Naval History and Heritage Command – depicts destroyers removing crew from the HMAS Canberra after the Battle of Savo Island, 9 August 1942. USS Blue (DD-387) is alongside Canberra´s port bow, as USS Patterson (DD-392) approaches from astern.
Address: Parkes Way, ACT 2600
Directions: About 50m from the National Carillon