[Rod Hayes] 

My job is to help look after and maintain the war graves there, which include all the Australian servicemen and women. You know, people come up and talk to you and they always want to know which ones were the ones that were killed in the Breakout, so can point them out straight away. But I know there’s some stories with some of the other fellows there that died, you know because there was a military camp here and they were training so there’s other guys that died through mishaps and things.

[Tony Mooney] 

The four graves of the Australians who died in the Breakout, Lieutenant Doncaster, Privates Hardy, Jones and Shepherd. Now Privates Hardy and Jones were awarded the George Cross for Bravery on the night of the Breakout. Now the George Cross and the George Medal were handed out by the British government. And the British government said well, we’ll give them a George Medal, which was much lower. The Australian Prime Minister at the time, Robert Menzies said, no, they will have the George Cross. The families of the dead Australian soldiers have been here, and you can imagine the emotions that they are going through. One woman, her father was Private Shepherd, and her story is interesting in that her mother wasn’t able to care for the children after the husband was killed and the children were placed in an orphanage. And you really feel for her, to think that her father was killed on duty and the family weren’t looked after. Yeah, there’s been emotional times at the cemetery.

[Bob Griffiths] 

It’s very moving for me. One of the joys I have here is in Cowra when Chor-Farmer visit. It’s a magnificent choir made up of graduates and students of the Tokyo University of Agriculture. They tour Australia and New Zealand every two years on a goodwill and friendship tour. Most of the choir members are billeted out with Cowra families, and many of them have been with the same families for decades. I still get the little tear in the eye when I watch Chor-Farmer stand and kneel one by one, every choir member went to each of those Australian soldiers’ graves, and every one of them placed a flower. If you don’t get a tear watching that, boy you’re hard, I reckon.

[Chor Farmer Choir, the Male Voice Choir of Tokyo University of Agriculture] 


Producer/Sound Design: Masako Fukui

Music Credits: Impact Lento by Kevin MacLeod ( CC by 3.0 

Ryoshu – Japanese Lyrics : Kyukei Indou; Originally – Dreaming of Home and Mother by John Pond Ordway; Sung by Chor-Farmer Choir, the Male Voice Choir of Tokyo University of Agriculture

Photo Credits: Photo 1: RSL member Tony Mooney at the 70th Anniversary of the Breakout with the then Cowra RSL President Bob Dooley, 2014; Photo by Mayu Kanamori

Photo 2: The then NSW Governor David John Hurley, Japanese Ambassador Sumio Kusaka, Linda Hurley and Ikuko Kusaka at the Australian War Cemetery, 2016; Photo by Mayu Kanamori

Photo 3: Japanese choir Chor-Farmer performing at the Australian War Cemetery, 2018; Cowra Guardian


The Cowra Voices Audio Archive Project 2023

Cowra Council is the copyright holder of all the audio works in the Cowra Voices Audio Archive. If you would like to reuse or copy any of the materials in this Archive, please contact Cowra Council. Australian copyright law is set out in the Copyright Act 1968 (Commonwealth).

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