House of Representatives Committees

Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Report on the Loss of HMAS Sydney

Chapter 7

The Unknown Sailor

7.1    On or about 6 February 1942 a carley float,2 containing a corpse, was recovered off Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. The body was partly decomposed and clothed in a blue boilersuit which had been bleached white by exposure. A shoe or boot was also found in the carley float, and the island doctor believed that it did not belong to the deceased. The body was examined by the doctor, who found that it was the body of a white male, but as there were no personal effects or identifying items on the body, his identity could not be determined. After examination the remains were interred in an grave in the old European cemetery on Christmas Island. The burial was conducted with 'military honours'.3

7.2    Mr J C Baker, who had been in charge of the Radio Station on Christmas Island, indicated that when he left Christmas Island on 17 February 1942, 'an inquest, which had been delayed owing to illness of an official, was in progress. A full report is to be forwarded to Australia as soon as this inquest is concluded'.4 It is not known whether the report of the inquest was ever forwarded to Australia, as no inquest report or autopsy report has ever come to light. Christmas Island was overrun by Japanese Forces on 31 March 1942. Whether records of the body were destroyed during this period, or whether they were removed and later lost, is not clear.

7.3    For many who made submissions to this inquiry, the body on Christmas Island was a central concern. If the body was indeed that of one of HMAS Sydney's crew, there was a strong feeling that it should no longer lie in an unmarked grave in a remote part of the Indian Ocean. For some, the body on Christmas Island symbolised what they felt had been the neglect of the Sydney and her crew, and was a condemnation of the government's inactivity:

7.4    The Committee's Terms of Reference required that it specifically address:

7.5    As a preliminary to addressing those two issues, the Committee felt that it was necessary first to establish whether or not, on the balance of probability, the body came from HMAS Sydney. If this could not be determined satisfactorily, the issue for consideration was then whether there was any other basis on which to seek an exhumation.

7.6    In examining this issue, as indeed with many of the issues raised in this inquiry, the question of standard of proof was central. As one submission argued:

7.7    The Committee was conscious of comments such as these in conducting the inquiry, and as noted in the introduction to this report, has sought to determine what a reasonable person would believe and has looked at the balance of probabilities.

Origins of the Carley Float

7.8    Contemporary accounts of the discovery of the body indicate that it was thought by many at the time that the carley float and body had originated from HMAS Sydney. After the war, the Director of Naval Intelligence, Captain G C Oldham, investigated the matter. His brief report,7 noted that '... the clothing found on the corpse could possibly have been that of an R.A.N. rating', however 'it seems reasonably certain from the particulars given of the covering of the Carley Float that the Float did not belong to an H.M.A. Ship'. On this basis, Captain Oldham concluded that the carley float was not ex H.M.A.S. Sydney'.

7.9    This appears to have been the end of the matter as far as Navy and indeed the Department of Defence were concerned. There is no record of other investigations having been made, and the Department of Defence has maintained the position that 'Given the lack of further details it is difficult to come to any definitive conclusion on the origins of the Christmas Island carley float'.8

7.10    Gill indicated that it 'was at first thought that [the body] might be from Sydney, but in the early post-war years, and after detailed investigation of all reports and descriptions of the float and its occupant, the Director of Naval Intelligence at Navy Office (then Captain Oldham, RAN) concluded that this could not be so'.9 This view has been challenged by a number of researchers and interested parties, with many claiming that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the carley float being from Sydney.

7.11    Michael Montgomery, in his work on the Sydney, implies that the carley float sighted off Christmas Island was from the same source as the carley float recovered by the Heros, i.e. from Sydney.10

7.12    Barbara Winter was more explicit, arguing that:

7.13    Among the more recent accounts of the loss of Sydney, Tom Frame has been the only one to doubt that the body and the carley float originated from that ship. Frame argued that:

However, in the second edition of his book, released in July 1998, Frame indicated he was 'now inclined to believe the float was from Sydney' while contending that more work needs to be done in establishing a direct material connection between the float and Sydney.

7.14    In submissions to this inquiry, debate about the possible origins of the carley float has revolved largely around three key points:

Each of these will be examined in turn in this section, before considering the question of location of the body and exhumation.

Oceanographic Factors

7.15    Was it possible for a carley float, lost from the reputed site of the battle, to have reached Christmas Island by early February 1942? For those who argue that the Christmas Island carley float was from HMAS Sydney, the work of Dr John Bye, an oceanographer at the Flinders Institute for Atmospheric and Marine Research, Flinders University of South Australia, is of particular interest. On 7 October 1994, 943 drift cards were released near the supposed site of the sinking of HMAS Sydney (273'S, 1113'E). As of January 1997, nine cards had been reported - one found in June 1995 on South Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, three on the coast of Kenya, one each on the coasts of Mauritius, Zanzibar and Tanzania, and two in Kwa Zulu Natal province, South Africa.14

7.16    Based on the cards recovered, Dr Bye has reached the following conclusions:

7.17    The card that was found on Cocos (Keeling) Islands was not found until June 1995, some eight months after its release. Dr Bye accounts for the longer time compared with the carley float as follows:

7.18    Dr Bye's findings from this experiment, are reinforced by the recovery of a drift card, released in December 1969 in a previous Southern Ocean experiment, at 4000'S, 11132'E, which was found on 10 January 1971 on Dolly Beach, Christmas Island.17

7.19    The work of Dr Bye is supported by a study by Professor Matthias Tomczak, Professor of Oceanography at Flinders University, who found:

7.20    CMDR R J Hardstaff, former Deputy Hydrographer RAN, also supported the theory that the carley float that was found off Christmas Island was from HMAS Sydney.19

7.21    In a paper attached to its original submission, the Department of Defence posed two questions could an object originating near 24S, 111E on 19 November arrive at Christmas Island in early February; and what other possible points of origin could there be for such an item?20 In response to the first question, the paper found '... it is possible for an object released off the west coast of Australia to be carried to the vicinity of Christmas Island by currents within three months in the early part of austral summer's monsoon period'.21 On the basis of this evidence, the Committee rejects the view put by Professor Creagh that '...none of the meteorological conditions prevailing at that time would lead to an expectation that the float could have drifted towards Christmas Island'.22

7.22    While acknowledging also that the results of the drift experiments 'tend to support the theory that an object could have drifted from the location of the battle to Christmas Island' the Department of Defence indicates there are at least four other possible points of origin for the float:

The Department concludes that 'the source area of the float could not be determined with certainty'.23

7.23    The Committee believes that the Department of Defence would have to mount a more thorough case than that presented in its submission to support the view that there are four other points of origin for the float. No comparable study to the drift card study undertaken by Dr John Bye appears to have been undertaken by Defence. A detailed hydrographic assessment of currents in each of the four areas, together with the locations of the putative source of the carley float (either a damaged or sunk vessel) would seem a prerequisite to making such assertions.

