Cowra No 12 POW Camp - NSW

  Tourist Attraction


DEG: -33.811581 148.704193
DMS: 33º 48' 41.69" S 148º 42' 15.1" E
UTM: 55 H 6257430mN 657734mE
Altitude: 384.62m


Place Type

Recreation - Tourist Attraction


167.18kms North of Canberra - Driving 191 km (2 hours 14 mins)
231.58kms West of Sydney - Driving 312 km (4 hours 5 mins)
815.62kms SouthWest of Brisbane - Driving 1060 km (11 hours 42 mins)
937.34kms East of Adelaide - Driving 1072 km (11 hours 25 mins)

Address & Contact

Farm Rd
Phone: N/A
Email: N/A
Web: N/A


The Cowra No 12 POW Camp was constructed in 1941-2 to house Italian
POWs captured by Allied Forces during WWII. It was part of a nationwide system of
POW confinement and enemy alien containment. In all, twenty-eight major camps
were established in Australia by the British Military Board during this period. The
camp was to consist of four compounds, two with permanent amenities and two
temporary. Although officially operating from June 1941, the first internees were
marched into Cowra nearly four months later, on 15 October 1941. The major
building program was still underway at this time and was not completed until well
into 1944. Both POW and local labourers were used to complete construction, the
prisoners living in tents until April 1942 when accommodation huts became available.
By December 1942 over 2,000 mainly Italian, prisoners and internees were housed
in the camp. Between January 1943 and August 1944, over one thousand Japanese
POWs and internees arrived. By the end of June 1944 the camp was already
overcrowded beyond its intended capacity. At 2 am on 5 August 1944 the Japanese
prisoners staged an outbreak, during which over 300 escaped outright and over 250
died. 18 buildings were burnt to the ground. This action has remained significant in
popular memory as the first time the War was fought on home soil and as the
largest revolt of its kind in Australia's history. This has often overshadowed the
experience of the Italian, Javanese and assorted other ethnic groups which populated
the camp during its operation.
After the end of the War the camp and its surrounds were sold to the New South
Wales Department of Agriculture and a private owner. Part of the site remains
within a public reserve. The private part of the site is used for grazing and crop

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Closest Weather Station

Cowra at 24/10:00am EST
Distance from Cowra No 12 POW Camp 6.25km SW
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts

Closest Climatic Station

Cowra Research Centre (Evans St)
Distance from Cowra No 12 POW Camp 0.42km NE
Mean Max. °C31.430.427.422.517.613.913.014.617.921.925.729.4
Mean Min. °C16.716.614.
Mean Rain mm62.754.547.042.047.845.352.751.651.961.156.857.9

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