POW em­bar­rass­ment

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Madeleine Cac­cian­iga

A pris­oner of war camp near Murchi­son has fallen vic­tim to ne­glect, de­cay and rub­bish dumpers.

The Tatura Ir­ri­gation and Wartime Camps Mu­seum is vis­ited reg­u­larly by dig­ni­taries of em­bassies in­clud­ing those of Ja­pan and Ger­many who want to pay trib­ute to fam­ily mem­bers and visit the war camps where they were in­terned.

Tatura and Dis­trict His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Steve Barnard said he was em­bar­rassed af­ter tak­ing peo­ple to Camp 13 last week af­ter the an­nual com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice at Tatura War Ceme­tery.

‘‘We had two vis­i­tors that came over specif­i­cally for it; their re­spec­tive fathers were crew mem­bers on the Kor­moran and they sur­vived and they were taken pris­oner in Camp 13,’’ Mr Barnard said.

He said the site was a dis­grace with rub­bish cov­er­ing the prison cell block that was vis­i­ble from the road­side.

‘‘Th­ese two peo­ple came over to see this site, which was sig­nif­i­cant to them, and of course we took them down to visit the scene, but there’s rub­bish, it’s over­grown and dis­ap­point­ing,’’ Mr Barnard said.

The four camps re­main­ing in the area in­clude the Dhur­ringile man­sion, which was a prison camp for Ger­man of­fi­cers, and two more that were civil­ian in­ternee camps.

Mr Barnard said ne­go­ti­a­tions were tak­ing place at the mo­ment with Her­itage Vic­to­ria to gain ac­cess to the H.S.K. Kor­moran Memo­rial, now lo­cated on pri­vate prop­erty.

‘‘Camp 13 has the Kor­moran memo­rial, which was a memo­rial struc­ture about two-three foot high and was built by sur­vivors of the Kor­moran, and quite of­ten rel­a­tives from Ger­many will want to come over and lay flow­ers,’’ he said.

Camp 13 also hosts a num­ber of built-in gar­den beds and a prison cell block, how­ever, no mark­ers point to the his­tor­i­cal land.

Mr Barnard said the camp should be re­de­vel­oped as a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion.

‘‘When peo­ple come over from Mel­bourne and Can­berra em­bassies they say ‘where are the camps, we want to see the camps’,’’ he said.

‘‘It just needs clean­ing up and I think every­body who sees it recog­nises that some­thing should be done with it.’’

Big let-down: Steve Barnard is dis­ap­pointed with the lack of re­spect for Aus­tralia’s war his­tory.

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