7.24    However, if the Department of Defence is correct in its assertion that there are four other possible geographic sources for the carley float, the question then to be asked is, if the carley float originated in one of these areas, from what vessel did it come?

Could the Carley Float have come from a Ship other than Sydney?

7.25    In its submission, the Department of Defence indicated that it believes that the float may have originated from any one of 11 merchant ships and 11 naval vessels sunk in the broad area of the Indonesian archipelago in the period June 1941 to February 1942. In addition, Defence noted:

7.26    However, Mrs Rosslyn Page has conducted an extensive review of shipping that might possibly have been the source for the carley float, examining not just the 21 ships nominated by Defence, but over 100 ships including:

7.27    Mrs Page concludes from her work that 'the only Allied warship sunk in the Indian Ocean, at or south of the Equator between 1939 and before 6 February 1942, equipped with a Carley float manufactured to RAN specifications and marked "LYSAGHT DUA-ANNEAL ZINC. MADE IN AUSTRALIA" ... was HMAS Sydney'.27

7.28    A suggestion made to the Chairman of the Committee, that the body may have originated from a convoy during 1940-1941,28 was also examined by Mrs Page and discounted. As Mrs Page pointed out, the carley float recovered off Christmas Island was 'riddled with shrapnel', indicating it had been in proximity to a battle, rather than the result of someone going overboard.29

7.29    Several vessels were not covered by Mrs Page's review, but Dr John Bye, using the drift current patterns of the region and the required average speed for debris to arrive at Christmas Island from the position given for each sinking, reached the following conclusion: 'that there are NO listed ships (except for HMAS Sydney) which could have been a source for the Christmas Island Carley Float'.30

7.30    A summary of those vessels identified by Defence, and comments by Mrs Page and Dr Bye are in Table 7.1.

Table 7.1 Comparison of Vessels as Possible Source for Carley Float31

Name of Ship Date Lost Location Comments32
Velebit 26.6.41 10N, 88E Current drift towards Malacca Strait.
Perekop 18.12.41 Near Senoa, Natuna Island, Dutch East Indies As for Banka. Also too fast.33
Kwangtung 4.1.42 0912'S, 11110'E Carley floats did not form part of her peacetime equipment; Kwangtung never visited Australia.34 However, possibility of drift towards Christmas Island.
Baynain 11.1.42 Off Tarakan, Dutch East Indies Captured. Too fast.
Jalarajan 14.1.42 0012' S, 97E Current drift westward away from Christmas Island.
Senang 16.1.42 0115' N, 10450'E As for Banka. Also too fast.
Eidsvold 20.1.42 Off Christmas Island All 31 crew saved.35
Zannis L Cambanis 21.1.42 0115'N, 10431'E As for Banka. Also too fast.
Taisang 24.1.42 0055'N, 10335'E As for Banka. Also too fast.
Harpa 27.1.42 Main Strait, Singapore Main Singapore Strait, (115'N, 10400'E). As for Banka. Also too fast.
Giang Seng 29.1.42 Dutch East Indies Not recorded in Lloyd's War Losses, but Dutch sources indicate vessel not sunk until 2 March 1942. Sunk near Surabaya, situated on the Madura Strait which opens onto the Java Sea (not the Indian Ocean).36
Sydney 19.11.41 26S, 111E (est)
Prince of Wales 10.12.41 334'N, 10426'E Debris from the ship was subject to the clockwise gyres of Northern Hemisphere Oceans and the Equatorial Counter Current, which flows West at and to approx. 7 north of the Equator. Opposing currents South from Sunda Strait to Christmas Island.
Repulse 10.12.41 337'N, 10421'E As for Prince of Wales.
Kampar 13.12.41 Penang As for Banka. Also too fast and opposing currents in Malacca Strait.
Banka 10.12.41 East Coast of Malaya At or North of the equator, between 0 and approximately 7N, the Indian Counter Current flows west. Debris (if any) would have to negotiate the various Straits and localised currents, to come into the Indian Ocean.37
Kudat 30.12.41 Port Swettenham Lloyds reported the loss of Kudat as occurring on 10 January 1942. Flow of debris: see comments for Banka. Also too fast.
Prins van Oranje 11.1.42 South of Boengoe Island, Tarakan Too fast.
Thanet27.1.42 240'N, 10342'E Subject to the same forces which governed the ocean currents as for Repulse and Prince of Wales. Also too fast.
Kelana 16.1.42 Malaya As for Banka. Also too fast.
Larut 22.1.42 East Coast of Sumatra Crew saved. Also too fast, and opposing currents.38
Raub 22.1.42 East Coast of Sumatra Crew saved.39

7.31    A similar exercise in examining the ships listed by the Department of Defence as possible sources of the carley float was undertaken by the former Deputy Hydrographer RAN, CMDR R J Hardstaff RAN (Retd). He examined the location and date each ship was sunk, the shortest distance in nautical miles to Christmas Island, the days between sinking and the arrival of the carley float at Christmas Island, the miles needed to be covered per day, and the drift rate. Taking into consideration which vessels would be likely to carry naval carley floats similar to that found off Christmas Island, CMDR Hardstaff concluded that 'serious consideration should be given to HMAS Sydney only'.40

7.32    It has also been claimed that the carley floats were an accountable item,41 and records kept of floats lost during this period. However, other evidence has suggested that such floats were 'a throw-away item', replaced as necessary.42 There was also the suggestion that the float may have originated from a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship (DEMS), which sometimes carried carley floats. However there were no known DEMS lost in the Indian Ocean at that time from which the float might have come.43

7.33    It is apparent from an examination of Table 7.1 that while a number of the vessels listed by the Department of Defence are most unlikely as possible sources of the carley float, not all of the vessels can be ruled out. The Committee believes that while it is not possible, on this basis, to prove conclusively that the carley float originated elsewhere than the Sydney, it is also not possible to discount the view that the carley float may have come from the Sydney.

The Nature of the Carley Float

7.34    The description given by Captain J R Smith, Harbour Master from Christmas Island of the carley float was as follows:

7.35    While substantially agreeing with this description, Mr J C Baker also added that the float was marked No. 2 on the outside covering. His recollection of the inscription varied slightly, and was 'MADE IN N.S.W. ANNEALED ZINC INSIDE'.45 Both men referred to marine growth on the float, indicating that it had been in the water for some time.

7.36    It is believed that part of the carley float was taken by Captain Smith to Fremantle in late February 1942 and that it was given to naval authorities who reportedly agreed that it came from an Australian ship.46 There are no records pointing to the fate of the remains of the carley float, and most assume that it has been destroyed in the intervening period.

