Camp 13 C Murchison
(from Arrastus in Sa Storia: Antiogu Pinna)
Murchison, Australia. 5 March 1945. 740 Italian prisoners of war (POWs) from C Compound, No. 13 POW Group are engaged daily in picking tomatoes on the properties in the Shepparton district. This photograph shows the men leaving the compound to embuss on trucks for transport to the tomato gardens. (AWM 030239/10 Photographer Ronald Leslie Stewart)
The above photograph shows the men dressed in jackets, trousers and overcoats which were Australian army surplus uniforms dyed burgundy. Work details away from the camp required the men to wear these uniforms.
In total, there are 150 men in Camp 13 c. The group comprises of Italian: 93 army, 10 sailors, 11 protected personnel, 14 merchant sailors. There are also 21 Finnish merchant sailors and 1 Romanian merchant sailor.
All prisoners of war have the right to wear their insignia of rank.
The camp commandant is Sergeant-Major Ernani De Cesare.
The 3 officers comprise of 2 doctors and 1 priest. The average age of the men in camp is 30 years.
The camps have flower gardens and vegetable gardens. Each camp has a beautiful memorial to the dead, made by the prisoners themselves.
Murchison, Australia. 28 February 1945. Italian prisoners of war (POWs) working in the ornamental gardens at Headquarters, No. 13 POW Group. Pictured, left to right: 47574 G. Marrone; 61484 V. Marrone; 47720 A. Simone; 45751 N. Gullaci; 7235 G. Rapetti. Note: The number is an assigned POW number. (AWM Image 030227/13 Photographer Ronald Leslie Stewart)
MURCHISON, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA. 1944-05-22. MONUMENT BUILT BY ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN THEIR COMPOUND (13C) AT THE MURCHISON PRISONER OF WAR GROUP. (AWM Image 066762)
The camp has a barracks for workshops: tailors, barbers and shoe makers. Some prisoners are taking care of the cement construction and gravestone engraving for the tombs of the dead comrades.
MURCHISON, VIC. 1943-11-23/30. ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR EMPLOYED IN THE TINSMITHS SHOP AT THE 13TH AUSTRALIAN PRISONER OF WAR GROUP. (AWM Image 061127 Photographer Geoffrey McInnes)
Recreation and Sport
The camp has a library of 800 volumes. This camp houses 21 Finnish merchant sailors who would like to have books in English added to the library.
A barrack for recreation was constructed. It is a place for the orchestra and the stage plus seating for 500 people. Theatrical productions are presented from time to time. The camp has a small orchestra.
The cinema sessions are organised regularly via a small projector from the German camp. This camp would like to buy a small projector like the model from Camp 13B.
The sports field is big and is in the interior of the camp. The sport played mostly is football. The camp also has a tennis court.
MURCHISON, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA. 1944-05-22. AN ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR SOCCER FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE 13C COMPOUND, MURCHISON PRISONER OF WAR GROUP. (AWM Image 066755)
Apart from the ordinary chores necessitated by the normal upkeep of the camp, prisoner soldiers may be required to perform certain work outside the camp. This work is obligatory and is ordered by the camp commander.
MURCHISON, AUSTRALIA. 1943-01. PRISONERS OF WAR ENGAGED ON CONSTRUCTION WORK IN THE CAMP OF NO. 13 PRISONER OF WAR GROUP IN WHICH THEY ARE INTERNED. GERMAN AND ITALIAN PRISONERS, CAPTURED IN THE WESTERN DESERT, AS WELL AS CIVILIAN INTERNEES, ARE HOUSED IN THE CAMPS. (AWM Image 028598)
On the other hand, the suboffices, the protected personnel and the prisoners belonging to the merchant navy are not bound to the work. For the latter the work is voluntary. Officers may be called for supervisory work, but may also be available for another paid job. The officers are not bound to any work.
The working day is 8 hours. Two small breaks of 15 minutes each; one break for the morning tea and the afternoon tea. Lunch break is provided as well. Sunday is a day of rest.
Murchison, Australia. 5 March 1945. 740 Italian prisoners of war (POWs) from C Compound, No. 13 POW Group are engaged daily in picking tomatoes on the properties in the Shepparton district. This photograph shows the men leaving the compound and are checked out by an Australian Military Forces (AMF) officer and handed over to supervisors (right) in parties of twenty. (AWM Image 030239/08 Photographer Ronald Leslie Stewart)
For movements of any importance, trucks are made available to the workers. prisoners in the Murchison Group’s camps carry out following work: gardening, logging, carpentry, cement-making, road building, camp improvement and unloading.
MURCHISON, VIC. 1943-11-23/30. ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR CUTTING FIREWOOD ON A SAWBENCH AT THE 13TH AUSTRALIAN PRISONER OF WAR GROUP. (AWM Image 061117 Photographer Geoffrey McInnes)
The group has a large vegetable garden with an area of 120 acres where all the work is done by the prisoners.
Each camp has tailors, shoemakers, carpenters and hairdressers.
Apart from this work many prisoners of war take care of personal work: fashioning of cabinets, chairs, tables, wood carvings, painting, drawing, weaving, making various wooden articles and children’s toys.
With the exception of ordinary chores eg cleaning barracks and ablution blocks, all other work prisoners of war receive a remuneration which is established as follows:
Unqualified work – 7.5 pence per day
Work qualified – 1 shilling 3 pence a day
Supervision work – 10 pence a day, when the team includes only unskilled workers.
Qualified supervision work – 1 shilling 6 pence a day, when the team includes one or more skilled workers.
Murchison, Australia. 5 March 1945. View of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) interned in C Compound, No. 13 POW Group, picking tomatoes on a property in the Shepparton district where 740 Italian POWs work daily. An Australian Military Officer is seen, middle background, on a visit to the pickers to ensure maintenance of output. (AWM Image 032039/11 Photogrpaher Ronald Leslie Stewart)