What do Giuseppe Quarta, Tito Neri and Antioco Pinna and have in common?
Giuseppe Quarta Tito Neri Antioco Pinna
(Photos courtesy of Antonio Quarta, NAA: A367 C85639, Luigi Pinna)
This is the question I had to ask myself when Antonio Quarta contacted me recently. Antonio’s father was from Arnesano (Lecce), he was captured in Bardia (Libya) and he worked on farms in the Burnie and Deloraine districts of Tasmania.
Remarkably, Giuseppe Quarta had a photo of ‘Adam and Eve’, the same photo Antioco Pinna from Palma Suergio (Cagliari) also had. ‘Adam and Eve’ was a statue sculptured by Tito Neri in the Loveday Camp (SA) in 1946.
‘Adam and Eve’ by Tito Neri
(Photo courtesy of Antonio Quarta)
All three men were captured in different battles of war and came from different parts of Italy, but all three are connected to ‘Adam and Eve’.
The connection is that Giuseppe, Antioco and Tito had all resided in Camp 12 POW Camp India (Bohpal) before boarding the ship Mariposa in Bombay, arriving in Melbourne on 5.2.44. After being processed in Murchison Camp (Victoria) they went their separate ways: Giuseppe to farm work in Tasmania, Tito to farm work in South Australia and Antioco to forestry work in South Australia.
In 1946, all Italian prisoners of war were brought back into six main camps around Australia to await repatriation. It was at Loveday Camp (SA) that the three men were reunited once more: Tito Neri arrived at Loveday Camp (SA) on 27.2.46, followed by Antioco Pinna on 3.4.46 and Giuseppe Quarta on 10.4.46.
Sometime between 27.2.46 and 7.11.46, Tito Neri created and destroyed his statue of ‘Adam and Eve’. Fortunately, Tito Neri and his statue were photographed and more than one copy of the photograph was produced with one copy now in Sardinia (Pinna) and one copy in Puglia (Quarta).
So many more questions are raised: who took the photo? how many photos were reproduced? do other Italian families have the same or a similar photo? do any Australian families have a photograph of ‘Adam and Eve’.
The completion of the statue must have been an important event for the Loveday Camp. Not only were photographs taken, but as Dott. Andrea Antonioli, Commune di Cesena. explained in his biography of Tito Neri, “Adam and Eve … nevertheless appears even in an Australian magazine.”
Another reference to the statue can be found on Flickr: “Life size statues of Adam and Eve and the serpent (snake) which was sculptured by the Italian prisoner in the background. He had requested permission to make the statue out of cement, but it was denied, so he made it out of mud, and it was so beautiful that the commandant of Camp 14 gave him permission to cover it in concrete. According to the chief engineer at the camp, Bert Whitmore, the man destroyed the statues after the war, before he left.”
Adam and Eve and Sculpture at the Loveday Internment Camp