7.37    Captain Oldham based his findings that the float was not from Sydney, largely on the physical description of the carley float. A second carley float, found by naval auxiliary Heros during the search for Sydney in November 1941, has survived and is currently in the collection of the Australian War Memorial (AWM). The Department of Defence accepts that 'there is very strong evidence to suggest that it came from the Sydney'.47 The AWM float was subjected to extensive scientific analysis, the report of which was published in 1993.48 In summary, that investigation found:


7.38    The report also noted that other damage to the float 'has been caused by early investigative techniques and as the result of being on "open" display from 1942 to 1960'.51 In regard to the often repeated accusations that the Germans machine-gunned Australian survivors, the following comment in the scientific investigation report is of note:

7.39    The Committee notes with concern that, despite this clear indication of an absence of bullets, a number of submissions still continue to describe the carley float as 'heavily marked by bullet perforations', holding to the theory that its occupants were machine-gunned.53

7.40    A comparison of the descriptions of the Christmas Island float and the float in the AWM is not conclusive, although there are a number of similarities. The comparison is summarised in Table 7.2. On the basis of this comparison, the Department of Defence believes that 'Given the lack of further details it is difficult to come to any definitive conclusions on the origins of the Christmas Island carley float'.54

7.41    In looking at the descriptions, Mr Wes Olson noted that the red yarn in the rope indicated that it was navy issue rope, or Admiralty rope. Further, the numbering of the float is not inconsistent with it coming from Sydney, as there is evidence that Captain Burnett had the rafts numbered on the ship (as reflected in the number 5 on the float in the Australian War Memorial). Mr Olson also notes that Lysaghts of Newcastle, New South Wales produced a treated sheet steel product which was know as Zincanneal. The AWM carley float has 'Lysaght Zincanneal Australia Panel Quality' stamped on its steel panels. He concludes that 'As British manufactured Carley floats were constructed of copper, the fact that both the Christmas Island float and the AWM float were constructed of Australian galvanised steel would suggest that both were made in Australia'. 55

7.42    The main difference between the two floats then appears to be kapok versus cork. Some doubt has been raised about the accuracy of the observation that kapok was what was seen in the Christmas Island float. It has been suggested that in fact it might have been balsa which had degenerated as a result of shellfire damage and long exposure to salt water and sun. 'Both reconstituted cork and balsa wood are rigid materials and would provide an adequate support for the outer wrapping of canvas strips. On the other hand kapok occurs in flock form, has insignificant tensile strength so that it could not be glued to the buoyancy tubes (as were cork and balsa) and has insufficient compressive strength to withstand the forces generated by being wrapped in canvas'.56 However the evidence is not conclusive, and as Mr Olson suggested:

Table 7.2 Comparison of the Christmas Island and AWM Carley Floats58

Item AWM Float Christmas Island Float Remarks
Markings (wood)
Markings (hull) 5 261 Possible raft number
Covering Cork Kapok No information identified on how widespread the use of Kapok was.
Rope Blue yarn in strands Red yarn in strands 1938 Seamanship Manual states that rogues yarn was used in naval rope as follows: Red for rope manufactured at Devonport Dockyard; and Blue for rope made by trade.

7.43    In a later submission, Mr Olson also noted that kapok was used for flotation purposes and may have been used as a wartime substitute for cork.62

7.44    Mr R H Turner, in commenting on the carley floats, reported a recent conversation he had with a former sailmaker of Garden Island, who had been the repair point for life rafts and carley floats during the war. That person indicated that these type of rafts, as described in the Australian War Memorial report, had been brought in as a wartime expedient with a limited service life, and therefore the raft could have been an RAN raft.63

7.45    Mr Olson has also examined two carley floats found in the collection of the Western Australian Maritime Museum (WAMM). One float was the same size and pattern as the carley float now in the AWM, was found to be constructed of Lysaght Queen's Head galvanised sheet iron, and the outer covering was balsa wood covered by painted canvas. Mr Olson concluded that 'it would appear that [it] was Royal Navy or Royal Australian Navy issue. Given that the inside framework is Australian manufactured Lysaght galvanised iron, it would appear probable that [it] is ex-Royal Australian Navy'.64

7.46    The second float was also examined, was of similar size and construction, and due to some markings 'it is considered probable that [it] is ex-Royal Australian Navy. Year of manufacture was probably 1944, although a 1945 or later year of manufacture cannot be ruled out'.65

7.47    The significance of these examinations is in regard to the investigation conducted by Captain Oldham in 1949 into the origin of the Christmas Island carley float. As Mr Olson observed, one of the main deciding factors in Captain Oldham rejecting the float as being from an HMA Ship was the covering of the carley float:

7.48    The examination of the two carley floats held by the Western Australian Maritime Museum was preliminary only. The Committee believes that more information might be forthcoming, if the two carley floats were subjected to the same type of examination as the carley float in the Australian War Memorial. The Director of the WAMM has recommended that 'a comprehensive scientific and historical examination is carried out on the two floats (and comparisons [made] with the War Museum float) ...'.67

7.49    The Committee recommends that:


7.50    The Committee believes that there is insufficient evidence to prove conclusively that the carley float recovered off Christmas Island in 1942 was from the Sydney. However, the Committee has concluded that based on the oceanographic studies, the physical description of the float and an investigation of other possible sources for the float, there is a strong probability that the float originated from Sydney. While it is not possible to prove the origin of the float beyond any doubt, it is equally impossible to prove the alternative, that the float, and its unfortunate occupant, were not from that ship.

The Body

7.51    The Committee also considered whether there were any clues as to the origin of the float and its passenger to be obtained from the brief description of the body itself. As noted earlier, the body recovered from the carley float had nothing (such as dog tags) to assist in its identification.68 Mr Baker, who assisted in the recovery of the body, is reported as indicating that 'The Shore doctor established that the body was that of a white man. All the flesh was gone from the right arm, also the eyes and nose were missing. Otherwise the corpse was decomposed in parts'.69 Professor Ranson, Deputy Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, has indicated that '... the reports of the body being decomposed certainly would not be inconsistent with that time interval [i.e. originating from Sydney] but, to be quite honest, you cannot be 100 per cent sure'.70

7.52    Reports that the body had a perfect set of teeth appear to have originated with Mr Jack Pettigrew, an Island resident who had attended the funeral. Mr Pettigrew said that when examined, the Island medical personnel found the body to have 'a perfect set of teeth - no extractions or fillings', which was felt to be unusual for the time.71 This observation was confirmed by other Christmas Island residents.72 There is some indication that this was a comparatively rare event for the time (see para 7.113), but at least three of the submissions refer to crew on the Sydney who had perfect teeth, and hence the belief by some that the body may be from the Sydney.73

Was there a coronial inquiry?

