Memories from Mahoon

Monto.DowlingWarren.Pace.Dunn Syd (2)

Pownall Family 1942

Back: Jan, Tom and Barbara Pownall; Heather McGuigan; Geoffrey and Peter Pownall

Front: John, Dick and Bruce McGuigan

(from the collection of Jan Joyce (nee Pownall))

My father, Thomas Norman Pownall of “Mahoon”, Monto certainly had a group of POWs and from the little that I remember they were a great success.

Ring barking was the main work that the Italians did.  They would work out on the property at a camp site as the work was a distance away from the house.  After the men moved on, Dad went out to the spot where their camp kitchen had been and found a tablespoon with QG engraved on it. I still have it and it is used every day in my kitchen! Isn’t that lovely?

At that time my parents had bought our big English Oak dining table. One of the Italians was a French Polisher and Dad agreed for him to restore the table. My Mother’s heart was in her mouth as he took to her table with a plane. She thought, “What if he takes his situation out on my table?”  But of course he didn’t, and he did a beautiful job with what Dad had at hand. What a joy it would have been to him to work in his trade – far better than ring barking.

Monto.DowlingWarren.Pace.Dunn Syd (8)

Oak Table Restored by Italian Prisoner of War at Mahoon

(from the collection of Jan Joyce (nee Pownall))

The rules of employment encouraged farmers not to get too close to the Italian POWs.  I think that this is how things went on our farm especially as the Italians were away from the house during the week ring barking.  The war was a challenging time for everyone.

Also, one of the Italians fashioned a ring for me out of a spoon. I was about 6 or 7 and loved it. However my sister and I were playing in the hay shed which at the time was full of corn cobs. I carefully placed my precious ring on one of the husks while we climbed all over the stack. You can imagine the fate of the ring!

My uncle Geoffrey Pownall had POWs as well on his property Tecoma and after the war he sponsored Adolfo D’Addario. My sister Barbara remembers that Adolfo had a spaghetti maker. Adolfo would teach us how to pick up spaghetti to eat it the Italian way.  The spaghetti and sauce was in a dessert or porridge plate and using a fork and a soup spoon he would roll the spaghetti on the fork, using the soup spoon to hold it safely and then we could get it to our mouths without losing everything!

I clearly remember my younger cousin Suzanne, Peter Pownall’s sister, helping Adolfo with English pronunciation.  She would say, “spoon Dolfo, similar moon” obviously copying the way her parents helped him. She would have been 4 or 5.

Janice Joyce (nee Pownall)

Monto.DowlingWarren.Pace.Dunn Syd (9)

Pownall Family Home Mahoon

(from the collection of Janice Joyce (nee Pownall))




1 thought on “Memories from Mahoon

  1. Pingback: Everyday Memories | Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War in Queensland

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