"When Australia abolished the study of history and geography in our schools and replaced it with the indoctrination-charged Study of Society and Environment (SOSE) in the 1980s at the behest of UNESCO, we were preparing our children to become gentle sheep who could be easily led by their political masters." *

* James Kenneth Bowen 2004

A more detailed CV can be viewed in the "About author" section of the Battle for Australia website.

LEFT: James Bowen, after attending a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War; MIDDLE: Major James Bowen, at Nui Dat, South Vietnam during the Communist Tet Offensive, January-February 1968; RIGHT: James Kenneth Bowen of Counsel seen as Prosecutor for the Queen in the State of Victoria (1978-1993).

James Kenneth Bowen spent twenty-nine years in legal practice. He held the offices of Senior Crown Prosecutor and Assistant Secretary for Law in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea (1961-1967). He served as a major in the Australian Army from 1967 to 1973 (two years Regular Army and five years Active Citizen MIlitary Forces). That military service included service in Vietnam in 1968 during the Vietnam War. He held the appointment of Crown Prosecutor in Canberra from 1969 to 1978. He was appointed by the Victorian Governor-in-Council to the statutory office of Prosecutor for the Queen in 1978, and retired from that senior appointment in the Victorian criminal justice system in 1993. 

Having a special interest in reforms to the criminal law and the criminal justice system, he convened symposia in Canbera (1973 and 1977) and Melbourne (1987 and 1991). The Canberra symposia proposed and laid foundations for establishment of Directors of Public Prosecutions in Australia, recognizing the threat of organized crime in Australia, denying the novel and complete psychiatric defence of dissociation to murderers, and fairer treatment in criminal trials for female victims of sexual crimes. The Melbourne symposia included arguments for recognition of links between pornography and sexual crimes, and the grave risks involved in legalizing narcotic and other mind-altering drugs for recreational purposes.

Upon retirement from the office of Prosecutor for the Queen in 1993, he returned to full-time occupation with history with a special focus on the Pacific War 1941-45. He held appointments as an honorary senior consultant on public affairs to the National and Victorian RSL from 1996 to 2001. He has been convener of the Pacific War and Battle for Australia historical societies since 2001, and produced the websites of both historical societies. In 1997, with the support of RSL National President Major General Digger James, AC, MBE, MC, he initiated the proposal for national commemoration of a Battle for Australia in 1942 and wrote the foundation paper to justify the commemoration. That proposal was accepted by the Rudd Labor government in 2008 with the proclamation by the Governor General of an official national Battle for Australia Day to fall on the first Wednesday of every September.


James Kenneth Bowen attended Brisbane Boys' College (LEFT) from final year primary school in 1948 to senior high school in 1952. He graduated in politics, history, German language, and law from the University of Queensland in 1959. At the University of Queensland he attended the T. C. Beirne School of Law under Garrick Professor W. N. L. Harrison.



Senior Crown Prosecutor James Bowen (centre) is pictured on circuit with the Supreme Court of TPNG at Minj in the Southern Highlands of Australia's Territory of Papua in 1962. The court was at Minj to conduct a murder trial. Others included in the group photograph include a patrol officer (second from left), a native policeman (extreme right), and an interpreter (at left of group).

He held the appointments of Crown Prosecutor, Senior Crown Prosecutor, and Assistant Secretary for Law in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea from 1961 to 1967. As a government Crown prosecutor, he travelled around and across most of the mainland of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and visited many towns and government stations, including Kokoda. As Assistant Secretary for Law in TPNG in 1966-67, he administered the separate legal systems of Australia’s sovereign Territory of Papua and the adjoining United Nations Trust Territory of New Guinea.


LEFT: Dianne as I first met her in Port Moresby in 1962; SECOND FROM LEFT: Dianne in 1970 at the christening of our daughter Jillian; SECOND FROM RIGHT: Our eldest daughter Emma; RIGHT: Our youngest daughter Jillian with her adored white Samoyed "Ruby".

