[Bruce Miller] 

Every time I drive past this park I think of what a beautiful setting it is, and it changes with the seasons. Hello I’m Bruce Miller, long time Mayor of Cowra and I had the benefit of being able to be involved in Nagakura Park, particularly the redevelopment of it. It was started by Saburo Nagakura in the mids to late 80s. Driving over the hill looking down over Cowra, what I feel, really is one of pride. I also reflect on the wonderful times that I’ve shared with different people, whether it be family and friends or with some of the civic receptions that I’ve actually hosted and even cracking a big sake barrel there at one stage to celebrate a reception.

The park itself was established in memory of Saburo Nagakura, who visited Cowra in the, I think about the mid 80s, was so impressed by the process of reconciliation that the Cowra community had immersed themselves in, had embarked on this process of making sure that this relationship with Japan, which started in very tragic circumstances, had developed into something really positive and that we could share this common ground. He was very impressed with how returned service people had looked after the Japanese war graves here in Cowra. And then from that, the feeling of goodwill that had been established. That really impacted on Saburo Nagakura. Mr Nagakura himself was a very important person in Japan. He was the Chair of Kyushu Electric Power Company at the time and the Chair of JR Rail in Kyushu at the time, so he was able to use his contacts to actually put a group together, which the Nagakura Foundation was formed. Then attracted significant funding to be able to develop the park. What he was really keen to do was establish something that was everlasting, reflect on the Cowra community. It’s in a beautiful place. He had the vision I think, to see that it could be developed into a beautiful park and that has been continued on by his son, Seiji Nagakura, who has been a wonderful friend of Cowra but who’s a really close friend of mine which I’m delighted to say. They visit Cowra very regularly and are very, very good people.

Producer/Sound Design: Masako Fukui

Music Credits: Guitar music performed by Peter Reeves

Photo Credits: Photo 1: Saburo Nagakura Park; Photo by Mayu Kanamori

Photo 2: Saburo Nagakura’s daughter in law Reiko, Cowra Breakout Association President Gordon Rolls, and friends at Saburo Nagakura Park, 2014; Photo by Lawrance Ryan

Photo 3: Saburo Nagakura with the then Deputy Mayor Neville Pengilly at the Australian War Cemetery, 1990; Cowra Japanese Garden & Cultural Centre


The Cowra Voices Audio Archive Project 2023

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