Cowra will remember one of the most dramatic events of World War II in Australia this week.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Cowra will mark 73 years since the August 1944 Breakout of Japanese Prisoners from Cowra Prisoner of War Camp with services beginning on Friday, August 4 with a wreath laying ceremony in Squire Park at 4.30pm.
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,” Cowra mayor Cr Bill 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.”
Eight years in the planning, the book captures the spirit of one man’s determination.
The book will be launched at the Japanese Garden on Saturday, August 5 at 10.45am with a media launch on Friday, August 4 at Cowra Regional Art Gallery.
“By remembering the past, we can learn from its mistakes, its successes, and the sacrifice of those who went before us,” Cr West said.
“This is why the Breakout commemorations are so important to not only Cowra, but to the peoples of Australia and Japan.”
The Cowra Breakout Association will hold its annual general meeting from 1.30pm in council’s public meeting room.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.