Cowra Voices storytelling app was launched at the 75th anniversary of the Cowra Breakout in August 2019. Graham Apthorpe was asked to speak about the Indonesian Graves primarily, which is location number eleven on the app. 


This audio interview with Graham Apthorpe was recorded on 19 September 2018 in Cowra by Nikkei Australia’s Mayu Kanamori and Masako Fukui. This interview was recorded for the Cowra Voices geolocative storytelling app, created in 2019, and launched to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the Cowra Breakout. For more information, please refer to the Overview in this archive.

Graham Apthorpe  00:30

My name is Graham Apthorpe. I’m the Secretary Treasurer of the Cowra Breakout Association. And I’ve done a number of years of research with the Cowra POW camp.

Masako Fukui  00:39

Born and bred in Cowra?

Graham Apthorpe  00:39

No, born and bred in Gunnedah, the north-west of the state. But I’ve been here 31 years, 31 years.

Masako Fukui  00:49

What brought you to Cowra?

Graham Apthorpe  00:49

In local government, I started my local government career in Gunnedah, then Narrabri. I had two years out at Brewarrina, which is out, you know, where Bre is? We call Bre. And I was out there was Deputy Shire Clerk and I came down to Cowra as Deputy Shire Clerk.

Graham Apthorpe  01:05

Okay, when I started doing some research on the POW Camp, the records at National Archives in Canberra are brilliant, really, really good. And I started seeing these records. And I thought, oh, there’s a printing error here. It says Javanese, must be Japanese. But then no, it wasn’t Javanese, Javanese were people from Java, they were Indonesians. They weren’t called Indonesians then, they were called Javanese. I thought, what were they doing here at Cowra? And it’s really quite an amazing story. They were families that had been exiled to Western Papua, what we call Irian Jaya* now. There’d been uprisings by the Nationalists in Indonesia in 1926, and all the way through to 1935. They were Communists, but they were nationalists too.

Graham Apthorpe  01:50

The Dutch had been in charge of the Netherlands East Indies, which we now call Indonesia, for about 300 years. And every now and then, the locals, who didn’t like the Dutch very much, would have a little revolution, they’d rise up and the Dutch didn’t, I don’t think they executed too many. But they did want to exile these particular people because they were smart. They were intellectuals, they were very smart. So they sent them off to Irian Jaya in different batches. And their families were able to go with them, which I thought was unusual. But this particular place, Boven-Digoel, was a pretty bad place, infested with tropical diseases. They were tough, really tough conditions. When Japan came down into Indonesia, during the war as they were invading that particular part of Southeast Asia, the Dutch, who were in control of Netherlands East Indies, were really concerned that these people might become involved and would support their government. Japan wanted to take over Indonesia because mainly for its rubber, tin,  and its oil supplies, which had been embargoed with the American embargoes prior to war being declared.

Graham Apthorpe  03:00

They, the Dutch, approached General MacArthur and General MacArthur agreed to send Catalina aircraft to Irian Jaya to pick them up and to transport them through to Australia. When they got to Brisbane, they were then going to be allocated to a POW camp. And Cowra was chosen, which is surprising because you think Indonesians at Cowra, that’s really unusual. It’s totally different. Australians had little experience of Asian people at that particular time. So they were heading down towards Cowra by train. And the people in the carriages, in the train carriages started throwing out notes to the railway workers, saying, ‘we are not prisoners of war. We are political exiles’. They arrived here in Cowra.

Graham Apthorpe  03:49

However, those notes were picked up and passed on through the union movement and came to the notice of Doc Evatt, who was part of the Australian government at that stage. And he started to enquire about what these people were. And the end result was, while they were here at Cowra, they were pretty well looked after. However, the Labor Party and the labour movement said in Parliament that it is against Australia’s Constitution to hold political prisoners on behalf of another nation. And they were subsequently released, and they were released back into the community, but they mainly worked for the war effort. And doing – photo reconnaissance, interpretation of documents, interpretation of photographs, nursing, nurses aides, that sort of thing. And they stayed in Australia till the end of the war and they were returned to Indonesia after the war. And then, when they got home, they joined the revolution to free Indonesia.

Mayu Kanamori  04:45

So I guess people want to know about the graves that are there. How come there are Indonesian graves there?

