Australia New South Wales Liverpool
Prisoner of War medal c. 1916 (AD)
Mint: not recorded

Other Details: Aluminum medal issued to commemorate the experience of Prisoners of War who had been interned at the Liverpool Camp during World War I. It features a wattle wreath with kangaroo on the obverse and a map of Australia on the reverse. It is inscribed in German - translated as 'a memento of our prisoner of war days'.

Liverpool was the location of the Holsworthy Internment Camp during World War I, in western Sydney.

Obverse Description

Shield above crossed wattle wreath with Kangaroo l., emu r., supporters; above . GCC .; below, LIVERPOOL.N.S.W.

Reverse Description

Map of Australia; within: .1914./.1915.1916; around on broad rim, .ZUM ANDENKEN . AN UNSERE KRIEGSGEFANGENSCHAFT . (Reverse translation by Carlisle - a memento of our prisoner of war days)

Edge Description



In response to the outbreak of war in 1914, the Federal Government passed a War Precautions Act that allowed citizens of enemy countries to be interned for the period of the war. German subjects in Australia were immediately required to report to their nearest police station. Austrians were soon included in this directive. Internment was not applied universally. Some 'enemy aliens' merely had their movements restricted and were required to report to police each week. Those interned included women and children from British possessions in Asia, sailors arrested on ships in Australian ports and Germans held as prisoners of war (including the crew of the raider, Emden)

Until November 1915 destitute alien men could be interned on a voluntary basis, with a small weekly allowance paid to their families. Many who were unemployed because of their German connections took advantage of this provision. By 1916 the War Precautions (Alien Restriction) Regulations required all non-British subjects aged fifteen and over to register with the authorities.

The largest internment camp in Australia during World War I was at Holdsworthy (later spelt Holsworthy), near Liverpool. The camp held 6,890 internees, most of German or Austrian ancestry. Most were of the 4,500 Australians held were residents of New South Wales, although later in the war interstate internees began to arrive as camps elsewhere were closed. Many were gold fields workers from Western Australia, originally from states within the Austro-Hungarian Empire such as Serbia, Croatia and Dalmatia.

Many internees were deported after the war. -National Archives of Australia Fact Sheet 171 - -D. Tout-Smith 24/9/2003.

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