I owe a special tribute to my wonderful wife Dianne who has not only supported my proposal to commemorate a Battle for Australia since 1995, but has also patiently and cheerfully endured the substantial drain on our finances, the lost holidays over twenty years, the heavy cost of expensive desktop computers and professional internet software (including Adobe Photoshop and web editor Dreamweaver) and the thousands of hours expended on research, writing this history, and the creation of the complex Battle for Australia and Pacific War web-sites.

My mother was born in Scotland and was a Campbell. She passed her Presbyterian religion and Campbell affiliation on to me.


James Bowen was a major in the Australian Regular Army (ARA) and Active Citizen Military Force (ACMF) from 1967 to 1973, and served with the Australian Army in Vietnam in 1968.



James Kenneth Bowen was the Senior Crown Prosecutor in Canberra from 1970 to 1977. He was contacted by the Solicitor General for Victoria Daryl Dawson QC (later Sir Daryl Dawson, Justice of the HIgh Court of Australia) in 1977 and invited to apply for appointment to the independent statutory office of Prosecutor for the Queen. The Prosecutors for the Queen in Victoria were the State indicting authorities who signed the criminal charges to be determined by juries in the Supreme and County Courts. The Prosecutors for the Queen also prosecuted in major trials in Victoria's superior courts and appeared before the Court of Criminal Appeal to defend convictions by juries and sentences by judges. He was appointed to the statutory office of Prosecutor for the Queen by Victoria’s Governor in Council in 1978 and retained that appointment until retirement in 1993. The independent office of Prosecutor for the Queen has now been abolished in Victoria, and superior court prosecutions are now conducted by Crown prosecutors in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.


He has convened major symposia on crime, law, and justice in Canberra (1973 and 1977) and Melbourne (1987 and 1991). With the late Ray Watson QC (Later Mr Justice Watson), he initiated at the 1973 conference the proposal for a Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Australia. That DPP proposal was first adopted by Victoria in 1983, and later followed by all Australian States and Territories. Another very important paper at the 1973 conference challenged the views of Australian academic criminologists Norval Morris and Gordon Hawkins that belief in organised crime was equivalent to belief in Santa Claus. Having studied the history of organised Crime in the United States and Melbourne, James Bowen retained a Federal Police expert on organised crime, Inspector R. E. Dixon, to challenge the views of Morris and Hawkins, and publication of the Federal Police paper effectively silenced the academic deniers of organised crime.* The first Canberra symposium was opened by the Attorney-General of Australia Senator the Honourable Lionel Murphy QC..

* It required permission from the Commissioner of the Federal Police for a police specialist on organised crime to destroy utterly the prevailing Australian academic denial of organised crime.

After experience in two murder trials of the use of dissociation as a complete psychiatric defence to the killing of women (i.e. the defence claimed that the accused man murdered a woman while watching the killing from outside his body, and consequently, lacking any ability to control his lethal actions), James Bowen retained the Senior Government Psychiatrist in Victoria, Dr Allen Bartholomew, to discredit at the 1977 conference the concept of dissociation as a defence to murder. Being appalled by the aggressive and unfair harassment of female victims in rape trials, James Bowen retained barrister Helen Coonan (later Senator Coonan) to argue for fairer treatment of victims of rape in court. Both papers from the 1977 conference led to very positive results for victims of crime.

James Kenneth Bowen opposed publicly three attempts by Australian governments to impose a bill of rights on Australia. He argued that rights were better protected by democratically elected politicians who could be dismissed by the electorate rather than by judges who could not be removed by electors. All three attempts to impose a bill of rights on Australians failed.

As a consultant on public affairs to the Australian Family Association (AFA), he has held the appointments of Victorian State president (1989-95), chairman national education committee (1988-95), and chairman national legal committee (1993-95). As president of the AFA Victorian Branch he opposed publicly proposals by the Victorian Kennett government (1) to limit employment protections in the Equal Opportunity Act (VIC) for faith-based schools, hospitals, and charities; and (2) to permit two-women brothels to operate next to family homes in residential areas of Victoria. Both proposals were dropped by the Kennett government.

The two Melbourne Criminal Justice Symposia convened by James Bowen addressed issues that included the need to preserve trial by jury in a healthy democracy, links between pornography and sexual crimes, and the grave dangers for society to be expected from legalising mood-altering so-called recreational drugs. The first Melbourne symposium was opened by High Court Justice Sir Daryl Dawson AC, KBE, CB, QC. The second Melbourne symposium was opened by Victorian Attorney-General the Honourable Jim Kennan SC.



