Death in Borneo: Australian National Identity, War and the Transnational Imagination

SueAnne Ware and Chris Hudson
Vol 29, Number 1, p.55
Accounts of Sandakan and the Death Marches have recently come to light in Australia’s never ending quest to solidify its place in history and create national memory. Sandakan is now a landscape of memory for Australians, and a place for the continuing reaffirmation of national identity. The events are perpetuated in a series of memorials, museums, cemeteries and other concrete manifestations of national trauma in and around the Sandakan district. This paper examines material and aesthetic manifestations of the Australian national memory at two memorial sites: the Sandakan Memorial and the Kundasang Memorial, in light of their socio-cultural and political contexts. The investigation makes evident the political terrain of a nation’s quest for constructing and memorialising identity.