7.53    Mr Baker also indicated that when he left Christmas Island on 17 February 1942 'an inquest, which had been delayed owing to illness of an official, was in progress. A full report is to be forwarded to Australia as soon as this inquest in concluded'.74 It is not clear who was conducting the inquest, but Mrs Rosslyn Page, in her research on this period indicates that she believes the designated authority to hold an inquest lay with the District Officer, Tom P Cromwell.75 Mrs Page goes on to say:

7.54    At the time of World War II Christmas Island was a colony of the United Kingdom, administered from Singapore. It became an Australian Territory on 1 October 1958, but up until 1992 the Territory had a Singapore based legal regime. According to the Department of Transport and Regional Development, 'records relating to the Territory's administration prior to 1958 were returned to the United Kingdom during the 1980s and may now be in the custody of the Public Records (sic) Office' in London.77 The Committee, through its Historical Adviser, approached the Public Record Office to attempt to determine if records relating to Christmas Island were available and has confirmed that some material is available at the PRO dealing with Christmas Island and the British Phosphate Corporation.78

7.55    The Committee recommends that:


7.56    The clothing found on and near the body provided some information. In addition to the boiler suit, bleached white from exposure, a shoe was found beside the body. According to reports, the Medical Officer did not believe the shoe belonged to the dead man, raising the possibility that there may have been others on the float.79 The descriptions of the shoe vary somewhat: Mr Clark states that the shoe was 'probably branded 'CROWN BRAND PTY 4', although he had some doubts about 'CROWN' '4'.80 Harbour Master Captain Smith's recollection was of a canvas shoe branded either 'McCOWAN' or 'McEWAN' and also 'PTY' followed by a crown and/or a broad arrow.81 A later description, given in 1949 by Mr J W Brown, former Sergeant of the Christmas Island Platoon of the Singapore Volunteers, referred to a 'pair of boots'.82

7.57    While it appears that the boiler suit did not coincide with the type stocked by the RAN, Defence has acknowledged that the 'fact that the overalls may not have been of naval origin does not preclude the possibility that the body was. Sailors were, and are, renowned for buying their own non-standard items of clothing. ... The RAAF did use a blue coverall'83 and there were 6 RAAF personnel on Sydney.

7.58    In regard to the shoe, Defence has indicated that the broad arrow mark was 'a general indication of Government issue'. Defence went on to say that 'Based on the descriptions given the DNV [Director of Naval Victualling] stated that the markings on the shoe definitely corresponded to RAN supplies, provided the shoes were of leather and not canvas. A check of Commonwealth Gazettes for the period 1938 to 1941 showed that Jas McKeown & Sons Pty Ltd were suppliers of both light boots and canvas shoes to the RAN during this period'.84

7.59    The Committee found that the Defence submission strained the bounds of credibility in suggesting that 'the shoe ... may have belonged to a merchant seaman from a sunken vessel who could have been given the shoes as part of an issue of clothing after being picked up by a warship'.85 If Defence's scenario is correct, that unfortunate soul was then lost overboard again, with a naval type carley float and from there found his way to Christmas Island. While it cannot be ruled out absolutely, the Committee considers such a scenario to be highly unlikely.

7.60    On the basis of the descriptions of the body and clothing, the evidence again is inconclusive. However, there is nothing in the description of the body and clothing to suggest that it was from a non-RAN source, and the shoe in fact points to the opposite conclusion. The Committee therefore believes, on the balance of probability, that the body and the carley float found off the shore of Christmas Island in February 1942 were most likely from HMAS Sydney.

7.61    Given this probability, the Committee then considered the specific issues contained in its Terms of Reference:

The remainder of this chapter addresses these two issues, as well as the implications of any exhumation.

The Cemetery

7.62    The body recovered off Christmas Island was buried in the Old European Cemetery overlooking Flying Fish Cove. Europeans were buried in that cemetery from 7June 1907 until 2 January 1950. The Shire of Christmas Island has indicated that, based on tombstone markings and a copied register, there is evidence of ten persons having been buried in that cemetery, including the unknown sailor (although there is a suggestion of the burial there of an eleventh, Mr Hobson, about whom the Shire Council is seeking further information).86

7.63    The Old European Cemetery has been described thus:


7.64    There is no indication of whether the corpse was buried in a coffin or not.89 If a coffin was not available, 'the usual procedure was to wrap deceased personnel in a shroud (bag) or blanket'.90 The grave site was recorded as unmarked.

Locating the body

7.65    There are no records giving the exact location of the burial place of the unknown sailor in the Old European Cemetery, and therefore the exact location of the remains cannot be precisely identified. Eyewitness accounts, such as those of Joseph 'Bunny' Baker, described the burial in the following terms:

7.66    Mr Kevin Lourey, a civil engineer and Island Manager for the British Phosphate Commission between 1966-1969 surveyed the grave sites in the Old Cemetery in 1950. Mr Lourey left Christmas Island in 1969, but maintains that he is able to identify the location of the grave site, based on his knowledge of the area and where locals, present at the time of burial, had indicated it was located. While acknowledging that 'after the lapse of 27 years since I left the Island my memory may be a little astray' but that the general location was correct, Mr Lourey has indicated on a map where he believes the grave to be.92 Photographs of the cemetery, found by Mr D Inglis in Australian Archives files, and subsequently examined by Mr E McGowan and Mr Lourey, appear to show a mound of earth in the same area as indicated by Mr Lourey in his evidence to the Committee.93

7.67    Mr David Powell also conducted a survey of the Old European Cemetery in the mid-1960s, and indicated the site where he believes the unknown sailor lies. Others who have lived on the island also have their views on the location of the grave site.94

7.68    The degree of confusion about the exact location of the grave site is reflected in the fact that in 1994 a group of relatives and friends of Sydney personnel arranged for a cross to be sent to Christmas Island for erection on the grave site of the unknown sailor.95 A memorial service was held, attended by community representatives, and a cross and plaque erected over what was believed to be the grave on 9 August 1994. However, it subsequently transpired that the cross and plaque had been placed on the grave site of Norman Howard, a British Phosphate Commission Overseer who had died in 1924. The incorrect site was also accepted at that time as the burial site of the unknown sailor by the then Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories.96

7.69    The confusion about the alleged burial site was repeated in a number of submissions, and indeed photographs were provided to the Committee in the sincere belief that they showed the grave site.97 Most of the references appear to be to what is now generally accepted as the grave of Mr Howard (with a well-defined surround, but no formal headstone in place).

7.70    An archaeological survey of the Christmas Island cemetery was carried out in December 1995 by Dr M Gibbs, who was undertaking a conservation study of the nearby Christmas Island Club building. In an article written about the survey, Dr Gibbs noted that:

7.71    Dr Gibbs recommended that a 'remote sensing survey should be made of the cemetery, focussing (sic) on the apparently empty areas between the visible graves ...'. DrGibbs cautioned, however, that 'discovery of a grave will not necessarily confirm its identity as the 1942 burial'.99

7.72    The Shire of Christmas Island advised the Committee that it had requested a consulting engineering geologist to inspect the Old European Cemetery and provide advice on procedures to locate the grave of the unknown sailor. A site marked on an Archaeological Survey 1995 diagram as a likely grave site, and supposedly now covered by a boulder, appears in fact to be a rocky outcrop.

