Waiting to Go Home

It is 1946 and Italian prisoners of war have been removed from farm work in preparation for repatriation. They have been brought into the camps: Hay, Cowra, Sandy Creek, Marrinup, Brighton, Murchison, Gaythorne and Liverpool. By May 1946 the prisoner of war camps at Brighton, Gaythorne, Marrinup and Sandy Creek had closed.

Loveday Camp which had been an internment camp is re-opened and men from Sandy Creek transferred to Loveday Camp.  Northam Camp is opened as a prisoner of war camp to accommodate the men from Marrinup Camp. Brighton prisoners of war are transferred to Murchison or Loveday Camp and Gaythorne men are transferred to Hay or Cowra Camps.

A small number of Italian prisoners of war were allocated to temporary hostels at Australian Military Forces (AMF) sites to undertake maintenance, repair and storage work at these sites. 

Many AMF camps had been built on private land leased by the Commonwealth Government.  With an end to hostilities, these sites had to be prepared for ‘hand back’ to property owners. Those sites which continued as AMF camps also required maintenance and storage work.

Some of these hostels were established as early as July 1945.

The type of work varied from site to site:

maintenance painting and general repairs

drainage, road and area maintenance

general labour duties

repair of vehicles

scraping and painting of marine craft,

placement of equipment into ‘dead’ storage condition

repair and maintenance of MT vehicles

receiving reconditioning, identifying, labelling, stacking signal equipment

barracks maintenance

demolishing camouflage works and preparing equipment for storage

demolishing barbed wire

general rehabilitation of land.

Some of these activities were photographed by the Australian Army photographers.

LIVERPOOL, NSW 1945-11-23. PRISONER OF WAR AND INTERNMENT CAMP. ITALIAN PRISONER OF WAR Q. DI-SAUTS PAINTING ONE OF THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDINGS. (AWM Image 123754 PHOTOGRAPHER L. CPL E. MCQUILLAN)

MOOREBANK, NSW. 1946-08-19. AN ITALIAN PRISONER OF WAR BALING BLANKETS AT 1 RETURNED STORES DEPOT (AWM Image 131270 Photographer Reginald Mervyn Barrett)

28.6.46 Italian prisoners-of-war constructing a drain at 3rd Base Ordnance Depot, Bandiana, Victoria (AWM Image 129831 Photographer Keith Benjamin Davis) Bandiana drew workers from V25 Hume Hostel.

BANDIANA, VIC. 1946-09-17. AN ITALIAN PRISONER OF WAR HELPS STACK JEEP TRAILERS IN DEAD STORAGE AT 1 AUSTRALIAN ORDNANCE VEHICLE PARK.  (AWM Image 13161 Photographer Keith Benjamin Davis) Bandiana drew workers from V25 Hume Hostel.

MOOREBANK, NSW. 1946-01-31. RITONDO MARCELLO PWI56356, AN ITALIAN PRISONER OF WAR CAPTURED AT BENGHAZI, HOSES A GARDEN AT NO. 5 AUSTRALIAN BASE ORDNANCE DEPOT (BOD) (AWM Image 125313 Photographer Ernest Mervyn McQuillan

LIVERPOOL, NSW 1945-11-21. PRISONER OF WAR AND INTERNEE CAMP. PRIVATE G. CARPENTERE , AN ITALIAN PRISONER OF WAR, MENDING BOOTS IN THE CAMP BOOT REPAIR SHOP. OVER 10,000 PAIRS OF BOOTS HAVE BEEN REPAIRED HERE FOR THE AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES (AMF). PRISONER OF WAR LABOUR COSTS 1/7d (17 CENTS) PER PAIR OF BOOTS. (AWM Image 122180 PHOTOGRAPHER L. CPL E. MCQUILLAN)

MOOREBANK, NSW. 1946-08-19. ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR WHO ARE WORKING AT 1 RETURNED STORES DEPOT UNLOADING A TRUCK INSIDE ONE OF THE QUANSON HUTS (AWM Image 131220 Photographer Reginald Mervyn Barrett)

MOOREBANK, NSW. 1946-01-30. NO. 5 BASE ORDNANCE DEPOT. BRUNO ZAMMUNER PWI55918, AN ITALIAN PRISONER OF WAR (POW), WHITEWASHING A GARDEN FENCE. POW’S DO A LOT OF SIMILAR WORK AT THE DEPOT. (AWM Image 125223 PHOTOGRAPHER L. CPL E. MCQUILLAN)

LIVERPOOL, NSW 1945-11-21. PRISONER OF WAR AND INTERNEE CAMP. TWO ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR ADMIRING PHOTOS OF PIN UP GIRLS ON THE WALLS OF THE TENT REPAIR WORKSHOP. (AWM Image 122179 PHOTOGRAPHER L. CPL E. MCQUILLAN)

LIVERPOOL, NSW 1945-11-21. PRISONER OF WAR AND INTERNEE CAMP. ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR REPAIRING AUSTRALIAN ARMY FURNITURE IN THE CAMP CARPENTERS SHOP. (AWM Image 122178 PHOTOGRAPHER L. CPL E. MCQUILLAN)

LIVERPOOL, NSW 1945-11-21. PRISONER OF WAR AND INTERNEE CAMP. LEFT TO RIGHT: PRIVATE (Leonardo) ARENA AND PRIVATE (Angelo) PAGLIARI, ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR, WORKING IN THE ENGINEERS SHOP. (AWM 122181 PHOTOGRAPHER L. CPL E. MCQUILLAN)

In May 1946, Easter Command requested a list of Italians and their trades from Hay PW Group as per below. It was an effort to match the skills of the Italians to relevant projects.

The list for Camp 8 Hay:

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