Adelaide River War Cemetery

The heroes song was created from the experience Peter Barnes had in visiting the Adelaide River War Cemetery (114 kms south of Darwin) in the Northern Territory and seeing the graves of Australians who gave their lives in the service and defence of their country. Peter felt he should do something within his capabilities to honour the memory of such incredible sacrifice.

A total of 434 war graves marked by bronze plaques are contained in the Adelaide River War Cemetery.

The burials are made up of 14 airmen of the RAF, 12 unidentified men of the British Merchant Navy; one soldier of the Canadian Army; 18 sailors, 181 soldiers and 201 airmen of the Australian Forces and seven men of the Australian Merchant Navy. The Northern Territory Memorial to the Missing honours a further 292 Servicemen and women lost to the north of Australia.

The adjacent civil section contains the graves of the nine Post Office staff killed on 19 February 1942 during the bombing of Darwin, one of 63 separate occasions from that date. The civilian casualties of WW2 include those of 31 Indigenous Australians.

The youngest buried in the cemetery was Robert H. Stobo, Deck Cadet, M.V. ‘Neptuna’, killed 19/2/1942. He was with the Merchant Navy and was killed in Darwin Harbour during a Japanese air raid. He was only 16 years old.

Wing Commander A.R Tindal is also buried in the cemetery. He was killed in action during a Japanese air raid on Darwin on 19/2/1942. The RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory is named after him.

During WW2, there were up to 30,000 Australian Army and United States soldiers based near the town. The 107th Australian General Hospital and 119th Australian General Hospital were set up around Adelaide River.

“To stand on my homeland, surrounded by our war dead, who fought heroically to defend Australia and their loved ones down the track, was a profound experience and initiated the creation of the song.” – Peter Barnes

The song has been used for commemorative purposes across Australia by schools, churches, choirs, bands, councils, retirement homes, military services, RSL branches and ANZAC tributes at NRL & AFL matches.

Radio stations throughout Australia have broadcast the song leading up to ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. The song is also requested to be played at funerals (for veterans).

A national war memorial song and a tribute to the ANZAC spirit of mateship, courage and sacrifice.

Click here to go to the YouTube channel that has close to 4 million video views, with most viewing videos relating to the popular song. You can see videos of the song for WW1, WW2, the Vietnam War and more, with different videos relating to the song.

Can You Hear Australia’s Heroes Marching?

Concept, title, lyrics and copyright owner (author) of the song: Peter Barnes

Singer & music composition: Darren Mullan

Spoken words voice: David Hill

The song was produced and recorded at Quentin Eyers Music in 2001

Listen to three great territory songs here