Graham Apthorpe  04:58

Well, here at the site of the graves, there are 13 graves here. And they’re not all of the political exiles. A number of these here are from sailors, that were merchant sailors actually turned up in the first group before the political exiles. There were 700 of them. And when they got here, and when the second group got here as well, we didn’t have penicillin in those days, we didn’t have all the medical treatment. These people had come down from the tropics. And when they arrived in Cowra, it was cold, cold winters. And pneumonia and influenza, those sorts of things took some of these people out, unfortunately, and they passed away. But generally they were well treated out here. But unfortunately, disease took a lot of people out, including Australians in those days. If you got pneumonia, and you got it badly, that was probably the end of you.

Mayu Kanamori  05:48

Can you tell us – those graves, are they – how did they come about?

Graham Apthorpe  05:56

Sure. Well, when I was doing the research, I didn’t know about those graves. And I was contacted by a Professor Jan Lingard from the University of Sydney. And she told me the story. And she was also doing research. So I contacted the local undertaker to see, was any record because we knew people had died here. And normally, in those days, you were buried in the place that you died. You couldn’t send them home to Indonesia, so they had to be buried somewhere. And we found there was some – just some very plain concrete slabs that were down in the general part of the cemetery. And they had A-W-G on the front of each of these slabs, which is Australian War Graves. And luckily, the local undertaker had the original records, and were able to identify each of those names, except for one person. One person, we can’t identify, we just don’t know what happened there.

Graham Apthorpe  06:51

We then passed that information onto the Australia-Indonesia Association, and to the Indonesian Embassy. And that’s when everything started happening. The Indonesian Embassy became really interested. And they formed up a bit of a committee and negotiated with Cowra Council. And then they actually built that structure that you can see behind, which is a very definite sort of Indonesian, I don’t know how you describe it, but it’s distinctly Indonesian, and that sits behind the graves. And when people come here to the site, they can see that this is definitely Indonesian. And there’s some signage there that tells a story about these people.

Mayu Kanamori  07:28

Maybe you’d like to explain who you are, again, because I think you just said that you were from elsewhere. You’ve come here from local government, you know, you’ve written books, you’re a local historian, maybe – you’re also musician, maybe you want to talk a little bit about yourself.

Graham Apthorpe  07:46

Okay, so I’m not a local, but I came to Cowra back in 1987. And I’d worked in local government for quite a few years, I’d actually come in from a place close to the outback. And when I arrived here, one of the first things that struck me was this story of the Prisoner of War Camp. I knew about it, I think most Australians had heard about it, but because of my job, I was a Deputy Shire Clerk, suddenly, I started to get involved in some of the civic ceremonies that happened. We had Japanese visitors would turn up, there was a festival going on here that guest nations would come along and Japan had actually been the first guest nation back in the 1960s. But they often would, would start to return and there was the Japanese Gardens, I thought this was a great story. And I really started to poke around into the documents. And it all sort of happened from there. So, I love the story, and I keep on finding out about new things all the time.

Masako Fukui  08:36

So when you say you like the story, what do you mean, by you like the story?

Graham Apthorpe  08:40

It’s a human story, I mean I like the big broad scale of the history of it. I mean, you had the largest land battle here in Australia. I mean, there were attacks on Australia during World War II. But here you have a very large situation. It’s a really big story. And it’s a tragic story. And I suppose you can get involved. I am a historian, I’ve always been fascinated with the military stuff. I’ve been in the Army Reserve. I’ve got a grandfather in World War I. So I’ve had a family involvement in military stuff. And it’s just interesting to get into the detail of it. In my training in local government. I’m a details person. I’m in charge of big budgets. And I like to get into detail of it. And when I’ve written –  I’ve written two books about the POW Camp, and history of Cowra. I’ve always liked to tell –  I want to tell the truth. And I want to get into the details. I want to make stuff up. I want to really get in there and find out that intricate detail and that particular interest, and the human stories that are there.

Graham Apthorpe  09:42

I’ve met ex-Japanese POW here. I’ve played music for them. I’ve had them doing bush dancing. Ann’s – my wife – has danced with them. We’ve had good times and I’ve met old Australian soldiers, who also met up with Japanese and they’ve been very friendly encounters. All those old antipathies have been forgiven. So it’s a fascinating place, Cowra.

Masako Fukui  10:05

Can you tell me a little bit about the times that you met these ex-POWs?

