Maltese War Memorial
Public Art : Maltese War Memorial (also known as the
shelter of peace)
Date Unveiled: 11th December 1994
Funded by : The George Cross Memorial was erected
with the support of both the Maltese and Australian governments, the City of Melbourne, and ANPAS Group ( Frank R
Gatt), Calleja Transport, Econo Mix, Mid Med Bank, Olex Cables, Plamer tube mills, Sims Metal, Smorgon Arc, Chasmic
PTY LTD, Maltese Australian Association.
Location: Kings Domain, Melbourne, Australia.
NAVY - Fort St Angelo
The Award of the George Cross To Malta
The George Cross was instituted by Royal Warrant dated September 14 1940.
The Royal Warrant ordains that "The Cross shall be awarded ony for acts of the
greatest of heroism or of the most conspicious courage in circumstances of extreme danger."
The George Cross was awarded to Malta by its founder King George VI on April 15
The King's message was received by the Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William
Dobbie. In reply Sir William Dobbie wrote "The people and garrison of Malta are deeply touched by
your majesty's kind thought for them in conferring on the fortress this signal honour. It has
greatly encouraged everyone and all are determined that by Gods help Malta will endure until
victory is won."
The Palace Square was overlooked by bombed or bomb-scarred buildings including the
ruined palace which for the first time since its bombing flew the Union Jack with the Maltese flag
superimposed. Debris was piled on the square compressing it to an unusual shape.
In his address to the people of Malta, Lord Gort said ' On my appointment as
Governor of Malta I was entrusted to carry the George Cross to the Island fortress."
' By the command of the King I now present to the people of Malta and her
dependencies the decoration which his majesty has awarded them in recognition of the gallant
service which they have already rendered in the fight for freedom.'
'How you have withstood for many months the most concentrated bombing attacks in
the history of the world is the admiration of all civilized peoples.'
(Santa Marija Convoy 15th August 1942)
Malta was only two months away from collapse. Urgent supplies were needed. Conditions were dire.
Slowly working its way to Malta was a convoy of tweleve British and two American ships. The British
ships were "Brisbane Star", :Clan Ferguson", Deucalion", "Dorset", "Empire Hope", "Glenorchy",
Melbourne Star", "Ohio", "Port Chalmers", Rochester Castle", "Wairangi", "Waimarama." The two
American ships were "Almeria Lykes" and "Santa Elisa".
With an enormous escort of more than 50 warships including aircraft carriers, battleships,
cruisers, destroyers, corvettes and other vessels , this convoy had to get through. A signal from
the flagship "Nelson" read " The garrison and the people of Malta are in urgent need of
replenishment of food and military supplies. These we are taking to them. Everyone of us must give
his best. Malta looks to us for help. We shall not fail them."
The convoy was a moving target for the enemy. It suffered heavy losses and only five ships
reached Malta. Some badly damaged. On 13th August the Maltese sighted the firt glimpse of their
salvation. Crowds gathered. The first ships to enter the grand harbour were the "Port Chalmers",
"Melbourne Star", and "Rochester Castle". It took the "Brisbane Star" and "Ohio" two more days to
limo into harbour. The battered charred hulk of the tanker "Ohio" was barely holding above water
and had to be towed int grand harbour. Malta rejoiced. It was August 15th and an important day in
the Maltese Christian calendar. The first day of Santa Marija. Lining the battlements , the crowd
waved and cheered.
Such is the story of what the Maltese have since described as the 'Great Convoy of Santa
Marija'. It was a trickle of what left home, but never before was a trickle so dear to a nation.
The immediate necessities of the island were for a desperate moment relieved and the heart of a
nation once more beat resolutely and proceeded to the glory of victory.
Army- St Elmo
To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the island fortress of Malta to bear
witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history.
April 15th 1942
In the name of the people of the United States of America I salute the island of Malta, its
people and its defenders, who, in the cause of freedom and justice and decency throughout the
world, have rendered valorous service far above and beyond the call of duty.
Under repeated fire from the skies , Malta stood alone but unafraid in the centre of the sea,
one tiny bright flame in the darkness- a beacon of hope for the clearer days which have come.
Malta's bright story of human fortitude and courage will be read by posterity with wonder and
with gratitude through all ages.
What was done in this island maintains the highest traditions of gallant men and women who from
the beginning of time have lived and died to preserve civilization for all mankind.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
December 7th 1943
Homage to Malta
Beloved Malta in times past like a wise and caring mother you protected your people against
formidable foes.Throughout the ages many nations bore witness to your sufferings. But in bravery of
your sons and daughters who brought you victory in the name of freedom is still acclaimed by
the whole world.
Today far away from your shores we stand in this shelter of peace and salute you
Friends of Malta
George Cross Memorial Committee
Mr Benedict Soler
Hon Bruce Skeggs. MLC
CR Max Chester
Mr terry Muscat. OAM JP
Mr Frank Gatt SFO
CR. Joe Mallia JP
Mr Graeme H Wallace
Mr David Calleja
Mr Manwel Cassar
1th December, 1994