The Memorial Mound At The Peace Park

This Peace Park at Layang-Layangan is situated close to Surrender Point, the place where the 32nd Japanese Southern Army surrendered to the 9th Australian Imperial Forces on 9 September 1945. The Japanese arrived at Labuan on 1 January 1942, less than a month after they had started their campaign in Malaya at Kota Baru and took formal possession of the island on the 3rd, after facing no resistance.

They occupied Labuan for four years, even renaming it Pulau Maida, or Maidashima after General Maida, the Chief Commander of the Japanese forces in Borneo. He was on his way to Labuan from Sarawak to open the airstrip there when he died in an air crash at Bintulu. The airstrip was built by the Japanese who found it was a good location for their operations in North Borneo. For Labuan, the end of the Japanese Occupation came abruptly with the re-taking of the island by the Allied forces. The capture of Labuan was seen as essential for recovering supplies of oil, rubber and timber from the mainland of Borneo. It would also serve as a base to help the Allies recapture Singapore.

A convoy of 100 ships were sent from Merotai. On 10 June 1945, they reached Labuan and an attack was launched by the 9th Australian Division. It was a successful attack, resulting in the surrender of the Japanese troops.

The Peace Park was built as a memorial and renunciation of the horrors of the war. It is dominated by the memorial mound which is surrounded by landscaped gardens and pavilions. Small ponds with stone bridges and park seats are all Japanese-inspired. A bronze plaque commemorating the Surrender is mounted on a stone slab near the entrance.

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