James Kenneth Bowen is co-author with the late John Harber Phillips, Chief Justice of Victoria, of "Forensic Science and the Expert Witness" (1985). He has published articles on criminal law, the causes and control of crime in Australia, police powers, constitutional law, why Australia does not need a bill of rights, human rights, education, major social issues, and the impact of United Nations conventions on Australians. He has lectured on aspects of crime and criminal law at the Victorian and ACT police colleges.


James Kenneth Bowen graduated in history from the University of Queensland with a special focus on Japanese history that did not extend past the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. When he turned to the Pacific War in 1995, it required a massive learning curve to place my Japanese history in the full context of World War II. Not having ready access to a university library, it has been necessary for him to purchase history books, and his personal World War 2 history library now numbers over two hundred volumes. Dianne's and his father both served in the Pacific War, and they did not begrudge the time and money required by a project that they firmly believed was justified to acquaint young Australians with the sacrifices made by those who defended Australia from Japanese control in 1942.

His formal history studies to university level included Roman history from the Punic or Carthaginian Wars (264-146 BC) to the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD), the military campaigns of Julius Caesar (and translating from Latin his "Commentarii de Bello Gallico"), Medieval history (and in particular, the Hundred Years’ War), the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815), and Japanese history from the Kamakura Shogunate (1185-1336 AD) to 1945. He studied Japanese history for one year, travelled widely in Japan in 1960 to improve his spoken Japanese, and wrote the chapters on Japanese history to be found on the website of the Battle for Australia website under INDEX heading "Part 12 - Historical foundations of Japan's mIlitary aggression".

Although his special focus as a military historian over the last twenty years has been the dynamics of war, and in particular, the forces that shaped the course of the Pacific War during the crucial year 1942, the author has researched and written on the famous Battle of Agincourt 1415, the landings at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915, and the French Revolutionary War and Napoleonic War.


As honorary consultant on public affairs to the Victorian RSL, and with the support of RSL National President Major General W. B. Digger James, AC, MBE, MC, James Kenneth Bowen initiated in 1997 the proposal to commemorate a Battle for Australia in 1942 and wrote the foundation paper to justify the commemoration. He was a founding member of the Battle for Australia Commemoration National Council. The Rudd Labor Government initiated formal national commemoration of a Battle for Australia, and Battle for Australia Day was proclaimed in 2008 to be commemorated on the first Wednesday of September of every year. That proclamation placed Battle for Australia Day on the same level as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day as days of national commemoration. In 2012, the author was appointed honorary historical consultant to the Battle for Australia Commemoration National Council.

The author has been researching, writing, and publishing “The Pacific War” and ”The Battle for Australia" online for 22 years. The “Battle for Australia” is an online history of the Japanese attack on Australia in 1942 in the context of World War II. This history is intended for everyone interested in the Japanese military attack on Australia in 1942, and especially, history students. This developing history can be viewed at the Battle for Australia website. The author's major online publication has been "The Pacific War" from Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 to early 1943 when the Japanese were forced into a defensive posture after successive defeats in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Kokoda Campaign, and the Guadalcanal Campaign.

In 2002, James initiated the online Battle for Australia and Pacific War historical societies, and he has authored the extensive historical material on both websites, including a history of Japanese militarism from the Kamakura Shogunate in 1185 AD to the end of the Guadalcanal Campaign in 1943 when the grave Japanese threat to Australia ended.

The year 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda Campaign, and James Bowen is presently revising the Kokoda chapters on the Battle for Australia website to ensure that the Kokoda Campaign is presented with historical accuracy for Australians, and especially, history students.

