Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum & Walking Trail, Thailand
The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum 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.
Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum entrance
Model depicting the surrounding area at
Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
The museum 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. The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum symbolises the importance of this site to the Australian people. After visiting the memorial museum and contemplation deck, visitors are encouraged to proceed to the walking trail.
Peace Vessel Peter Rushforth
Hellfire Pass Railway Cutting (Konyu Cutting) lit by natural Bamboo candles, Anzac Day Dawn Service 2005
The Office of Australian War Graves continues to improve visitors' experience when visiting the site. The audio guide tour introduced several years ago continues to be well received and many visitors and tour groups use the guide as they walk through the museum and along the paths to the memorial. The audio guide, available in English, Dutch and Thai, provides a history of Hellfire Pass and first hand comments from ex-prisoners of war.
In 2008, the new access to the Cutting was completed and the carefully designed pathway and stairs now winds down below the contemplation deck providing safe, easy access.
Maintaining the site with approximately 100,000 visitors per annum continues to be challenging for the Manager and staff.
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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 on 25 April 1998.
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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 talking the walk, 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.
View the walking trail map
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Museum open 9-4pm, 7 days
Detailed information on significance of Hellfire Pass
English & Thai text & signs
Self-guided audio tours in multiple languages
Directions to Hellfire Pass
Please also visit the Smart Traveller website
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