22nd Australian Garrison Battalion

From Our Contribution

Cowra Camp.jpg
6 Aug 1944 Huts destroyed during Japanese break out AWM photo 073484

Brief History

Given the large number of Italion POWs captured in North Africa, in early 1941 Australia agreed to take some of them. Cowra POW Camp was established, and during May 1941 the 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion was formed in Sydney to staff it. In March 1942 a detachment from the 2nd Garrison Battalion moved to Cook in South Australia where a POW labour detachment was upgrading the Trans Australia Railway until later that year. In August 1944 Japanese POWs at Cowra rioted in what was in many ways a mass suicide, but in doing so, three members of the 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion were killed and three injured. Following the riot, surviving Japanese POWs were sent to Hay and Murchison. In February 1945, Lae POW Camp was formed from the 22nd Garrison Battalion for service in New Guinea, and in April 1945 the 22nd Garrison Battalion was absorbed into the renamed Cowra POW Group.

Fifteen men died while posted to this unit; 8 from illness; three killed while on duty; 3 from suicide; and one from injuries received.

Unit Personnel


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