7.73    There have been several suggestions that the body may have been removed from Christmas Island.100 The Committee has not found any evidence to support these suggestions.

7.74    It is unfortunate that the Old European Cemetery has deteriorated over the years, complicating the search for the burial site of the unknown sailor. The Committee hopes that sufficient resources will be provided to the Christmas Island Shire Council to allow for restoration work to be undertaken on the Old European Cemetery and other cemeteries on the Island as required.

7.75    The Committee recommends that:

Should the Body be Exhumed?

7.76    Before considering whether or not it is technically possible to locate the grave site, and once located, identify the remains, the Committee first considered whether, as a matter of principle, it should support the calls for the body to be exhumed. Central to those considerations was identifying what purpose such an exhumation would serve, and what the likelihood would be of its success.

7.77    A number of attempts have been made in recent years to gain consent for the exhumation of the unknown sailor on Christmas Island. In each case, 'the purpose in seeking exhumation was to attempt to determine whether the unknown sailor had been a crew member of HMAS Sydney'.101

7.78    The Committee agrees with the view put by Heazlewoods Solicitors that the granting of an exhumation order does not of itself guarantee the location and identification of the remains. Should an exhumation order be granted, there are a number of possible outcomes:

7.79    Professor John Hilton, Director of the New South Wales Institute of Forensic Medicine, in support of the exhumation, made the point that:

7.80    Professor Hilton also referred to the humanitarian aspects of this matter:

7.81    Dr Carl Hughes indicated that he felt there were two main reasons for attempting to exhume the body: one from a forensic and evidential point of view; and second that the 'representation of one of the bodies, where it is not possible to identify other bodies, is helpful to the relatives'.505 The emotional toll that the loss of Sydney has taken, and indeed still continues to take, was mentioned in many of the submissions to the inquiry.106 As Mrs Barbara Craill indicated:

7.82    In considering the issue of exhumation, the need to protect the other consecrated graves from disturbance is extremely important. However, the Department of Transport and Regional Development indicated that it should be possible for the Minister to issue an exhumation order in such a way as to limit the area exhumed within the cemetery.108 The Committee, however, does not support an open-ended search of the cemetery, should the initial exhumation (based on the best possible evidence available) be unsuccessful.

7.83    Navy indicated to the Committee that it would have no objection to the body being exhumed, if a link between it and the Sydney were able to be made.109 Under the heading of 'Evidentiary Guidelines', Defence Instruction PERS 20-4 states:

On this basis, the Committee believes that an attempt should be made to locate the grave and identify the remains, and the Department of Defence, and in particular, Navy, should be involved in the process.

7.84    The Committee finds the calls from the families for action in resolving the identity of the Christmas Island body, and the arguments of Professor Hilton and Dr Hughes to be most persuasive. In examining the submissions, it is apparent there is a strong desire, among those who submitted, for some positive action to be taken by the Government, and this underlies many of the comments. The Committee is of the view that it will only be by proceeding with an attempt to locate and identify the body, regardless of the outcome, that Australian authorities can then truly say they have done everything possible to pursue this aspect of the Sydney controversy.

Legal Authority for Exhumations

7.85    The legislative basis for a legal exhumation in the Territory is as follows:

7.86    The then Department of Transport and Regional Development112 noted in its submission that 'no statutory criteria' are provided to guide the discretion provided under Section 58, and that Commonwealth policy on exhumations 'has been that a cogent case must be presented before an order under the Cemeteries Act can be made to disturb consecrated grave or graves and remove human remains buried with appropriate ceremony'.113

7.87    In May 1997, when considering a request for exhumation by solicitors acting for a group of relatives of those lost on the Sydney, the then Minister gave the following reasons for his decision not to grant an exhumation order:

Subsequent requests that the decision be reconsidered have been unsuccessful.

7.88    The Committee believes that in the intervening period, a great deal of work has been done by people such as Mrs Rosslyn Page and Dr John Bye addressing the first of the Minister's concerns. While there is never going to be conclusive proof that the carley float was from HMAS Sydney, the Committee believes that on the balance of probability, it did originate from that vessel (see para 7.60). On the third point, the Committee believes that, given the scientific techniques available, particularly in regard to DNA testing, perhaps there is a chance that, should remains be uncovered, the identity may be determined. While the chance of a definitive identification of the body being made is remote, the wishes of many of the relatives weighed heavily on the Committee and it felt obliged to respond to their continuing pressure for all steps possible to be taken, once and for all, to attempt to resolve the question of the identity of the body.

7.89    The Committee believes that the second concern of the Minister's is the most relevant at present. While there is anecdotal evidence of the location of the grave, its exact location is still unclear. The Committee believes that a small team should be sent to Christmas Island, comprising an archaeologist with relevant experience, and a representative from Defence, together with Mr K Lourey, to try and more accurately determine the location of the grave. The team should not only examine the Old European Cemetery, but should also consider all available documentary evidence, consider the feasibility of the various technologies for locating the grave, as well as consult with long-time residents of the Island and the Shire Council, in an attempt to locate the grave of the unknown sailor.

7.90    The Committee recommends that:

7.91    The Department also indicated that, in considering whether to grant an exhumation order, the Minister and the Administrator have consulted the Territory's Shire Council to determine the Christmas Island community's views on exhumation.115 While there may have been community opposition in the past,116 in a submission to the Committee the Christmas Island Shire Council indicated that 'the community would not object to an exhumation of the body of the unknown sailor provided that other graves were not disturbed and that non-intrusive methods are used to locate the grave site'.117

7.92    The Committee recommends that:

7.93    Should the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government decline to order the exhumation of the remains of the unknown sailor, Heazlewoods Solicitors, acting for a group of relatives of those lost on Sydney, would support an inquest being held into the death. The basis for an inquest is quite specific:

7.94    To date the WA Coroner has argued that there is no reason to assume an Inquest was not held in 1942, even though no record of the verdict given can be located. The Committee understands that Heazlewoods will be pursuing this matter, seeking to have the Supreme Court of Western Australia order a new inquest.119

Locating the grave

7.95    A number of possible techniques for locating the grave site were brought to the attention of the Committee during the inquiry. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) was mentioned in several submissions.120 However, GPR is not the only option available:

7.96    GPR was used in 1990 in an attempt to delineate the Rottnest Island Aboriginal Prisoners Cemetery. The survey 'located zones of disturbed ground which are considered highly likely to represent grave sites. ... [The] archaeological applications of GPR in other circumstances could be highly beneficial'.122

7.97    However, a consulting engineering geologist advising the Shire of Christmas Island, Mr Fred Baynes, 'believes that neither ground penetrating radar nor the use of magnetometers would provide optimum results because of the geological features of the cemetery and the likelihood that the body was not buried with any metal objects ...'.123 Mr Baynes has suggested that a contract archaeologist be used to research the site and carry out controlled digs as required.124

7.98    There has been a suggestion that some blasting might be required to remove boulders in the cemetery as part of the attempt to locate the grave site.125 The Christmas Island Shire Council has reservations about blasting at the site, as the area is subject to rockfall.126 The Committee supports the Shire Council in its reservations, and would not wish to see such action taken in this site.

