an NFSA website

Compass – Changi Days, POW Poets (2003)


When 22,000 Australian soldiers were taken prisoner by the Japanese on the Malay Peninsula early in 1942, they disappeared into the vast prison camp called Changi on Singapore Island. The soldiers had to find ways of overcoming both the physical and the emotional shock of dealing with this brutal life.

Curator’s notes

This is a program that represents the very worst and the very best of humankind. A picture of great humanity emerges through this terrible story, built by the filmmakers using the recollections of the surviving prisoners of war, some of the poems the men wrote to keep their minds from the dehumanising conditions of the prison camp, and photos and drawings of life in the camp.