Cowra Breakout Memorial Sculpture


A memorial in the form of a relief sculpture, with accompanying explanatory panel, attached to a brick wall. The memorial is dedicated to the four Australians killed in the 'Cowra Breakout' during the Second World War. 

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.



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

Explanatory panel

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.


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

Squire Park
80 Kendall Street
Cowra NSW 2794
Local Government Area
  • Cowra Shire
  • Roadside
Memorial type
  • Statue/sculpture/artwork
Recorded by
Kent - Monument Australia
Established Date format: 
$e_original_date = $entity->field_established['und'][0]['value']; if (!empty($e_original_date)) { $changed_date = strtotime($e_original_date); $new_date = date("d F Y", $changed_date); print '
Established date
'; print $new_date; } else{ print ''; }
  • Second World War, 1939–45

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