7.99    It appears that, should the decision be taken to attempt to locate the grave of the unknown sailor, technology currently available would assist in its location. The Committee is concerned that the grave site be accurately located with as minimal disruption to the other graves as possible, and is concerned about the possibility of there being possibly one additional unmarked burial site (that of Mr Hobson see para 7.63).

Identification of the Body

7.100    Should remains be found in the Old European Cemetery, the question to be asked is whether there is any chance of identifying those remains. To a large extent that will depend on the physical condition of the remains. Factors such as depth, moisture, heat (soil temperatures) and insects affect the decomposition of human remains. Where the exact location of the remains in not known, a range of techniques may need to be employed to try and determine the position of the body.

7.101    The soil in the area near one of the graves in the Old European Cemetery has been tested and showed a soil PH in excess of 9.127 While the PH value of the soil may influence the state of the remains, Professor Hilton indicated that 'you can speculate on the effect of PH but ... you do not know until you look'.128

7.102    Depending on the state of the remains, some information may be able to be obtained by an initial physical examination. Heazlewoods Solicitors, acting for the families of some 63 deceased crew members, argued that the following action should be taken once the remains have been exhumed:

7.103    On the basis of the first three actions, Heazlewoods believes that a forensic scientist 'would then be able to exclude from further investigation those crew members who did not fall within the height parameters, or who did not have obvious deformities, old fractures or missing teeth which coincided with the skeleton. If all else fails, DNA testing could be carried out with all surviving relatives'.131

7.104    While a physical examination would provide some evidence, its usefulness will in large part rely on the type of medical records that exist for the Sydney crew, and to a degree, the recollections of family members about the general health of their particular relative (i.e. recollection of childhood bone breakages etc).

Medical records

7.105    The Committee received somewhat conflicting evidence during the course of the inquiry on the nature and availability of medical records for those who were lost on Sydney.

7.106    The Department of Defence, in a letter to Heazlewoods Solicitors in January 1998, indicated:

7.107    When Defence appeared before the Committee in March 1998, it advised that:

7.108    On the same occasion, when asked whether the records would be of use in trying to determine the identity of the Christmas Island body, however, Defence indicated that:

7.109    It appears to the Committee that the records, while possibly incomplete and not as comprehensive as those kept on ADF personnel today, may be of some assistance in attempting to identify any remains located on Christmas Island. The Committee can see no valid reason why access to those records should be denied to family members after so many years. To attempt to restrict access to such documentation is to invite suspicions of cover-up or indeed indifference to the whole matter.

7.110    The office of the Minister for Defence advised in August 1997, in response to a request for medical records for the crew of HMAS Sydney from Heazlewoods Solicitors, acting on behalf of some of the families that:

7.111    The Committee recommends that:

Other identification techniques

7.112    As Professor David Ranson, Deputy Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, stated:

7.113    As indicated above (see para 7.52), there is some indication that the unidentified sailor had a perfect set of teeth. Evidence given to the Committee suggests that this was unusual for that time,137 but by itself it would not be sufficient to identify the body. Comparison with dental records (if they still exist) or by superimposition might prove more productive. In addition, as the dental examination was conducted by a medical doctor and not a dental specialist, any observations are of more limited forensic value.138

7.114    Dental records in particular may be of varying utility. The Department of Defence advised that of the small group of records it examined, at least three different types of dental description were provided: one saying that the teeth were in good health or not; one describing each tooth by number; and the third, a visual depiction of the teeth.139

7.115    Facial reconstruction is another method that might be employed to assist in the identification of the body, should a skull be recovered from the burial site. Such three-dimensional reconstruction is generally 'only used when more reliable methods have failed or are impossible. As a technique used for identification, it has definite limitations ...'.140

7.116    There has been an assumption in a number of submissions that DNA testing will provide the identify of the body on Christmas Island. In assessing the usefulness of DNA, the Committee took evidence from Professor Ranson, and Professor John Hilton, Director of the New South Wales Institute of Forensic Medicine.

7.117    Professor Ranson indicated that:

7.118    Professor Hilton, however, sounded a note of caution about reliance on DNA:

7.119    In terms of the costs associated with DNA testing, Professor Ranson indicated that the cost would depend on the number of tests being done, but thought that a figure of $300 to $400 per test would be likely, and doing the tests in bulk would reduce the costs even further.143 He indicated that if experts charged at commercial rates, it would be expensive, but that experts may be prepared to do the work pro bono. Expenses would then be limited to transport to Christmas Island, on-island expenses and ancillary charges. The DNA testing might also be able to be done on a 'highly modified cost recovery basis'.144

7.120    As Professor Ranson noted, 'It may well be that no individual technique on its own will be able to satisfy the issue of identity beyond all reasonable doubt. However, by combining several techniques it is often possible to arrive at identity to a high degree of certainty and one which satisfies the legal burden imposed on Coroners and the courts'.145

7.121    It is apparent to the Committee that the attempted examination of the grave site and the remains within will also require the specialist skills of a number of professionals: a physical anthropologist, anatomists and forensic pathologists. Australia is fortunate in having a number of highly skilled people in this area. Any work in this area will require a multi-disciplinary team.


7.122    The question of reinterment of the body will depend largely on whether a positive identification of the remains is able to be made. If an identification is possible, then the Committee believes the family should be closely involved in determining the final resting place of the remains.

7.123    The Committee was advised that 'the community on Christmas Island would prefer that any remains be reburied on Christmas Island as this has been his resting place for the last half century. This position may change depending upon an identification being established'.146

Reinterment of unidentified remains

7.124    Should the remains of the unknown sailor be exhumed, but not be conclusively identified, the Committee believes it would be appropriate that they be reinterred on Christmas Island as close to the original burial site as possible in the Old European Cemetery. The Committee also believes that the grave site should be appropriately defined (with some form of border and headstone) and that regular maintenance be undertaken of the cemetery as a whole (see paras 7.74-7.75). The headstone should be appropriately marked, indicating that the remains are believed to be those of the unknown sailor, and giving the date of the recovery of the body from the Indian Ocean.

