four photos… four countries


Giovanni Cavoli’s journey can be traced through his small collection of black and white photos.

[Photo courtesy of Diana Cavoli]

From Venagrande [Ascoli Piceno] his military service was undertaken in Bologna with Giovanni serving with the 6th Reggimento Bersaglieri.

The photo taken in Libya shows his desert accommodation. Giovanni is in the back row centre. If you look closely, you will see a wine flagon and the words ‘Il Duce’ written with stones.

[Photo courtesy of Diana Cavoli]

This identity photo taken in India, found its way to Australia and into his Australia file.

He departed India for Australia in February 1944.

Giovanni Cavoli in India


Dressed in his magenta dyed Australian uniform, Giovanni is photographed at Mr H Crawford’s Tambellup farm in Western Australia. At the time of his return to Italy, he had not seen his family for almost 8 years.

[Photo courtesy of Diana Cavoli]

In May 1949, Giovanni, his wife Rosa and their two children arrived in Fremantle Western Australia on the Ugolino Vivaldi. Sponsored by his war time employer Mr H Crawford, he returned to Tambellup. In time the family settled in Katanning.

6 thoughts on “four photos… four countries

  1. Pingback: four photos… four countries — Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War in Australia | Ups Downs Family History

  2. Dorothy Krogh

    Re WW11 Italian POW’s in NSW. I am trying to get information on an Italian POW who worked in a road gang on the Dorrigo (NSW) mountain and then came to work on our dairy farm at Gleniffer NSW. I know he was living with my family when I was about 3 yrs of age and I am now 75 yrs.


    1. Joanne in Townsville Post author

      Hi Dorothy, prisoners of war did not work on road gangs. This group of me were either employed by Civil Aliens Corps or Civil Constructional Corps or Public Works: they were ex-internees (Australian resident Italians who had been arrested and interned, but were released with conditions eg directed to work on road building in Northern Territory) or aliens (who were not considered a security threat but were an able bodied workforce 18 – 60 years which could be directed to government projects) There was a prisoner of war workforce in the Dorrigo district from Sept 1943 – Nov 45. Prisoners of war were withdrawn from farm work at the beginning on 1946. This Italian might have been a post war migrant…what years do you think he came to live with your family? Post WW2 many migrants provided the labour force for government projects in forestry and a range of other projects.


      1. Dorothy Krogh

        Hi Joanne
        Thank you for your prompt reply.

        My Pop was a Councillor on the Bellingen Shire Council and he told us that Ralph was working on the Dorrigo mountain upgrade and he was part of a road gang mining a hairpin bend in order to place explosives there to prevent the Japanese from accessing towns in that area.

        We are not sure when he actually came to our farm to live and help with farm duties. We know he was there before 1950, probably 1947/48 and he left during 1952.

        My Dad was part of WW11 Home Guard for the Gleniffer Company volunteer group of the Volunteer Defence Corps from 1939 – 1945. This was known as ‘Platoon No 2 Gleniffer’, Bellinger River Company of Volunteer Defence Force. Dad became a Corporal with the Australian Defence Corps North Coast NSW and trained men in the Gleniffer area. He .
        spoke highly of Ralph as a POW.

        My brother and I remember Ralph as being a quiet gentle man. We have a photo of Ralph with me and my brother near our farmhouse but are not sure if his name is spelt Davison or Davidson. This doesn’t sound like an Italian surname does it?

        I’m hoping you can steer us in the right direction to get more information on this. We are doing a family story in preparation for a reunion in November this year.

        Warm regards Dorothy


      2. Joanne in Townsville Post author

        Hi Dorothy, I have looked in a few places for Ralph Davison/Davidson eg archived newspapers and but have not been able to find any matches. I do not think this man was a prisoner of war. Maybe he was an Australian soldier who had been a prisoner of war in Germany or SE Asia. Hence the reason why you remember ‘prisoner of war’.
        The dates 1947/48 and the surname Davidson/Davison tell me that he is not an Italian prisoner of war. The vast majority of Italian prisoners of war had been repatriated to Italy by January 1947. Possibly, put an article in the local newspaper about Ralph and the Dorrigo mountain upgrade, contact the Dorrigo History Association for information about the Dorrigo mountain upgrade.


  3. Pingback: Footprints of Italian Prisoners in Australia – Featured Blogger of the Week June 17, 2021 | Ups Downs Family History

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