Graham Apthorpe  10:12

I was at the Japanese Gardens, I think it was in 1993. And I met some ex-POWs there. It was very pleasant. There was music involved. They had some of their wives were there and they were singing Japanese folk songs. And then somebody suggested, well, why don’t we do some music too. So I raced home and got my little button accordion, took it up there. And we started playing Australian bush music, which is – and doing some dancing. And the – I remember my wife doing the heel and toe polka with one of the ex-POWs. So it was a good night.

Graham Apthorpe  10:46

But the conversation I had with one particular fellow was that he was very grateful to the Australian soldiers, because they had shot him six times. And he was, he was only wounded in the arms and legs. But he said, If he hadn’t been shot, if he hadn’t been wounded and captured, he would have died in New Guinea. So he was very lucky. He said, ‘I felt myself very lucky. I survived those wounds. I came to Cowra. I survived the Breakout, then I was able to go home, get married, have children, have grandchildren’.

Mayu Kanamori  11:17

When – you were telling me that you’ve found these plates that said, A-W-N (sic), a local undertaker, do you, you actually found them physically with him? Were you in the general cemetery? And if so, can you describe that day?

Graham Apthorpe  11:39

I’m trying to think how that exactly happened. Because I got the – I rang him up and asked whether he had records there because it had the location, and he had a good database there. And I think what happened was one of our cemetery attendants from the Council said there were some graves that they thought were marked A-W-M (sic). Because we have an Australian War Cemetery. We have a Japanese War Cemetery. We were wondering why the Javanese, why the Indonesians were not buried there. And it’s probably because they weren’t –  they were civilians. But they were under the control of Australian War Graves, so they were buried in the general part of the cemetery because they weren’t soldiers or sailors or airmen. So when we found those things, A-W-M and I was aware of some of the abbreviations I thought A-W-M was, A-W-G, sorry, was Australian War Grave – do you want me to say it again?

Masako Fukui  12:34

No that’s fine –

Graham Apthorpe  12:36

When I found the graves, I noticed A-W-G on them. And I was aware of the abbreviations. And I looked that up and I thought, it looks like Australian War Graves. And I contacted the local undertaker, and his records are excellent. And he found some of the original records there. And we were able to identify 12 of those 13 graves by name. And one of the graves actually had a headstone on it that looked like it had been placed there just after the war. And the story we got from the undertaker was that the the son of one of the Indonesians had come back to Australia after the war and had negotiated with the previous undertaker to have this little headstone put up there and I think that person’s name was on the gravestone was Salamah, S-A-L-A-M-A-H. And we understand that it was a relative that came back.

Graham Apthorpe  13:31

We have had good contact with people from the Australia-Indonesia Association. They have a branch in both Sydney and Canberra. And they would bring groups up here from time to time as well as the Indonesian Embassy would often come up here on their National Heroes Day, which is the 10th November, every year. And one day, an elderly Indonesian lady turned up with a Professor Jan Lingard and her name was Siti, S-I-T-I. And we found a photo of her as a little girl up at the POW Camp. Australian War Memorial has a lot of good photographs of the Indonesians at Cowra. And we found this photo of her.

Mayu Kanamori  14:13

What about the artist Jumaadhi, did you have much to do with him when he came up?

Graham Apthorpe  14:18

Yes, we played some music for them. He did the shadow puppetry. And we enjoyed that, that was unusual. And we were down at that little corner shop –

Mayu Kanamori  14:30

Yeah, I know about it, but can you tell –

Graham Apthorpe  14:32

Yeah, I’m trying to – I’m just trying to think because of sort of a bit on the periphery. We sort of turned up to play the music, and – sort of I suppose, get the story of how important the shadow puppetry was. But that was an interesting exposure of Indonesian stories to the people of Cowra.

Masako Fukui  14:50

So for you, what did that experience with Jumaadi mean for you as a person who’d been in Cowra?

Graham Apthorpe  14:57

Okay, well, the experience with Jumaadi when he came here a few years ago was very different for me. I mean, I probably had the experience in speaking with Indonesian Embassy and Indonesian people in Australia-Indonesia Association, but to have an artist come here and to do shadow puppetry and other, I suppose examples of Indonesian art and music was unusual. But it was a great night, it was a good weekend. And I just remember how excited and interested the local people were to see something really different. An exposure to Indonesian art.

Masako Fukui  15:30

I guess we’ve heard so many stories about the Japanese, the relationship, Seikei you know, Chor Farmer, various other exchanges. But would be nice to know, is there anything, you know, students from Indonesia coming or what’s the Indonesia-Cowra connection?

