There were seven prisoner of war centres in Tasmania including Brighton Prisoner of War Camp. Some of the boundaries for a centre changed as additional centres were established during 1944 to accommodate the increasing numbers of Italian POWs in Tasmania. I have put together a summary of this information.
Brighton Prisoner of War Camp
It was the PARENT Camp for all Italian prisoners of war in Tasmania. One of the Camp Commandants was Major C.R. Hawker. For serious breaches in discipline, a POW would be awarded 28 days detention. He would be transferred from his farm placement and sent to Brighton Camp for detention. Brighton Camp also had a hospital unit.
T1 Prisoner of War Control Centre Burnie
The centre’s office was in Jones Street Burnie and Captain G.D. Pollington was the commanding officer. Burnie farm placements included: Table Cape, Penguin, Leven, Circular Head, Burnie, Kentish, Devenport, Latrobe. An April 1944 report documents that there were 248 Italian POWs placed with 143 farmers. A May 1944 report documents that there were 161 Italian POWs placed with 106 farmers.
T2 Prisoner of War Control Centre Launceston (April 1944 Report)
The T2 Launceston district included: Beaconsfield, Westbury, Deloraine, Longford, Campbell Town, Ross, Evandale, St Leonards, Fingal. An April 1944 report documents that there were 145 Italian POWs placed with 92 farmers.
T2 Prisoner of War Control Centre Scottsdale (June 1944 Report)
The centre’s office was in the Drill Hall Scottsdale and Lieut. G.H. Napier was the commanding officer. Scottsdale farm placements included: Scottsdale, George Town, Lilydale, Ringarooma. A May 1944 report documents 86 Italian POWs placed with 55 farmers.
T3 Prisoner of War Control Centre Hobart (May 1944 Report)
Hobart farm placements included: Esperance, Huon, Cygnet, Kingborough, Glenorchy, New Norfold, Brighton, Clarence, Sorell, Tasman, Spring Bay, Richmond, Green Ponds, Bothwell, Hobart. A May 1944 report documents that there were 146 Italian POWs placed with 84 farmers.
T3 Prisoner of War Control Centre Glenorchy (June 1944 Report)
The centre’s office was in the Drill Hall Glenorchy and Lieut. A. Coulthard was the commanding officer. Glenorchy farm placements included: Hobart, Glenorchy, Richmond, New Norfolk, Kingborough, Sorell, Huon, Brighton, Esperance, Clarence, Tasman, Cygnet, Spring Bay, Green Ponds.
T4 Prisoner of War Control Centre Smithton (June 1944 Report)
The centre’s office was at 2 King Street Smithton with Lieut. E.W.D. Lacy as the commanding officer. Farm placements were at Smithton and Circular Head. A May 1944 report documents that there were 152 Italian POWs placed with 70 farmers.
T5 Prisoner of War Control Centre Deloraine
The centre’s office was at the Drill Hall Deloraine with Lieut. R.K. Lane as commanding officer. In June 1944, the area included Deloraine, Devonport, Kentish, Westbury, St. Leonards, Longford, Latrobe, Evandale, Fingal, Ross, Campbell Town, Beaconsfield. A May 1944 report documents there were 165 Italian POWs placed with 109 farmers.
By Sept 1944, some of these areas became part of T6 Conara.
T6 Prisoner of War Control Centre Conara
The centre is documented as “Conara Camp” and Captain A.A. Thompson was the commanding officer. The areas of St Leonards, Longford, Evandale, Fingal, Ross, Campbell Town became part of T6 with an addition of Oatlands, Bothwell, Green Ponds.
*Alan Fitzgerald coined the phrase “The Italian Farming Soldiers” as a title for his 1981 book about this history. It was the first work undertaken to document the history of Italian prisoners of war in Australia.
My grandfather reported to Burnie camp. I smile when you talk about a serious breach of discipline could result in jail. My grandfather had refused to go and feed the pigs because he asked for a bicycle to get there. This serious breach of discipline was worth 15 days of arrest!
Thanks Joanne. What are the reports you refer to? Are they online? My great uncle Major Edgar Briggs served at the Brighton POW Camp. His Certificate of Service certifies that he “Served on Continuous Full Time War Service in the Citizen Military Forces from 29th April 1940 to 29th July 1946.”
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Hi Marion, I have sent you an email with one of the documents and the file reference. Hope this helps. Such a big jigsaw puzzle. Joanne
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Hello Joanne, reading his casualty form as italian pow, I saw that my grandfather “visited” almost all of these places you reported in this article. I ‘d like to know some of the farmers names who allocated him during his time in Tasmania. The only thing I Know, thanx to Marion Sargent, is that his name was in the red book List, and that he stayed at Cameron farm in the Smithton area for a while, but nothing more. Could you help me? His name was Antonio Balsebre. Thank you very much for all your super interesting work.
Salve Vittoria, I have sent you an email.