Reinterment of identified remains

7.125    The situation should the remains be positively identified, is more complicated. Under long-held Australian Government policy, the repatriation of remains of military personnel killed overseas has been prohibited. Following World War I it was agreed by Commonwealth Nations 'that military personnel killed in war would be buried in the nearest War Graves Commission Cemetery to the place of death'.147 An exception to this policy was made in 1966 when the Australian Government authorised a variation that permitted the remains of Vietnam casualties to be repatriated to Australia if the next-of-kin so wished. Disinterment for reburial in Australia was not permitted.148

7.126    Should the remains be positively identified as from HMAS Sydney, then Defence Instruction (General) PERS 20-4 is relevant. It states that:

7.127    OAWG have advised that once they were advised by the Department of Defence that the remains were that of an Australian sailor, identified or otherwise, 'our role would then be to simply mark the grave in situ on Christmas Island and, if the remains were positively identified, we would erect a headstone recording that name. We would seek from any next of kin a personal inscription to go on the headstone'.150 It is the responsibility of the OAWG, to also maintain the grave in perpetuity on behalf of the nation.151

7.128    There seems to be little scope, according to OAWG, for the repatriation of the remains back to mainland Australia. However, as the actual location at which the death occurred is not known (being presumably somewhere between the battle site and Christmas Island), and given the geographic isolation of Christmas Island, the Committee believes that sympathetic consideration should be given to the wishes of the family in determining the final resting place of the sailor. If the remains are returned for burial on mainland Australia, the Committee believes it would be appropriate for a small memorial cairn to be erected on Christmas Island, marking the site where the remains lay for over half a century.

7.129    A view was expressed to the Committee that the remains should be returned to Australia and buried in a memorial to Sydney, possibly in Canberra. While the Committee does not reject this idea, it believes that the final resting place should be a consultative decision, involving the family as well as OAWG and the Department of Defence.

