Tom Keneally – Cowra

We have just finished reading “Shame and the Captives” by Australian author, Tom Keneally. Published in 2013, this novel is based on events that happened in the town of Cowra during World War II.

Cowra, called Gawell in the novel, is 315km west of Sydney and was the site of a huge prisoner of war camp, housing thousands of Japanese and Italian prisoners. On the 5August 1944, a thousand Japanese prisoners attempted to escape. The events leading up to the escape and the breakout itself are described in some detail in the novel.

We have visited Cowra twice in recent years and have been to the site of the former camp. Keneally’s novel went a long way to explaining some of the gaps in the story of the breakout as it is portrayed around Cowra today.

Cowra POW Campsite



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