In November 1945 Giuseppe Quarta from Arnesano Lecce Italy lived with Mr and Mrs Dixon on their farm in Golden Valley Tasmania.
In November 2020 Jan Dixon, daughter of Reg and Elsie shared 75 year old photos with Giuseppe’s children Antonio and Anna.
This is remarkable.
Giuseppe Quarta celebrated his 24th birthday, thirteen days before arriving in Melbourne from Bombay India. He was processed and photographed at Murchison PW Camp Victoria before travelling to Tasmania.
Giuseppe Quarta Murchison Victoria NAA: A376 T321
Giuseppe’s son Antonio had obtained a copy of his father’s extra file in the National Archives of Australia which contained the PWI58832 photos. This file also provided the name of Giuseppe’s farming family: RR Dixon Golden Valley. But the research stalled. A google map could provide Antonio with a geographic location for Golden Valley. But Antonio had a deep yearning to know something more about his father’s 17 months with the Dixon family.
On 30th November 2020, Antonio’s dreams came true. Jan Dixon had seen a Facebook post on Tasmanian History and knew immediately that this man: Giuseppe Quarta was the man from her family stories and in her family photos.
Giuseppe was known as JOSH and while Jan was born after Josh had left her family’s farm, her parents often talked about Josh and referred to a few photos with Josh and the Dixon family.
Jan recalls her mother Elsie telling her, “Josh always called me Elsa.” Just as the Dixons had given Giuseppe an Aussie name, Giuseppe gave Elsie an Italian name. There is no doubt that Giuseppe was well looked after by the Dixon family as the photos show a healthy young man as a result of the good hospitality of the Dixons. Antonio agrees, “…senza ombra di dubbio , mio padre in quei due anni che ha trascorso presso la famiglia Dixon , si e’ trovato benissimo lo si puo’ vedere anche dalle foto che gode di ottima salute. belle foto.”
Giuseppe Quarta with Grandpa Dixon Golden Vally Tasmania 1945-1946
(photo courtesy of Jan Dixon)
Jan Dixon remembers that the farm had dairy cows and small crops hinting that fresh milk and butter were on the table; there was an abundance of bread made by her mother; and fresh vegetables came straight from the farm. The photos also hint at the acceptance and inclusion of Giuseppe into the Dixon extended family.
Giuseppe Quarta with the Dixon Extended Family 1945-1946
(photo courtesy of Jan Dixon)
For Antonio and Anna Quarta from Lombardy Italy, these photos are a special early Christmas gift. Speaking from the heart, Antonio writes, “e’ un bellissimo regalo di Natale , proveniente dalla lontana Australia dalla cara Joanne ,e’ stata anche una grandissima sorpresa che mi ha fatto tanto piacere , aprendo lentamente il messaggio ho capito subito che si tratta di notizie importantissime… mi ha invaso la commozione e la felicita’ con gli occhi di lacrime.”
There is a remarkable series of events which has brought together the Dixon and Quarta family. Most importantly, this research project, Footprints of Italian prisoners of war in Australia, is a community project. From Antonio Quarta who entrusted me with his father’s story, to John Towers in Tasmania who pointed me in the right direction and gave me links to the Facebook group Tasmania History, to the administrator of the Facebook group who approved my post, to Jan Dixon for recognising Josh and sharing her family photos: this is a remarkable story.
Anna Quarta adds, “Voglio Ringraziare tanto la signora Joanne Tapiolas , la Famiglia Dixon in modo particolare Jan di aver messo a disposizione le sue foto di famiglia e tutte le altre persone che hanno collaborato alla ricercar.”