Cowra Breakout MemorialPrint Page Print this page

08-May-2009 (Diane Watson)
08-May-2009 (Diane Watson)

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Russell Byers

The memorial, featuring bas relief sculptures, commemorates the four Australians killed in the Cowra Breakout during World War Two.

On 5 August 1944 Japanese Prisoners of War (POWs) housed in the detention camp in Cowra, New South Wales staged an outbreak. Armed with improvised weapons including baseball bats and sharpened mess knives, they stormed the perimeter fences and overcame the machine gun posts. Never likely to be successful, the outbreak resulted in the death of 231 Japanese prisoners with a further 108 wounded.

All survivors were recaptured in the surrounding countryside in the days that followed. Four Australians were killed. Privates Benjamin Gower Hardy, Ralph Jones and Charles Henry Shepherd were killed in the breakout. Lieutenant Harry Doncaster was killed when ambushed during the recapture of the prisoners. Hardy and Jones were posthumously awarded the George Cross.


Address:Kendal Street, Squire Park, Cowra, 2794
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.834444
Long: 148.690833
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:05-August-1944
Actual Event End Date:05-August-1944


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1994
Left Side Inscription

Pt. Ralph Jones
Pt. Benjamin Hardy
Pt. Charles Shepherd
Lt. Harry Doncaster

The winding stream flows on,
and knows not to what it flows
And on the surface float
the fallen leaves of autumn.
They, too, are swept on, unknowing

Shiohibe Makiushuna
d. 5.Aug. 1944


Right Side Inscription

In the early hours of 5 August 1944 more than 1000 Japanese prisoners of war attempted a mass break-out from the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp. A total of 231 Japanese died during the break-out and in the nine days afterwards.              

Four Australians were killed on that day. Private Benjamin Hardy, Private Ralph Jones, Private Charles Shepherd and Lieutenant Harry Doncaster. Privates Hardy and Jones were subsequently awarded the George Cross for outstanding gallantry.     

This memorial is dedicated to the memory of the four Australians who lost their lives and to the spirit of understanding which exists fifty years after the event.                                      
5 August 1944.

Lest We Forget

Bill Petersen                A (Phil) Cooper                Rod Blume
President                      President                        Mayor
Cowra Services Club   Cowra Breakout Assoc    Cowra Shire Council

Source: MA,SKP
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design