During World War II 4,000 Italian, German and Japanese POWs were detained at Murchison. Those who died at Murchison were buried in the local cemetery but floods in 1956 did major damage to the graves.
The Italian families in the municipality were persuaded by Luigi Gigliotti to pay for the building of a mausoleum – the Ossario. Luigi also convinced authorities to bury all the Italian POWs and detainees who died in Australian prison camps in the mausoleum. The Ossario is a fitting tribute to those Italians who were never to return home from Australia and each year on Remembrance Day there is a mass and service in recognition of these men.
The Ossario, as is shown below, is also the final resting place of the five Italians who died in Queensland: Giovanni Ciccocioppo (Q1 Stanthorpe); Nicola Evangelista (Q2 Nambour); Agostino Naibo (Q3 Gympie); Francesco Leone (Q4 Gayndah) and Francesco Primiano (Q7 Kenilworth). They were reburied at the Ossario on 6 September 1961. (National Archives of Australia NAA: A8234, 13A, 1915-1961)
(Murchison and District Historical Society Inc., 2014)
A special thank you to Kay Ball from Murchison and District Historical Society. Kay lay the wreath for the Evangelista family from Cassino Italy at the ceremony and service 11th November 2018.
Kay Ball Murchison: Laying Wreath for the Evangelista Family
(photo courtesy of Kay Ball)