Cowra POW Camp

Grade 3 Grade 3

Cowra, NSW
1.2 km (1 hr )

The Cowra POW (Prisoner of War) Camp was constructed in 1941 to house Italian prisoners captured by Allied Forces during World War 2. By 1944, the camp had been expanded to include over 1,000 Japanese POWs. The camp is best remembered for the Breakout - a mass escape attempt by the Japanese POWs on the night of 5 August 1944. All escapees were captured during the following week. A total of 107 POWs were wounded, 234 prisoners died along with 5 Australian soldiers who were guarding the camp.

The former POW camp is now a heritage listed site with interpretive signs describing life in the camp and the events of the night of the Breakout. Stand under the replica guard tower and an audio presentation will bring the scene to life. The site is linked to the nearby Japanese Gardens via a cherry lined avenue, a symbol of reconciliation and a long-lasting friendship between the people of Cowra and the nation of Japan.

Reconstructed guard tower