Cowra is now that town in Australia that housed prisoners of war, primarily from the Asia region. As the WW2 progressed, those prisoners were increasingly from Japan. Mainly from the New Guinea theatre of war. The majority of those Japanese prisoners decided to stage a mass breakout. The breakout was not successful and 231 Japanese were killed in the effort to gain control of the prisoner environment. This event is ‘The Cowra Breakout’ and movies and television programs have been produced depicting the attempted mass escape.
Cowra now has this very strong historic relationship with this recent past. Museums, gardens, cemeteries and national park areas are accorded heritage status that will ensure the history is preserved.
Cowra is a prosperous rural town on the banks of the Lachlan River that continues to grow. Successful in its own right.
The township of "Coura Rocks", named from a local aboriginal term meaning "eagle on the rocks", had its beginnings in 1840. The name may be derived from one of the earliest cattle stations, and is possibly the name of the river ford where people could cross the Lachlan River. By 1847 the township became known as Cowra. The village was proclaimed in 1849.
Cowra has a number of museums, three of which are located on the Sydney Road.
At the Cowra Council admin office visual presentation of ‘the breakout’ is a recommended visit.
Cowra is a great place and if you are into gardens and war history a minimum of two days is recommended.