During World War 2, Cowra in NSW, was the site of a Camp for Japanese, Korean, Formosan and Italian Prisoners of War.
The 5th of August this year was the 70th anniversary of the Cowra Breakout when over 1100 Japanese soldiers stormed the perimeter fence in a mass attempt to escape. As a result of this event and during the subsequent round-up of POWs, 4 Australian soldiers and 231 Japanese soldiers died and 108 prisoners were wounded. Historically the episode is recorded as the only land engagement on the Australian mainland during WW2.
Improvements at the site of the Cowra Camp completed for this Anniversary, now tell the story clearly and are very well presented.
A shelter, set on the rise giving a sweeping view over the Camp site, houses several information boards telling many aspects of camp life and the people held there.
Other signage is to be found at significant sites by following designated paths throughout the compound.
What is intriguing to note on one of the first interpretive signs, is the layout of the camp; four separate compounds housing prisoners of different nationalities with a wide corridor down the centre called the Broadway. This was also the configuration of the POW Camp at Murchison.
Also of note was that the Cowra Camp was Prisoner of War Camp No. 12. As mostly referred to as Cowra Camp rather than as Camp 12, this was a surprise and of interest as Murchison POW Camp was Camp 13 and both were constructed mid 1941.
Another feature at the Cowra site is a replica of the guard tower. Standing at the base of the tower visitors can hear an audio presentation all about the Camp.
Also in Cowra is the Japanese War Grave Cemetery.
Even if you have visited Cowra before, it is well worth a return visit to see the improvements at the Cowra POW Camp No. 12 site.