I am an avid family historian and have a strong interest in local history. My passion for history goes back to my childhood and the stories I heard from my parents, my studies of Modern and Ancient History at school and my teaching of History in High Schools.
As a second generation Australian with Catalan and Italian grandparents, I was destined to write my family histories, my husband’s family histories and read my way through archived newspapers and government documents.
This research resulted from my research into the Italian Prisoner of War Camp up river Home Hill. When I was a young girl growing up in the Burdekin, I heard stories of the Italian Prisoners of War who worked up river Home Hill and of the concerns that the local Italians were assisting some of POWs to escape. More intriguing was that they were Italian soldiers who had been captured in North Africa. Thus began my journey, researching Italian Prisoners of War at Q6 Prisoner of War Hostel Home Hill.
During my research on Home Hill, archival documents pertaining to Queensland Italian Prisoner of War Control Centres ‘found’ me. I completed my research on Q6 Prisoner of War Control Hostel Home Hill in 2015 but felt that there were stories to be told about the nine PWCC situated in south-east Queensland during World War 2.
The more I delved into the newspaper and government records and personal reminisces of families who billeted POWs, the more I realised that this project was one of connectedness.
This research is about reconnecting:
- communities with their past
- local families with the Italian prisoners of war who lived and worked on their farms
- names to the faces in photos
- names to memories
- memories to faces
- the footprints of Italian Prisoners of War to their journeys in Queensland
This is by no way a definitive picture of Italian Prisoner of War Control Camps in Queensland. There are many stories and references about this topic embedded in academic papers and published books. There are many individual oral histories and family history stories that are part of personal private collections.
The project started with the names of 200 Italian POWs who had worked in Queensland. It grew to include a total of 1504 Italian prisoners of war who had resided and worked in Queensland and 600 Queenslanders who became employers for the nine Queensland Prisoner of War Control Centres.
This research is an adjunct to what is already known and reported on. It helps complete the story of the Italian Prisoner of War Camps in Queensland 1943 to 1946.