Graham Apthorpe  15:51

What do we want to record –  it waxes and wanes, it sort of comes and goes depending on the interest of say the Ambassador at the time and the office bearers in Australia-Indonesia Association. We were expecting this year to have a bit of a food festival here. But the reality is that the Sydney branch of the Australia-Indonesia Association found it quite difficult to make a decision so –  it’s not, not a strong relationship.

Masako Fukui  16:22

Okay. So I mean, obviously the Japanese relationship is strong. What was the impetus, do you think for that?

Grahame Apthorpe 16:30


Masako Fukui 16:31

The Australia-Japan relationship being so strong between peoples?

Graham Apthorpe  16:35

Oh, I think the Australia-Japan relationship and the Cowra-Japan relationship, it really is centred on the Breakout event. It must come back to that. And everything has sort of grown from that. And the story is that when the Japanese graves were there after the war, they were overgrown, almost abandoned. But it was returned soldiers, some of whom actually fought the Japanese who said, these are soldiers who fought for their own country, they at least deserve the respect of those around them. And one particular soldier was to become the Mayor of Cowra, was Ab Oliver. And he had been to the Middle East. And he saw the graves of Australians that were there from the First World War, that were being well looked after by the local people. So he said, we’re local people here, we should be looking after these graves. Then years later, I think the Japanese government and other people noticed that these graves were being cared for. And then we had that big movement, all those negotiations to bring all the remains of all Japanese that died in Australia, back to Cowra. And that’s that cemetery being set up in 1964.

Graham Apthorpe  17:46

Things just grew from that, I think it was quite natural, it becomes a focus for Japanese interest. And we had various ambassadors who have said, you know, this is the – Cowra’s the spiritual heart of Japanese people in Australia. Nearly every ambassador that I can remember, will always present his credentials to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Canberra. And the second thing he does is come to Cowra. They usually come to Cowra within two or three weeks of being appointed to Australia.

Graham Apthorpe  18:20

I’ve written two books about Cowra, one was about the broad story of all the different things that are happening in Cowra during World War II. And the second book, which was launched last year, is about one Japanese officer by the name of a Lieutenant Maseo Naka. He was the first escape at the POW Camp. And he was a very good prisoner from the Japanese sense in that he caused a lot of trouble. So he did his job well. So when I launched that book at the Japanese Gardens, I presented a copy to the Japanese Ambassador. And he was pleased to receive it. And I was signing some copies for other people there, and he came up and wanted to buy another copy. And I said, what for? He said, well, this is going to the Emperor, the Emperor of Japan, who likes to read everything he can about Cowra. So I signed a copy over very nervously, to the Emperor and to the Empress.

Masako Fukui  19:15

You must’ve welcomed so many people to Cowra.

Graham Apthorpe  19:18

Say one funny story, a funny story

Masako Fukui  19:21

A story that remains in your memories, something that was moving or significant or sad or poignant or –

Graham Apthorpe  19:31

I can tell a story about, not about a Japanese person, but it’s about the 50th anniversary of the Breakout. I was Chair for the 50th anniversary of the Cowra Breakout back in 1994. And we had a number of ceremonies. And at 2am on the 5th August we went up to the POW Camp. We’d set that up, there was a very large log, a dead tree that had been burning since about three o’clock that afternoon. And we had a Catholic priest there by the name of Father Paul Glynn, who had been a missionary to Japan, near Nara, a place called Tomigaoka. He was there with a friend, who was the Reverend Murakami, who was a Hongwanji Buddhist priest. And they were both, they had joined in a ceremony together. And at 2am, the Reverend Murakami was standing there next to Father Paul Glynn. And this is right because I saw it –  at 2am. He finished his Buddhist chanting, and he held up a small bell and he was ringing the small bell. And as soon as he finished, the whole fire just collapsed, this big log just collapsed and all these sparks just went up into the air. God works in mysterious ways. I have a photo of that  actually somewhere.

Graham Apthorpe  20:50

Maybe just another story. Father Paul Glynn gave me a sword, a Japanese sword that had been taken from a Japanese POW at the end of the war. And there’s a lot of Australians, soldiers souvenired these swords. And Father Paul Glynn and his brother, Father Tony Glynn, who were both missionaries to Japan, used to collect these swords. And their job was to try and get them back to the families because they knew how much – some of those swords were antiques, and they knew how important they were for the families. Especially if the soldier had died during the war. Anyway, Father Paul Glynn gave me a sword and he said, ‘look, my brother and I are too old now, we can’t do this work anymore. We have one sword left, is it possible you could find out how this sword might get back to Japan.’

