The HMAS Canberra Memorial commemorates both the ship, HMAS Canberra, and those who served on her. Built in Scotland in 1927, the Canberra was a Kent Class heavy cruiser, commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in 1928.
During World War II the Canberra served in both the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It escorted Australian troops to Singapore in 1942 and in May of that year took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea, providing support for United States Marines at Guadalcanal. On 9 August 1942, at the Battle of Savo Island, the Allied fleet was surprised by a Japanese fleet. The Canberra was hit 24 times within less than two minutes - 84 seamen were lost.
The order to abandon ship was given the next day and the crippled Canberra was sunk by a torpedo from a United States ship. As a mark of respect, the United States renamed one of its ships, then under construction, the USS Canberra.
The memorial is comprised of two components: the bow of the ship and five-tonne anchor and chain typical of those carried on the Canberra. It is located at the edge of Lake Burley Griffin because of the association with water.
The HMAS Canberra Memorial and the Merchant Navy Memorial are located on the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin, near Aspen Island. Access is from Wendouree Drive, off Constitution Avenue or from Kings Ave (northbound).