Farmers and Prisoners

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Murchison, Australia. 2 March 1945. Group of Italian prisoner of war (POWs) interned in D2 Compound, No. 13 POW Group. Back row, left to right: A Porcaro, S Russo, G Fino, Unidentified, V Di Pietro, G De Luca. Front row, left to right: B Fiorentino, Unidentified, G Massaro, V Massaro, L Buonadonne.

(Stewart, Ronald Leslie 1945, ID number 030229/02 AWM)

Many documents survived from the Gaythorne Prisoner of War and Internment Camp, the nine Prisoner of War Control Centres: Without Guard and the one Prisoner of War Control Hostel.

A data base of over 1500 Italian prisoners of war has been compiled from these documents giving up glimpses of the Italians who came to Queensland to work on farms and also the 600 + farmers who took on the responsibility of custody of their new employees.

This website is not the forum to share these details en masse, as individual stories and footprints are lost in such a tangle of information. But I am more than happy to share individual information with families: both Australian and Italian.

While incomplete, documents about transfers of POWs to and between farmers, pay sheets and transfer lists to Gaythorne from Cowra are archived.

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Italian Prisoner of War and Internee Pay Sheets – May 1945 – For camps at Gaythorne, Stanthorpe, Nambour, Gympie, Gayndah, Home Hill, Kenilworth, Kingaroy, Monto and Boonah

(National Archives of Australia NAA: J2255, 14)

For those Queensland locals who have contacted me already, we have been able to put faces to names, confirm dates that their Italians lived on their farms, connect memories to people.  This is the most rewarding part of this research: connecting Queenslanders and Italians to their past shared history.

If your family has memories and stories of Italian POWs, please contact me and with a bit of digging, I might be able make connections for you and give you a name for the unnamed Italian in your photo.

If your relative was an Italian Prisoner of War who was sent to work in Queensland, then at the least, I can give you the details of the district they were sent to or I might be able to give you the names of the farmers they lived with. Or I might be able to guide you through the archives to find information.  I am also happy to assist families whose Nonno or Bis Nonno were placed in other parts of Australia.

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Angelo Airoldi and family Italy 1960

Angelo had worked on the Bolte farm West Wylong

(Bolte, Graydon)

 

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Italian Prisoner of War Identity Card – De Fleice, Domencio

(National Archives of Australia NAA:J3318,40)