A special display at the Heritage Centre highlights the history of Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur.

AHS Centaur was attacked and sunk by a Japanese submarine off the coast of Queensland on 14 May 1943. Of the 332 medical personnel and civilian crew aboard, 268 were killed.

The RAAF AAHC is home to this display because the survivors of the Japanese attack were discovered by the crew of an Avon Anson from 71 (CAF) Squadron that launched out of the airfield at Lowood, 31 kilometres north of Ipswich.

The Scottish-built vessel was launched in 1924 as a combination passenger liner/freighter and operated a trade route between Western Australia and Singapore via Indonesia, carrying passengers, cargo, and livestock. Centaur served in both civilian and military capabilities during her career, and she was involved in recovering German survivors of the engagement between Kormoran and HMAS Sydney.

Following her early-1943 conversion to a hospital ship, Centaur served as a medical transport between New Guinea and Australia.

Before dawn on 14 May 1943, while on her second voyage, Centaur was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine off North Stradbroke Island, Queensland.

The majority of the 332 aboard died in the attack; the 64 survivors had to wait for 36 hours before they were rescued.

The wreck of Centaur was found on 20 December 2009.

This display is currently being remodelled.

Read more about AHS Centaur