Graham Apthorpe  21:44

So I did some research and it took about six years. And I worked with the Japanese Embassy. And with the military attache down there, Captain Kitagawa, and we located the family. And it was the Oba family in Takamatsu in Shikoku. And we negotiated, we had to fill out a lot of paperwork in order to get this sword back to Japan, because they’re restricted over there. And when the Council visited, we had an official visit over there in 2005, we travelled to Shikoku, to Takamatsu. And it all been lined up, we picked the sword up, left it at the airport. Mr Oba who had passed away, but his son came and picked the sword up, still in its container. He didn’t open the container until we arrived there about 10 days later. And when we got to the house, there were media and press everywhere. And we presented that sword back to his wife. His wife was very, very elderly at that stage. And it was a very, very nice thing to do. I think they really appreciated it, and it made the Japanese news.

Graham Apthorpe  22:54

At Australia’s Peace Bell, which is located at Cowra, there’s a plaque on the wall which identifies and recognises the work by Father Tony Glynn. Father Tony Glynn and Father Paul Glynn were both missionaries to Japan after the war, and it came about because the founder of the Marist mission over to Nara, was actually a POW of the Japanese. And he said that if I survived this, I’m going to set up a mission in Japan. And he did that. And his name was I think it was his name was Father Marsden, and his name was Father Lionel Marsden. And he said, I will set up this mission in Japan. And so various priests went over there. Father Tony Glynn, I think, was there for about 43 years, and died there. He had cancer towards the end and he died there in Tomigaoka. And he’d had a very strong relationship with Ab Oliver, who’d been the Mayor of Cowra, and I had worked together quite strongly to strengthen and grow this relationship with Japan. So he was very important for Cowra, very important man.

Masako Fukui  24:07

Thank you. Just wouldn’t mind a little bit more about yourself really, like – Could you reintroduce yourself again, and include the Cowra Breakout, and also say a little bit about your involvement with the Japanese like – (unintelligible)?

Graham Apthorpe  24:31

My name is Graham Apthorpe. I’m the recently retired Director of Corporate Services or Cowra Council. I’ve had 48 years working in local government and I came to Cowra back in 1987. As soon as I got here, I started to become involved in some of the relationships with Japan with various groups arriving and became interested in those relationships and how they came about. And also in investigating and doing research on the POW Camp. So over the years I’ve met many Japanese people. I’ve been to Japan I think six times. My wife is a Japanese language teacher, retired. And we’ve had friends staying here and we’ve stayed with our friends over in Japan. We’ve had a great time. So I think we have a real personal bond with Japanese people. And with Japan, and we love the place. I think it’s a marvellous country and it’s just done so much. And I think we both recognise the terrible problems that have arisen in war. But what’s happened here at Cowra has just been simply marvellous, and how people can work together to overcome those past difficulties.

Graham Apthorpe  25:38

The Cowra Breakout Association was started back in the 1980s by Mrs Marion Starr. And she did a great job in, in bringing together a lot of those old ex-guards that were there, and their families and to help them recognise how important the situation here was at Cowra, and this really critical part of Cowra’s history. And Marion very sadly passed away prior to the 60th anniversary, but her work continues. The Committee continues. I’m currently Secretary Treasurer, we’ve had a number of presidents and our current president is Gordon Rolls, whose father, Alfred Rolls was actually on duty in the middle of Broadway, when the Breakout started. So Gordon has a direct connection. We have one significant event each year, which is on 5th August, and we invite all people. There are not too many of the guards left now, if any at all, but their families are becoming more and more interested in, so we’re now dealing with their children and grandchildren. And it’s –  the Association does some good work. It’s a section 355 Committee of Council. So it’s actually part of Cowra Council’s operation.

Masako Fukui  26:54

So what is – I don’t want to say message because – what is the story for the future generation? What is the Cowra Breakout story for the future generation? Do you know what I mean – it’s what is another way that this story is going to resonate for young people, do you think?

