Cowra Voices App (Completed)

Cowra Voices is a geolocative app – much like a heritage trail app – exploring Cowra’s unique story of civic peace and reconciliation. This project’s main aim was to link people and places and to faciliatate a deeper, more intimate engagement with Cowra’s history through audio/multimedia storytelling. Cowra is the home of the famous Cowra Breakout by Japanese prisoners of war, one of the largest prison escapes during World War II.

Cowra Voices was completed and launched on 3 August 2019 as part of the 75th anniversary commemorations of the Cowra Breakout.

The app was recognised by three awards in 2020: It was the winner of the Oral History NSW Community History Award 2020

Received an Honorable Mention in the History Council NSW Awards 2020

Received a Highly Commended in the National Trust Heritage Awards 2020

Cowra Voices app includes stories of the Wiradjuri elders as well as personal histories of people buried at Cowra Japanese War Cemetery, and local narratives of grassroots peace building by members of the local Cowra community. It also involved students from Tokai University, Sapporo Campus who contributed to the design of the app. Students visited Cowra in February, 2018 to learn about Cowra’s unique history, immerse themselves in the local community and culture.

Cowra Voices was a partnership between Nikkei Australia, Cowra CouncilCowra Tourism Corporation, Arts OutWest, and Tokai University with support from ABC Central West NSW and app developer Sazae

Cowra Voices was partly funded by the Australian government through the Australia-Japan Foundation Grant 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Cowra Council, The Bruce and Margaret Weir Trust, the Nancy Shelley Bequest Fund, the Cowra Breakout Association and the Japan Foundation, Sydney.

The project team consisted of the following Nikkei Australia members:
Jacqueline Schultze
Masako Fukui
Chie Muraoka
Mayu Kanamori

and Irene Ridgeway (non member)

Download the Cowra Voices app here

More information about the project is here

Other stories about Cowra Voices:

Article about Cowra Voices published in Studies in Oral History: The Journal of Oral History Australia

Cowra Voices recognised by three History Awards

Media coverage of Cowra Voices project

The Sydney launch of Cowra Voices and Cowra Japanese War Cemetery Online Database: 4 September 2019

Cowra Voices Launched

Nikkei Australia receives funding to complete storytelling project Cowra Voices

Nikkei Australia begins storytelling project in Cowra

Australia-Japan Foundation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Cowra Council

The Bruce and Margaret Weir Trust

Nancy Shelley Bequest Fund, Quakers
Cowra Breakout Association
Japan Foundation


  1. Absolutely a brilliant memorial sites, walking trails, Japanese Gardens and Sculptures are exquisitely reflecting this Historical events. The “Voice” recording at the Internment Camp Tower is surrealistic ” the bugle caller ” I felt I was there in the breakout event. Wow Congratulations all.

    Clearly your vision , collaborative partnerships approach and progressive leadership is superior as a “Model of Excellence “.

    Action is the key to success!

    I’m from Loveday SA, sadly we have / there are NO monument or Camp Site Headquarters signs. Deterioration of Heritage Landmark is an important issue of Crown Land owner Berri Barmera Council. I am a devastated Rate payer with Riverland visionary ideas.

  2. Hello Annie, thank you for your comments about Cowra Voices. For a small country town, Cowra has done a great job of narrating its unique history.
    The Cowra Voices is a Cowra Council initiative, and Nikkei Australia members worked on creating the app. As you say, it is an example of collaborative partnership.
    Perhaps you can consider something similar for Loveday?


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