Although lacking any formal or informal connection with the Australian Labor Party, James Bowen was offered, and accepted, appointment in 2002 as honorary consultant on the Battle for Australia to then Federal Opposition Leader, the Honourable Simon Crean MP. The appointment followed a public attack* on the leadership and integrity of wartime Prime Minister John Curtin by historian Dr Peter Stanley at the Australian War Memorial's conference "Remembering 1942". At this conference, which included reference to the Japanese attack on Australia in 1942, Dr Stanley accused John Curtin of exaggerating the gravity of the Japanese threat to Australia in 1942 for political advantage in a paper that included the words: "Curtin did not save Australia from any real threat" and "…the Curtin government exaggerated the (Japanese) threat". * Dr Peter Stanley's attacks on the leadership and character of John Curtin continued until Stanley attracted public criticism from Prime MInister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley in 2005. Stanley resigned from the Australian War Memorial in 2006. * From Dr Stanley's essay: "He's (not) coming South - the invasion that wasn't" (2002).

In a published response in "The Australian" newspaper, James Bowen pointed out that Prime MInister John Curtin's fears for Australia in 1942 were fully justified by the Japanese invasion of Australia's Territory of Papua* on 21 July 1942 and the fact that the ensuing Kokoda Campaign was fought entirely on sovereign Australian soil. James Bowen also mentioned in the published article that John Curtin's fears for Australia were fully shared by the Commander in Chief US Navy Admiral Ernest J. King who had the responsibility for stopping the Japanese advance towards Australia. Admiral King sacrificed three of his six fleet carriers in the defence of Australia in 1942. * Papua was legally part of the Commonwealth of Australia from 1905 until achieving independence from Australia in 1975

This honorary appointment as Battle for Australia consultant to Crean in 2002 also acknowledged the role of James Bowen as a senior RSL officer in the initiation by the national RSL in 1998 of commemoration of a Battle for Australia.

In 2008, the Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Honourable Alan Griffin MP, telephoned James Bowen from Parliament House to thank him for his public defences of Prime Minister John Curtin against published and false criticisms emanating from the Australian War Memorial between 2002 and 2005. Minister Alan Griffin mentioned that he had raised the unfair and historically inaccurate criticism of Prime Minister Curtin in a Peter Stanley-produced exhibit located in the World War II gallery of the Australian War Memorial (see below) with its director Major General Steve Gower who had undertaken to amend the panel to remove Stanley's six historical errors and unfair criticisms of Prime MInister Curtin.

This sign contains six false major historical statements including the reference to Prime MInister John Curtin which is utterly false.

Mr Griffin stated that the Rudd Government had been persuaded by the published RSL paper that the primary focuses of national commemoration of a Battle for Australia in 1942 should be the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Kokoda Campaign because both were attempts by Imperial Japanese forces to capture territory that was still been part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1942, namely, the Australian Territory of Papua. Mr Griffin specifically mentioned his view that it was very important for commemoration of a Battle for Australia to acknowledge that Imperial Japanese troops had landed on what had been Australian soil at Buna and Gona in Papua on 21 July 1942. Mr Griffin mentioned that the Rudd Government had noted this important point which had been mentioned by James Bowen in the RSL Battle for Australia paper in these words:

"To appreciate that Australia was physically invaded in 1942 by Japanese troops, it is necessary to make the point that Papua was transferred by Britain to Australia in 1906, and that (the Territory of) New Guinea became an Australian League of Nations Mandate after World War 1. Both territories achieved independence from Australia in 1975."

James Bowen mentioned to Minister Griffin that he felt it was also important to acknowledge the vital American support for Australia in 1942 in annual commemorations of the Battle for Australia, and especially, the fact that the Americans had lost three of their six aircraft carriers defending Australia. Minister Griffin assured me in his telephone call that the Rudd Government accepted that the strategic context for commemorating a Battle for Australia in 1942 had been appropriately stated by me on the website of the Battle for Australia Historical Society as it appears below:

"As a graduate historian, with a special focus on Japanese history and the Pacific War, it fell to me to define the concept and scope of a Battle for Australia, and to write a paper that justified commemoration of a Battle for Australia in 1942. At private meetings during 1997, Major General James and I defined the concept of a Battle for Australia to describe the clash of Japanese and American strategic war aims with Australia as their focus that produced a series of great battles in 1942 across the northern approaches to Australia, including the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Kokoda Campaign, and Guadalcanal Campaign. In this context, the Battle for Australia was to be viewed as a lengthy and bloody struggle to prevent the Japanese achieving their strategic Pacific War aims of controlling Australia, and preventing the United States aiding Australia and using Australia as a base for launching a counter-offensive against the Japanese military advance. For their part, the Americans were determined to protect their access to Australia and its New Guinea territories in 1942, even at the risk of their six precious fleet carriers that had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor."

