Craft making and theatre and other cultural activities where pursued at Holsworthy as they were at Trial Bay and Berrima, but the overarching atmosphere of the place was confinement, deprivation of liberty and constant surveillance. Unlike the internees at Trial Bay and Berrima, the Holsworthy internees were treated as prisoners. As a consequence the Holsworthy Camp developed a reputation among the NSW German community as a place of harsh punishment. Camp Commanders at Trial Bay and Berrima often sent recalcitrant offenders to Holsworthy as a sign that despite having liberties and privileges, disobedience would not be tolerated.
The camp newsletter Kamp Spiegel produced by the internees gave a running commentary of politics, the local German perspective on the progress of the war and an insight to the conditions and grievances of life at the camp.