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Annual History Lecture 2014: ‘The Battle Within Ourselves’ – POWs in post-war Australia

Prisoner of War Memorial, Ballarat

Organisation Name: History Council of NSW in partnership with Sydney Living Museums

Event Type: Talk / Lecture

When: Tuesday, 9 September 2014 from 06:00 PM to 08:30 PM

Where: The Mint, 10 Macquarie , Sydney

Cost: General $50.00 / Concession $45.00

Contact: Dr Mandy Kretzschmar, 02 9252 8715, Email: or Book Online

The current embrace of former prisoners of war (POWs) of the Japanese as veterans who suffered undue hardships in the service of their nation belies a more complicated history. Focusing on the immediate post-war period until the 1970s, Professor Christina Twomey explores in her lecture the rare testimony from ex-POWs about how they experienced life in Australia after their return home. Many applicants to the POW Trust Fund (1952-77) certainly believed that captivity had blighted their chances and disrupted their capacity to find employment, connect properly with other people or to settle down and find happiness in work and family life. Whether imprisonment in war caused their problems, or merely compounded an existing structural disadvantage or personality failing, lay at the heart of the Trustees’ deliberations. The way Trustees chose to find an answer, which drew upon networks of information available from private charity and assumptions about who or what constituted a deserving case, demonstrates the limits of sympathy for damaged and broken men.

Category: General