Cowra Prisoner of War Breakout Commemorations 2017

Commemorations for one the most dramatic events of World War II in Australia, the August 1944 Breakout of Japanese Prisoners from Cowra Prisoner of War Camp, will be held this week, Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West said.

Events this year include the traditional commemorations and wreath-layings, as well as the launch of a much-anticipated book on the Japanese officer who inspired the Breakout.

The Breakout saw 1100 Japanese POW's attack the perimeter fences of the Camp with more than 200 of the prisoners dying, hundreds more escaping, with three Australian guards and an officer also killed during the Breakout.

"While this event was a tragic chapter in human history, out of it, we have come to understand fully how we are all part of the community of nations," Cr West said.

"Cowra — as home to Australia's World Peace Bell; the Peace Precinct which includes the Japanese Garden; the Festival of International Understanding; and the Avenue of Trees sponsored by Japanese citizens and families — is the centre of world friendship," Cr West said.

The commemorations begin on the 73rd anniversary of the Breakout — which occurred in the early hours of August 5, 1944 — with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the Memorial to the fallen Australian soldiers in Squire Park.

"There will also be a number of events on Saturday, August 5 at the site of the former POW Camp, the Japanese and Australian War cemeteries, and the Cowra Japanese Garden," Cr West said.

"I will also be launching a new book written by local author Graham Apthorpe on the topic of Japanese Officer, Second Lieutenant Maseo Naka, who inspired the Breakout with his own escape from the POW Camp in 1943."

The book will be launched by Cr West at the Japanese Garden on Saturday, August 5 at 10.45am with a media launch on Friday, August 4 at Cowra Regional Art Gallery. For details, call 0412 669 576.

"By remembering the past, we can learn from its mistakes, its successes, and the sacrifice of those who went before us. This is why the Breakout commemorations are so important to not only Cowra, but to the peoples of Australia and Japan," Cr West concluded.

Itinerary for Cowra Breakout Commemorations 2017

Friday 4 August

4.30-5.00 pm Wreath laying ceremony Squire Park

Kendal Street Cowra

Saturday 5 August

8:30-9:30 am Wreath laying - Cowra POW Campsite and Italian Memorial

Corner Evans Street and Sakura Avenue

10:00-10:40 am Official wreath laying - Australian and Japanese War Cemeteries

Doncaster Drive

(Conducted by - Cowra RSL Sub-branch)

10:45-11:30 am Morning tea – Cowra Japanese Garden

Ken Nakajima Place, Cowra NSW

(Bookings required – Please contact Lawrance Ryan 0408 639 088)

10.45am Launch of new book, The Man Inside, at Cowra Japanese Garden.


1:30-2:30 pm Cowra Breakout Association Annual General Meeting

Public Meeting Room – Council Building Kendal Street Cowra

For further information please contact:

Mr. Lawrance Ryan

Media Officer, Cowra Breakout Association

Home phone: 6341 3337 / 0408 639 088

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Mr. Harvey Nicholson

Vice President, Cowra Breakout Association

0263402036 / 0437163853

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