Finding Nonno

I have a firm belief that increasingly, the children and grandchildren of those Italians who were prisoners of war in Australia, will begin the journey to find traces and footprints of their ‘nonno’  or ‘papa’.

ITALY and beyond

Lau Bell has provided an invaluable document to assist you with your research:



Below I give you some ways to locate information on your father or grandfather. 

Finding Nonno AWM 3953293

Murchison, Australia. 2 March 1945. Group of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) interned in C Compound, No. 13 POW Group. Photo by Ronald Leslie  Stewart. AWM 030231/04

Family members can make the journey via the internet to locate documents.

NB The service of research for individual families is now closed. 

1. In the National Archives of Australia, for each prisoner of war, there are two files available to view on-line. Finding these documents is just the start of research.  These documents have a wealth of information, but they are hard to decipher. The attached document  Finding Nonno. will assist Italian families with understanding the forms.

2. Una sorpresa… For some Italians, there is an extra Australian file: A7919 Victoria, A367 South Australia and Tasmania, K1174 Western Australia. This document: How to Order NAA will guide you through the process of obtaining a copy. c. $26.45 – $36.27 AUD. 

3. Australian War Memorial contains photographs of Italian prisoners of war and prisoner of war camps. Not all Italians were photographed. Search hints   Many names are typed incorrectly. The photos of the camps eg. Cowra, Murchison, Hay provide valuable insight into life in the camps.

4. Local Historical Groups: if your father was sent to farm work and you have the name of the farmer or photos of the farming family, the historical society in the relevant district might be able to assist you. Many of the local history groups have a facebook page and a website. Often there is a fee $ for individual research. Try to include as much background information as possible. Include in your message/email an English translation (Google translate gives a fair translation).

5. The page POW Camps in Australia (found on the home page as a drop down menu) contains lists by state for the prisoner of war centres in Australia.  

6. Further Reading  provides a number of links for India, England, South Africa as well as numerous places in Australia.