Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery
This beautiful lawn cemetery is 48 kilometres from Rabaul. It is the smallest
of the three war cemeteries in Papua New Guinea and is set amidst beautiful
gardens and bordered by magnificent shade trees. The cemetery, which is
cared for and maintained by the Office of Australian War Graves, Department
of Veterans' Affairs, on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,
contains 1139 burials, including 500 marked 'Known to God'. Each grave is
marked with a bronze plaque set on a low concrete pedestal.
An avenue of bronze panelled stone pylons forms the Rabaul Memorial to the
Missing with 1224 names of those who died in New Britain and New Ireland,
and who have no known grave. This includes 1216 Australians.
A large number of Indian prisoners of war from Malaya and Hong Kong were
liberated from the Japanese by the Australian Army during the 1945 campaign
in New Britain, New Ireland, and Bougainville. A total of 619 casualties
of the old Indian Army are buried at Bita Paka.
Bita Paka War Cemetery is near the site of the German wireless station captured
by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force on 11 September
1914 during the first Australian action of World War I to seize New Britain.
Five naval personnel who died in the operation at Rabaul are buried here.
A standstone memorial, located within the cemetery adjacent to the WW I
graves, bears testimony to this event.