7.130    The Committee recommends that:

1 .    McGowan, Submission, p. 897.
2 .    Named after Carley in England, where they were originally manufactured. Defence advised that the term carley float is often used generically, and hence it has been written in lower case throughout this report (Department of Defence, Transcript, p. 13).
3 .    Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1854.
4 .    Shipping Intelligence Report No 137/1942, reproduced in Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1964.
5 .    Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p. 1419.
6 .    McGowan, Submission, pp. 890-891.
7 .    The report is reproduced in a number of submissions. See for example, Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p.1482 and Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1957.
8 .    Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1856.
9 .    Gill, op. cit., pp. 459-460.
10 .    Montgomery, op cit., p. 142.
11 .    Winter, op. cit., p. 241.
12 .    Frame, op. cit., pp. 203-204.
13 .    Frame, op. cit., 2nd edition, Preface, p. xii.
14 .    Exhibit No. 9, Table 1.
15 .    Exhibit No. 9.
16 .    Exhibit No. 9a.
17 .    Exhibit No. 11a, p. 3.
18 .    Tomczak, Professor M, reproduced in Exhibit No. 11a.
19 .    Hardstaff, Transcript, p. 446.
20 .    Oceanographic Conditions near Christmas Island, November through February, Attachment O to Department of Defence, Submission, pp. 1968-1971.
21 .    ibid., p. 1970.
22 .    Creagh, Submission, p. 1012.
23 .    Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1857.
24 .    ibid., p. 1856.
25 .    ibid.
26 .    Page, Submission, pp. 690-792.
27 .    ibid., p. 3685.
28 .    Referred to in letter on behalf of Mr Eric Krake and Mr Ed Krake, in Knight, Submission, pp. 3313-3315; Knight, Transcript, p. 388, and by Chairman in Transcript, p. 378.
29 .    Page, Submission, p. 3915.
30 .    Bye, quoted in Page, Submission, p. 3697.
31 .    Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1856. All positions are as given in this submission.
32 .    Drawn from Page, Submission, pp. 740-790 and Bye, Dr J, Possible Origins of the Christmas Island Carley Float An Oceanographical Assessment of Sources Other than HMAS Sydney, Exhibit No. 37.
33 .    'Too fast' refers to a comparison of the 'required average speed' for the arrival of debris at Christmas Island, given the position and date of sinking. In the event that this speed was greater than the mean current speed on the direct path between the sinking site and Christmas Island, the ship was excluded as 'too fast' (Exhibit No. 37, p. 3).
34 .    Page, Submission, pp. 740-741.
35 .    ibid., p. 748.
36 .    ibid., p. 762.
37 .    ibid., p. 768.
38 .    ibid., p. 789.
39 .    ibid., p. 786.
40 .    Hardstaff, Submission, pp. 3955-3956.
41 .    Heazlewoods, Submission, p. 1420.
42 .    Department of Defence, Transcript, p. 13. See also Australian War Memorial, Transcript, p. 103: 'They were not part of the ship's equipment. It was at the discretion of the captain to take on whatever equipment like that he could'.
43 .    Olson, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p. 1692.
44 .    Shipping Intelligence Report No. 137/1942, 25/2/1942, S/S "ISLANDER" from Christmas Island. Reproduced in Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1962.
45 .    Shipping Intelligence Report No. 137/1942, 23.2.1942, M/V "HERMION" from Christmas Island. Reproduced in Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1964.
46 .    Based on reports from Mrs J Smith, contained in Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1854.
47 .    Department of Defence, Transcript, p. 13.
48 .    Ashton, Challenor and Courtney, The Scientific Investigation of a Carley Float, Technical Paper of the Australian War Memorial No. 1 (November 1993), Exhibit No. 30.
49 .    ibid., p. 8.
50 .    ibid., p. 27.
51 .    ibid., p. 24.
52 .    ibid., p. 26. Professor Creagh, who participated in the examination of the shrapnel, using an electron microscope, has claimed that metal fragments found were from Sydney (Transcript, p. 118).
53 .    See for example, Montgomery, Submission, p. 635.
54 .    Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1856.
55 .    Olson, W, letter of 6 March 1997, included in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, pp. 1691-1692.
56 .    Turner, Submission, p. 3972.
57 .    Olson, W, letter of 6 March 1997, included in Heazlewood's Solicitors, Submission, p. 1692.
58 .    Source: Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1855.
59 .    Exhibit No. 30, p. 12.
60 .    The descriptions vary slightly between the accounts given by Mr Smith and Mr Baker (see Department of Defence, Submission, pp. 1962-1965).
61 .    In the Department of Defence Submission (p. 1855) the numbers appearing on the two rafts are incorrectly attributed, being shown as '2' marked on the AWM float and '5' on the Christmas Island float, when the reverse is actually correct. See Shipping Intelligence Report No 137/1942, reproduced in Department of Defence, Submission, p. 1964, and Exhibit No. 30, p. 8.
62 .    Olson, Submission, p. 2323.
63 .    Turner, Transcript, p. 493.
64 .    Olson, Submission, pp. 2320-2321.
65 .    ibid., p. 2321.
66 .    ibid., p. 2322.
67 .    Western Australian Maritime Museum, Submission, p. 3449.
68 .    One submission suggested that 'the absence of name tags excluded Military/Naval personnel' (O'Sullivan, Submission, p. 3763) but other evidence has indicated that tags were often not worn. See for example, Winter, op. cit., p. 241.
69 .    Shipping Intelligence Report No 137/1942, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p . 1474.
70 .    Ranson, Transcript, pp. 320-321.
71 .    Conversation between Mr Jack Pettigrew and Mr Kevin Lourey, reported in a letter from Mr Lourey to Mrs Rosslyn Page, reproduced in Exhibit No. 11b, Appendix A.
72 .    Exhibit No. 11b, p. 7.
73 .    See for example, Mr Curtis, in Craill, Submission, p. 3731; Craill, Transcript, p. 346; McGowan, Submission, p. 895; Fraser, Submission, p. 3550.
74 .    Shipping Intelligence Report No. 137/1942, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p . 1474.
75 .    Both Mr Cromwell and Dr Scott Clark were interned at POWs, on Christmas Island, Surabaya and the Celebes, and returned to live in England.
76 .    Page, Exhibit No. 11b, pp. 38-39.
77 .    Department of Transport and Regional Development, Submission, p. 2198.
78 .    The PRO holds material under CO273 [Colonial Office], Straits Settlements Original Correspondence 1838-1946. All other PRO records are to series outside the 1941-1942 date range (E-mail, PRO to Professor P Dennis, 8 April 1998).
79 .    Neale, We Were the Christmas Islanders, (Bruce Neale, 1998, ACT), p. 60.
80 .    Shipping Intelligence Report No. 137/1942, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p . 1474.
81 .    Shipping Intelligence Report No. 137/1942, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p . 1476.
82 .    Department of Defence, Submission, p. 3193.
83 .    ibid., p. 1858.
84 .    ibid.
85 .    ibid.
86 .    Shire of Christmas Island, Submission, p. 2606. There is some question as to whether Mr Hobson, a sailor from a visiting ship who died on 31 October 1950, was buried on the island, and if so where, or whether he was buried at sea. The list provided by the Council does not include the name of Mr Norman Howard, whose grave was mistakenly marked as that of the unknown sailor in 1994.
87 .    ibid., p. 2607.
88 .    Statutory Declaration from Mr D Powell, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p . 1564.
89 .    There is a suggestion that the body may have been buried in a 'coffin ... built to conform to the body as it lay'. Unpublished papers of Jonathon Rowbotham, referred to in McDonald, G, Submission, p. 179. However, there is no indication that Mr Rowbotham was present at the burial, and accounts of others who were present do not mention an oddly shaped coffin. See comment by Mr Lourey that 'Certainly the people who told me about [the burial] never said that to me' (Transcript, p. 362).
90 .    Exhibit No. 11d, p. 5.
91 .    Neale, M, op. cit., p. 60.
92 .    Exhibit No. 11d, p. 8.
93 .    McGowan, Submission, pp. 4703-4707.
94 .    See for example Collins, Submission, pp. 3145-3149.
95 .    Exhibit No. 11d, p. 6.
96 .    Correspondence from Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p. 1600.
97 .    See for example, Crooke, Submission, pp. 3949-3954.
98 .    Gibbs, Dr M, The Corpse in the Carley Float: An archaeological survey of the Christmas Island Cemetery and the possible burial site of an HMAS Sydney sailor, reproduced in McGowan, Submission, p . 911.
99 .    ibid., p. 914.
100 .    See for example, End Secrecy on Sydney Group, Submission, pp. 2067, 2086.
101 .    Department of Transport and Regional Development, Submission, p. 2198.
102 .    Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, pp. 1654-1655.
103 .    Hilton, Transcript, pp. 402, 407, 408.
104 .    ibid., p. 408.
105 .    Hughes, Transcript, p. 496.
106 .    See for example, Craill, Submission, p.1403; Bickle, Transcript, p. 501.
107 .    Craill, Submission, p. 1404.
108 .    Department of Transport and Regional Development, Transcript, p. 70.
109 .    Department of Defence, Transcript, p. 20.
110 .    Exhibit No. 59, p. 2.
111 .    Department of Transport and Regional Development, Submission, p. 2198.
112 .    Now, the Department of Transport and Regional Services.
113 .    Department of Transport and Regional Development, Submission, p. 2199.
114 .    ibid., pp. 2200-2201.
115 .    ibid., p. 2199
116 .    ibid.
117 .    Shire of Christmas Island, Submission, p. 2607.
118 .    D A McCann, WA Coroner, correspondence reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p. 1613.
119 .    Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p. 1659.
120 .    See for example, McGowan, Submission, p. 918; Olson, Submission, p. 218.
121 .    Quoted in McGowan, Submission, p. 919; Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p. 1441.
122 .    Randolph, Wilson, Frampton, Merrit, Rottnest Island Aboriginal Prisoners Cemetery: Delineation of extent using ground penetrating radar, reproduced in McGowan, Submission, pp. 921-938.
123 .    Shire of Christmas Island, Submission, p. 2607.
124 .    ibid.
125 .    Department of Transport and Regional Development, Submission, p. 3124.
126 .    Shire of Christmas Island, Submission, p. 2607.
127 .    Correspondence from Professor J Hilton, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p . 1599.
128 .    Hilton, Transcript, p. 403.
129 .    Or indeed, confirm the initial observations of 'a perfect set of teeth'. See para 7.113.
130 .    Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p. 1444.
131 .    ibid., p. 1445.
132 .    Letter reproduced in McGowan, Submission, p. 3277. Emphasis added.
133 .    Department of Defence, Transcript, p. 7.
134 .    ibid. Emphasis added.
135 .    Jennings, correspondence, reproduced in Heazlewoods Solicitors, Submission, p. 1680.
136 .    Ranson, letter to Mr Ted McGowan, reproduced in McGowan, Submission, pp. 944-945.
137 .    See for example the extracts from 'A Survey of Dental Caries in the RAN 1940' by Surgeon Capt. Woolcott, in McGowan, Submission, pp. 3286-3287. Woolcott found that at 18 years of age 76 per cent of the Australian born recruits were likely to have caries, and by the age of 20, 91 per cent were likely to have caries. However, even on these percentages, several sailors on HMAS Sydney could potentially have had 'perfect teeth', and this is reinforced by claims of several relatives that the body might be their family member.
138 .    Hilton, Transcript, p. 404; and Ranson, Transcript, p. 324.
139 .    Department of Defence, Transcript, p. 8.
140 .    Exhibit No. 39, Taylor and Angel, 'Facial reconstruction and Approximation' in Clement and Ranson (eds), Craniofacial identification in forensic medicine, (Arnold, Great Britain, 1998) p. 177.
141 .    Ranson, Transcript, pp. 321-322.
142 .    Hilton, Transcript, pp. 404, 407.
143 .    Ranson, Transcript, p. 327.
144 .    Hilton, Transcript, p. 407.
145 .    Ranson, in McGowan, Submission, p. 945.
146 .    Shire of Christmas Island, Submission, p. 2608.
147 .    Exhibit No. 59, op. cit., p. 1.
148 .    ibid.
149 .    ibid., p. 2.
150 .    Office of Australian War Graves, Transcript, p. 91.
151 .    Department of Veterans' Affairs, Submission, p. 346.

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