See: "What was the Battle for Australia?"


In June 2022, James Kenneth Bowen created the online International Cato Forum. This online forum provides a medium for discussion of important political, defence, social, cultural, environmental, and historical issues from a conservative point of view. Robust contributions and views are welcome, but publication is ruled by relevance and courtesy in expression of views.


Since 2012, it has been necessary for James Bowen to defend publicly the magnificent Kokoda achievement in 1942 that defeated a Japanese invasion of Australian soil against utterly baseless attacks from the Australian War Memorial under director Brendan Nelson in the book “Kokoda beyond the Legend”.


LEFT: The book “Kokoda beyond the Legend” was published by the Australian War Memorial in 2017 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda fighting; RIGHT: Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson ignored repeated invitations by James Bowen to defend false and insulting claims in the AWM book’s treatment of Kokoda.

The book “Kokoda beyond the Legend” contains papers delivered at a conference of the same name in 2012. The dismissive tone of the original commemorative event in 2012 with regard to Kokoda was quickly set by comments at the opening of the conference. In the “Herald Sun” of 7 September 2012, News Corp defence journalist Ian McPhedran reported Australian War Memorial senior historian Ashley Ekins as saying “there is excessive mythology about the Kokoda story’’. Ekins was unable to produce any evidence of any such mythology.

A major thrust of the book “Kokoda beyond the Legend” is to dismiss as myth a belief held for of over 70 years by distinguished Australian historians that Kokoda saved Australia from a Japanese invasion of a part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1942 called Papua. Two authors of papers in the book falsely deny that a part of the Commonwealth of Australia was invaded by the Japanese in 1942.

Another major thrust of this book is to depict as based upon myth the beliefs of most Australians that the defeat of the Japanese on the Kokoda Track was a magnificent and heroic achievement of which we can be proud. It is suggested in this book that a myth of Australians being heavily outnumbered on the Kokoda Track was concocted to hide the truth that the Australians were driven back initially because they were inferior fighters compared to the Japanese.

These claims are appalling because they are untrue, and they can readily be shown to be untrue by reference to Commonwealth law, and the official Australian and Japanese Kokoda histories which authors of the absurd and insulting myth claims have either failed to read or lacked the intelligence to understand.

The false myth claims appear to reflect either another collapse of historical scholarship at the Australian War Memorial comparable to the collapse between 2002 and 2005 under previous director Major General Steve Gower or the fashionable Marxist postmodernism which encourages history students to be sceptical of Australia’s great historical achievements. Under Major General Gower, the Memorial's historians falsely claimed that Australia faced no serious threat from Japan in 1942, and falsely denied that Japanese troops invaded any part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1942. Even the Anzacs were not spared from Memorial denial of their magnificent achievements at Gallipoli.

The Australian War Memorial under Brendan Nelson appears to have targeted Kokoda for historical obliteration.

James Bowen feels that Australians deserve a factual repudiation of the false and insulting treatments of Kokoda presented in the Australian War Memorial’s book “Kokoda beyond the Legend” that appear intended to diminish the enormous debt that we owe to the Australian soldiers who fought, bled, sacrificed, and died on the Kokoda Track to defend our country against the first invasion of sovereign Australian soil in 1942.

Although formally invited repeatedly by James Bowen to defend false and insulting treatments of the Kokoda fighting in “Kokoda beyond the Legend”, Brendan Nelson declined to respond. A consequence of Nelson’s failure to respond means that factual repudiation of false Kokoda myth claims in “Kokoda beyond the Legend” will be published widely across the internet for the world to judge the Australian War Memorial's disgraceful failure to acknowledge the sacrifices made by Australians in the Kokoda Campaign

A detailed REVIEW AND EXPOSURE of the shameful historical distortions contained in several chapters of this treatment of Kokoda may cause some Australians to feel that there has been a collapse of historical scholarship at the Australian War Memorial under director Brendan Nelson.