Club Cowra

What’s On At The Cowra Regional Art Gallery

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

Cowra Regional Art Gallery

Capturing the Home Front Life at Home in a World at War 7th July to 11th August

An exhibition of 48 black and white culturally significant photographs from national and international collections by famous American photo journalist Dorothea Lange and Australian photographers Samuel Hood, Edward Cranstone, Hedley Keith Cullen and Jim Fitzpatrick.

These stunning photographs range from candid records that capture the intimacy of unplanned encounters between photographer and subject, to modernist techniques used to portray industry, to the deliberately composed scenes of soft propaganda. They also reveal the remarkable parallels of life at home in WWII between Australia and the USA including in industry, family life, the role of women and Japanese internment.

Presented in association with the 80th Anniversary of the Cowra Breakout. An Australian National Maritime Museum touring exhibition.

Cowra Breakout: 80th Anniversary Heritage Display 7th July to 11th August

Eighty years ago, on 5 August 1944 just before 2am a mass breakout of Japanese prisoners of war from No. 12 Prisoner of War Camp, Cowra took place resulting in the loss of 234 Japanese and five Australian lives. One more Australian soldier would die after being accidentally shot some days later.

While there are no photographs of the actual breakout of Japanese prisoners of war this special display features photographs and heritage items relating to the Cowra POW Camp and the Cowra Breakout. Most significant is the bugle (now a part of the national collection at the Australian War Memorial) used by Japanese fighter pilot Hajime Toyoshima to signal the beginning of the mass breakout of Japanese prisoners-of-war from Cowra POW Camp. The other object on display that epitomises the spirit of humanity is the jug used by Mrs May Weir to serve tea to escaped Japanese prisoners of war who appeared at the Weir family property, ‘Rosedale’, before they were returned to the camp by the Army after the Breakout.

Cowra in 2024 is a place of reconciliation between these former enemies in World War II. The 80th Anniversary of the Cowra Breakout serves as a poignant reminder as well as an occasion for commemoration of the enduring friendship between Cowra and Japan. Cowra Regional Art Gallery acknowledges the Australian War Memorial, the WB & ME Weir Trust, Lawrance Ryan and Graham Apthorpe, Chair, Cowra Breakout 80th Anniversary for their support.

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