The words: prisoners, internees, internment, imprisonment are often interchangeable.
Queensland resident Italians were interned. Italian soldiers were interned. The Italians were prisoners in camps. Internees were sent to Cowra. Italian POWs were sent to Corwa. These camps were guarded and the Italians could not leave without guards.
The day after Italy’s declaration of war, Queensland residents of Italian heritage were arrested by local police.
Queensland resident Italians interned
Barmera, South Australia. 1943-12-31. As many Italian internees were released during 1943 it was decided to close No 9 Compound and transfer the remaining Italians to No 14D Compound in the Loveday Internment Camp Group. This photograph shows the last internees at their final roll call in No 9 Compound. At the extreme right with their backs to the camera are Australian Captains E.L. Roesler and C.B. Farrow.
Photographer: Cullen, Hedley Keith
There were two situations in the Burdekin during WW2.
- Queensland resident Italians were interned. They were arrested under the securities act and sent to internment camps down south.
- Italian soldiers were captured or surrendered in North Africa, sent to Australia for the duration of the war and a hostel on the banks of the Burdekin River was built to house 255 Italian POWs who grew vegetables for the allied forces in North Qld.
Many Burdekin residents have contacted me regarding their fathers and grandfathers who were arrested and interned. These men were classified as INTERNEES.
I have put together the following document to assist families to find information about the internment of their family members:
Queensland Resident Italian Internees
Many, but not all, Burdekin internees were sent to Loveday Interment Camp in South Australia and the document below provides details of this camp:
Another two resources follow. They provide the details about the policy, its implementation, the arrests etc:
Francesca Musico Rullo discusses her personal research for her nonno who was interne
Glaros, M Sometimes a little injustice…
Nationalities of Other Internees
Italian was not the only nationality to be interned in Queensland during WW2. Other nationalities included: Greek, Lithuanian, Spanish, Hungarian, Polish, Austrian, Russian, Albanian, Portuguese, Indonesian, German, Japanese, French and Finnish. Internees were arrested under the National Securities Act. Being Australian born (British Subject) or being naturalised did not exempt individuals from being interned. People of foreign descent or nationality fell into three categories: NBS (Naturalised British Subject), Alien or British Subject (born in Australia). NB The concept of Australian Citizenship did not come into existence until 1948. Queensland residents who were interned came from all three categories.
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