Milestone, Miracles and Magic

Today it is 4 years since I launched this website/blog. It is an important milestone.

With 207 posts and 12 pages, Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War in Australia is the most comprehensive documentation of this chapter in Australia’s history.

We are an international research project with Australians and Italians in 14 countries contributing a diverse range of items, insights and memories. We have built a community where information is share freely. We are unique because of the diversity of perspectives portrayed.

There are moments of sadness; moments of elation and moments of quiet reflection.

It is important that we try to place ourselves in the boots of the soldier and prisoner of war and walk through this history.

Four years ago, I had no knowledge of website building and blogging. Four years ago, I did not think that “Google Translate” would become my best friend. Four years ago I did not know the history of Bardia or Matapan nor did I know the geographic location of many of the regional Australian farming communities in this history.

Nino Amante from Catania accidentally found a photo of his father on the internet and wrote to me about the “Miracolo di Internet”.

I also believe that your individual passionate searches for your father or grandfather’s ‘lost years’ is part of this ‘magic‘.

Families cannot always find specific personal information about and connections to Australia families for their father or grandfathers. But in the sharing of information, there is the possibility to reconstruct the journey for your loved ones.

My family wonder when I will stop!

My answer is ‘I don’t know’.

Regardless of when I run out of energy, this website serves as a ‘virtual’ museum: a museum which can add items to its collection at any time.

I patiently await the next donation to this museum.



7 thoughts on “Milestone, Miracles and Magic

  1. antonio29quarta

    Buongiorno Cara Joanne, desidero semplicemente Ringraziarti , Grazie a questo tuo Grande Progetto hai regalato , stai regalando e regalerai un po’ di felicita’ alle persone, a distanza di circa 75 anni con il tuo grande lavoro certosino , hai messo in contatto parecchie famiglie , scoprendo tesori nascosti , ricordi molto belli e certe volte anche tristi , ma fa parte della vita …Questo capitolo di storia Prigionieri di Guerra Italiani in Australia , fino a qualche anno fa’ ,era quasi del tutto sconosciuto, ma grazie alla tua Grande passione , nel cercere e ricercare … e’ diventata una realta’ che coinvolge sempre piu’ persone che hanno una storia da raccontare ., da far conoscere da scoprire.. e ogni volta e’ una sorpresa …per concludere , Qualcuno ,aveva detto ,si trova piu’ gioia nel dare , che nel ricevere! Ti faccio tanti Complimenti e Auguri … continua . Grazie. Grazie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JoanneinTownsville Post author

      Buongiorno Antonio, it is an honour to document this history. Families trust me with their memories of loved ones. Imprisonment and how the Italians coped with this isolation is an emotional topic. By allowing you ‘to see’ this time of imprisonment: the camps, the clothing, the items they made, the farming family they lived with, the ships’ and ‘to read’ the personal experiences of other Italians, assists in understanding this history from different perspectives. Thank you for your words of encouragement and kindness. I appreciate them very much. Mille grazie.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Adriana Bardini-Hage

    Good morning. Thank yoiu for all you do with this email. i am very interested about the Italians as my father was prisoner of war but never spoke about it. I think he was somewhere near Biloeaba in Queensland. I would love to find out more about it. Thanks His name was Alessandro Bardini. date of birth 30 january 1907. Once agin Thank you. Adriana Bardini.


    On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 8:47 AM Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War


    1. JoanneinTownsville Post author

      Adriana, as a resident already in Australia from 26 June 1937, your father was most likely working for the Civil Aliens Corps. He hadn’t been in Australia enough years to apply for naturalisation. He was not considered a security risk, so he was not arrested and interned. BUT he was an alien. He would have had to register with the police and obtain a certificate. He would have then been directed to work on government projects in the Civil Aliens Corps or the Civil Constructional Corps or Public Works. I have have article about this group of Italians in Australia: It looks like there are four records for your father in the National Archives of Australia: migration and naturalisation. But you can order copies and make payment to obtain these records. This is a guide to assist you: My nonno’s brother was in the same situation. We do not know where he was sent to work. He was not a prisoner, he was not interned, he was a young able bodied man who was an alien and directed to work on government projects.



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