Graham Apthorpe  27:17

Yeah, it’s a big, big question, I think it’s really important to understand what happened. So the reconciliation bit is what has resulted. But you’ve got to go back to the root cause of the actual situation. And it’s really important to have an understanding that these countries were at war, and that war was terrible. And I suppose I’m – I wasn’t involved in that war at all, my father’s generation was. So the next generation down, picks up those feelings, picks up those understandings, they’ve spoken with their parents. And they get a pretty good understanding of what happened even though they weren’t there. The next generation less so. So I think it filters down, it becomes weakened, in some sense. So it’s important for, I think students to go back and to look at, and to read the documentation, to study exactly what happened and have a real understanding, because that’s the old saying, if we don’t recognise history, we’re probably doomed to repeat it.

Masako Fukui  28:21

Why Cowra, which is a question that a lot of people ask, why did this small country town succeed in the peace and reconciliation message?

Graham Apthorpe  28:31

There were 28 prisoner of war camps around Australia. Some are big camps, some were small.   All of them, I think, have probably just faded into history, because nothing significant happened here. And what happened here Cowra was just awful, was significant. And because of that Breakout event, and that’s been my message that I’ve been trying to convey over the years. It’s because of the Breakout, everything has happened because of the Breakout. All other camps, not too much happened there. They were dismantled after the war, as was ours. But we now have the interpretation that’s up there, Council and government has provided funding to interpret that event and to show its significance, but I think that’s the reason, it’s because of the Breakout.

Mayu Kanamori  29:19

The Breakout happened, but it could be taken in any direction there on after, but it has taken the road of peace. So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Graham Apthorpe  29:32

I think the direction that Cowra took, it’s come down to a few individuals, and the credit really must go to people like Ab Oliver, and the members of the RSL Club, the Returned and Services League. These are men who had seen a lot of awful things but they decided to get over that, and I think through their acts, their simple acts of mowing the lawns out there, trimming the weeds around those graves, that was recognised. And it’s just grown from that. And I think people have fed off that and said, well, if these RSL men could get over that and forgive, surely we can too. And people just started to recognise, well, the next generation can’t be responsible for war. How can you blame your children and grandchildren for something that happened in the past? And it’s grown. And I think there’s been, probably a pragmatic approach, a practical approach to that. Certainly, to Japanese Gardens is a tourist attraction, the POW Camp is a tourist attraction. So there’s that aspect as well. But people just really want to get on, and want to forget any notion of hatred, and I think that’s long, long gone.

Graham Apthorpe  30:49

Cowra Council has a friendship agreement with Joetsu City. And Joetsu City is basically made up of Takada city, and also Naoetsu. At Naoetsu, which is on the coast, there was a prisoner of war camp there, where there were about 55 men died, Australians died. And one of those was was a Cowra man, fellow with the name Alan Healy. And we found out about that many, many years ago. And Mayor Bruce Miller and Mayor Konoura from Joetsu City got their heads together, and they said we should have a friendship agreement because we both have similar experiences. And that started off I think, back in 2003.

Graham Apthorpe  31:35

And prior to that, my wife Ann had also arranged student exchanges with Joetsu City children who were coming out here, and they would come and stay for a couple of nights in Cowra and then move on. And that kept on going for quite a while. And then we started to develop as councils an employee exchange. So one year, one Cowra person would go across to Joetsu City and in the next year a Joetsu person will come out to Cowra for about two or three weeks.

Graham Apthorpe  32:09

And then also, St Raphael’s have taken a group over to Japan. So Ann and I took a bunch of students over there to – where did we go to – went to Tokyo to, to Joetsu, to Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima Island. And a real eye opener for the children. And we took 1000 cranes across there and hung them up at Hiroshima.

Graham Apthorpe  32:41

Well, my wife was teaching there, teaching Japanese at St Raphael’s Catholic school. And we had the idea that in order to, I suppose, immerse children and to get them interested in the Cowra story, it’s important to go to Japan. Difficult to have an appreciation or an understanding of a country without actually going there. Other schools, Cowra High School had also had exchanges over there. St Raphael’s hadn’t been there so we arranged it and Ann and myself and some other adults took a group of about 11 children over there, and had a great time. They especially loved Japanese food, they were eating all sorts of Japanese food, things that they would never have imagined in Australia. And it was funny after about two weeks of this, the kids thought, oh we’ll go and have a hamburger. So they found a hamburger shop. And they ate these hamburgers and one girl came out and she said, ‘I thought that hamburger would be really good but now I feel dirty inside’. She felt so clean with all the Japanese food. So when she ate Western foods she felt dirty inside.

Masako Fukui  33:56

We have some great stories from you. So thank you very much. Can you just not move for 15 seconds while I get some atmos?


*Irian Jaya is now called Papua (since 2002).

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