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Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail

The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail is dedicated to those Australians and other Allied Prisoners of War and Asian labourers who suffered and died at Hellfire Pass and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region during the Second World War.

During the Second World War, thousands of forced local labourers and Allied Prisoners of War suffered and died constructing and maintaining the Burma–Thailand railway. The Australian Government constructed the interpretative memorial in cooperation with the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. The memorial, dedicated in 1998, was designed and constructed by Hewitt Pender Associates Pty Ltd, Australia and Woods Baggot Limited, Thailand.

The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail symbolises the importance of this site to the Australian people. The interpretive centre explains to visitors the story of why and how the railway was built and attempts to convey the hardships and suffering endured by so many who were forced to work in extremely harsh conditions. After visiting the centre, visitors are encouraged to proceed to the memorial walking trail. Many visitors and tour groups make use of the audio guide tour available to enhance their experience as they walk through the interpretive centre and along the paths to the memorial walking trail. Approximately 180,000 visitors per annum visit the site.

Tom Morris

The preservation and development of this historic site has resulted from the inspiration of Australian former Prisoner of War, Mr J G “Tom” Morris.

Mr Morris was among the thousands of Prisoners of War and Asian labourers who worked on the Burma–Thailand railway during the Second World War. After enlisting aged 17 in 1941 Mr Morris served as a Corporal with 22 Brigade Headquarters before being captured in the fall of Singapore in 1942. Sent to Burma as part of ‘A’ Force, Mr Morris worked on the Burma–Thailand railway from the Thanbyuzayat end. In 1983, forty years after working on the railway, Mr Morris made a decision to return to Thailand in an attempt to locate the site of Konyu Cutting (Hellfire Pass). Mr Morris was not only successful in his endeavour to locate Hellfire Pass, by then almost consumed by the surrounding jungle, he was also inspired with the idea of preserving this significant site in memory of all those who suffered and died while constructing the Burma-Thailand railway. Mr Morris then approached the Australian Government regarding the possibility of having Hellfire Pass dedicated as an historic site.

In 1985, following Mr Morris' proposal, the Australian Government allocated funding for improved access to Hellfire Pass and the construction of a memorial. The memorial was formally dedicated in 1987. Further funding was allocated in 1994 for the construction of the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum and walking trail. The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum was officially opened in April 1998.

Memorial Walking Trail

The walking trail follows the alignment of the original Burma–Thailand railway from Hellfire Pass through to the Hintok Cutting. Small shelters and interpretative panels have been provided at various locations and toilets are available at the end of the walking trail.

If you are planning on walking the trail, be sure to wear strong shoes or boots and protective clothing and take drinking water. Only the fit and well-prepared should attempt this walk, please allow ample time to complete the walk before dark.

The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre brochure includes a copy of the walking trail map:

Visitor information

The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre is closed on the dates below and will have no staff supervision. Access to Konyu Cutting (Hellfire Pass) may still be possible however, services will be extremely limited:

  • 13–15 April—Songkran Festival
  • 5 December—H.M the King's Birthday
  • 24–27 December—Christmas Period
  • 31 December—New Year's Eve
  • 1 January—New Year's Day

Further information on the history of the Burma-Thailand railway and Hellfire Pass can be found on the Anzac Portal.

See also:

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