Could You Survive as a Prisoner of War?

Nearly 30 000 Australians became prisoners of war during World War 2. Of these, 8 172 were prisoners of the Germans or Italians, and 22 376 were prisoners of the Japanese held in various camps in Asia and the Pacific area.

Of the Australian prisoners in Europe, 264, about 3 per cent died. Of the Australian prisoners of the Japanese, 8 031 – 36 per cent – died in captivity.

One who did survive was Weary Dunlop, a doctor in the Australian Army, who provided medical treatment and inspirational leadership for the men under his care.

In this decision-maker simulation you will learn about his actions as you go through the unit, and you will learn about the situations that POWs faced, and see if you can make decisions that would help a soldier to survive.

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What contributions have significant individuals and groups made to the development of Australian society?

Weary Dunlop case study and model approach

This case study of Weary Dunlop provides a short evidence-based approach to help students understand the significant contribution of Weary Dunlop to the Australian prisoners-of-war on the Burma-Thai Railway, and afterwards.

It takes students through a variety of evidence, and provides a model that can be used to investigate other significant people in twentieth century Australian history.


Download primary classroom unit