Hay Internment and POW camps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Hay Internment and POW camps at Hay, New South Wales, Australia were established during World War II as prisoner-of-war and internment centres, due in no small measure to the isolated location of the town. Three high-security camps were constructed in 1940.  The first arrivals were over two thousand refugees from Nazi Germany and Austria, many of them Jewish; they had been interned in Britain when fears of invasion were at their peak and transported to Australia aboard the HMT Dunera.  They arrived at Hay on 7 September 1940 by four trains from Sydney.  They were interned in Camps 7 and 8 (located near the Hay showground) under the guard of the 16th Garrison Battalion of the Australian Army.  In November 1940 the other compound at Hay, Camp 6 (near the Hay Hospital), was occupied by Italian civilian internees.  Camps 7 and 8 were vacated in May 1941 when the Dunera internees left Hay; some were sent to Orange (NSW), others to Tatura in Victoria, and others to join the Pioneer Corps of the Australian Army.  Upon their departure Italian prisoners-of-war were placed in Camps 7 and 8.  In December 1941 Japanese internees (some from Broome and islands north of Australia) were conveyed to Hay and placed in Camp 6.  In April 1942 the River Farm began operating on the eastern edge of the township, enabling market-gardening and other farm activities to be carried out by the Italian internees and POWs.  In February 1945, in the wake of the Cowra POW break-out, a large number of Japanese POWs were transferred to Hay and placed in the three high-security compounds.  On 1 March 1946 the Japanese POWs departed from Hay in five trains, transferred to Tatura.  During 1946 the Italians who remained at Hay were progressively released or transferred to other camps, and the Hay camps were dismantled and building materials and fittings sold off by June the following year.[1]

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