Thursday, 20 June 2019 Sydney

Visit, Live & Invest in Cowra Shire::

Cowra is in Central New South Wales approximately one hour from other regional hubs of Bathurst and Orange.

  • Centrally located and easily linkable to the rest of the state with direct lines to all major cities in south eastern Australia.
  • Only 2 hours to the nation's capital or 4 hours to central Sydney. 
  • Cowra is the hub of the central west, providing a perfect base for manufacturing and retail providers and further transportation and distribution.
  • Cowra has expanded significantly in retail, business and agricultural services, manufacturing and wholesale trade, education, health and hospitality services.

Our History

As a result of the events of the Cowra Breakout, Cowra Shire has close historical ties to Japan that manifest themselves in various forms within the town. 

Residents and visitors will notice the links through the Avenue of Cherry Trees, the Cowra Japanese Garden, War Cemetery and the Sakura Matsuri Festival to name just a few.  Cowra also has a strong relationship with Indonesia and Italy because of the large number of POW in the town during WWII.

Cowra has always prided itself on being the centre of World Friendship and promotes the accepting nature of the town through the annual Festival of International Understanding, celebrating a different international culture each year. 

The information under the left hand navigation gives a good idea of Cowra's history and begins to explain how that history has shaped the Cowra we see today.

Cowra Family History Group

If you are researching your family history in Cowra's fascinating past, chances are the Cowra Family History Group will have information relevant to your search.

The Cowra Family History Group holds extensive material for research and is housed in the Cowra Library.


POW camp

Cowra Prisoner of War Camp
The Cowra Prisoner of War Camp site is listed as one of the top Heritage sites in NSW. In 1944 over 1000 Japanese POW staged a mass breakout that was the biggest in British and Australian War History. 231 Japanese POW lost their lives and 4 Australians also died during the breakout.

Today a walking trail goes through the camp ruins and a scale model of the camp is on display at the Cowra Visitors Centre. Also at the Visitor Information Centre is the POW theatre which is a nine minute presentation telling the story of the breakout from the perspective of a local resident.


For detailed information about the POW camp and breakout compiled by NSW Heritage and Australian National Heritage, download this PDF: Cowra POW Camp Information

You can scroll these lists and search for a name alphabetically and if you wish you can then go to the National Archives of Australia link and type the name and by actioning the Search button on that page, you may be able to find a personal record card for that person. Unfortunately at this stage internet based records are not available for Australian soldiers. If you want to obtain a copy of their record, click here and search as a Guest.


If you have a relative or friend that you think was at the Cowra POW Camp, either as a guard or a POW, please send us their details. Send email to or mail to the General Manager, Cowra Shire Council, Private Bag 342 Cowra, 2794. We will review the details and if correct we will update the list.


Business Assistance Scheme

Council's Business Assistance Scheme is aimed at providing new and existing business with a variety of tools to encourage them to grow and become more competitive. The current scheme is under review and the new scheme will aim to provide the following:

Training in business management, marketing and promotion, industrial relations and other business skills;

Assistance with improvements to technology including websites, email and E-Commerce;

Business mentoring assistance – whereby selected businesses are coached by business professionals.

For more information about the Business Assistance Scheme contact the Cowra Business Officer, Mr Ponie De Wet on (02) 6340 2000.