In referring to the garrison of 20,000 allied troops (14,000 of whom were Australian) William Joyce aka Lord Haw Haw, the British traitor turned German radio propagandist, likened the troops to ”rats who would be smoked out of their holes”. Not to be down heartened by this reference the troops took up the name and thus were born the “Rats of Tobruk”.
This Anzac Parade memorial commemorates the World War II siege of Tobruk, Libya, from April to December 1941.
The Memorial (dedicated by Governor General , Sir Ninian Stephen in April 1983) is based on the, since destroyed, memorial in the Tobruk War Cemetery built by Royal Australian Engineers during the siege. The marble inscription stone (originally one of the steps of the Tobruk Post Office) from the Tobruk memorial was recovered after WWII and and is incorporated in the obelisk (see picture below).
The walls of the memorial symbolise the perimeter defences of Tobruk and the landscaping around it symbolises the area (and coastline) in which the siege took place. The “Eternal Flame” made from a bronze sheet was installed in 1984. A time capsule containing a Tobruk medal, a German propaganda pamphlet urging Australians to surrender and a map of Tobruk was placed in the step below the marble stone on 17 April 1991, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the siege.
The siege of Tobruk was the first major reversal for German forces in WWII showing that the, to date, Blitzkreig, could be successfully resisted.
Address: ANZAC Parade