Sunday History Photo / SA

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 02:25
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On the outbreak of war in September 1939 Germans who were considered dangerous to the security of Australia were rounded up and held by the Provost Corps at Keswick Barracks, SA. Prior to being transferred to Internment camps in the Eastern States, mainly Victoria.
Australia having agreed to accept Internees from the UK a plan was formulated and on the approval of Southern Command on July 12th 1940 sites were selected at Loveday Near Barmera SA.

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The location of the camps was most suitable as it was well away from the seaboard.
The first 2 camps known as Camp No 9 and No 10 and each consisting of 40 buildings, the camps were one and half miles apart and built by civilian contractors, each compound held up to 1000 persons.
With Japan entering the war it became evident that many Japanese would have to be placed in compounds. The Australian Government reached an agreement with the Netherland East Indies and the French to hold Japanese on their behalf.
It was recommended that the aerodrome at Loveday near Camp 10 be taken over for the purpose of holding Japanese, the idea was approved and Army HQ issued a new type of plan which was to be 4 compounds within one perimeter. Each compound was to hold 1000 Internees and was named Camp 14.
The 3 camps were constructed solely for the purpose of housing Internees or PoW's and were employed on wood cutting projects.
The compounds were surrounded by a 6 foot barbed wire fence with a 3 foot Dannert Concertina wire alongside the fence on either side.
On 11th June 1941 the first arrival of 458 Italian Internee were transferred from Hay NSW and were placed in No 1 POW Camp which was previously called No 10 Internment Camp.
On 12th June 1941 another 402 Italians arrived from Hay, the group included the Captain and Crew of the Italian Motor Ship, "Romolo"
21st of July 1941 a payment of 1 shilling per day per person who wished to work was sanctioned, Under the Geneva Convention a Civilian Internee need not work where as a POW had to if ordered. Jan' 1st 1942 marked the first death in the Loveday Camps, it was an Italian Internee S/n 9094 Pannozzo , he was buried at the Barmera Cemetery.
On 5th Jan' 1942 seen the arrival of 50 Japanese from Adelaide River NT.
30th April 42 a tunnel was discovered by the guards starting within the compound of No 10 and had reached the perimeter wire, a mass escape was prevented.
Up to 15th August 1945 , 115 Internees died and 1 PoW.

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Even today I feel a little sorry for the Italian and German Internees held in Australia during WW2 The Italians and the Germans that lived in Australia pre WW2 did a lot of good for the country, with the Italians growing our Sugar in Nth Queensland in particular the Ingham district and the Germans with the Vineyards of the Barossa Valley and other locations, and I might add they are still serving their adopted country with pride in the same industries.


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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 02:54

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 02:54
Hi Doug, thanks for yet another history lesson, I had no idea of these camps. Dad and Mum use to laugh about a family that owned a car business in the local community who had a German name, it ended with a double 'n', it seems that the guy was seen one night painting over one of the 'n's so that it wasn't recognised as a German name, now I know why it was such a laugh and why he did it. LOL.



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Reply By: Member - Leigh (Vic) - Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 09:57

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 09:57
Hi Doug. Out on the Trans Aust railway there was another camp, under canvas I suspect, where Italians were interred during the war. It must have seemed like the end of the world to those poor soles. All that remains are the loose rock outlines of the camp. It left a sinking feeling in my gut given how desolate, hot and dusty the place would have been. Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Chris and Lindsay (VI - Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 10:01

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 10:01
My husband's grandfather was 3rd generation German immigrant and he fought as an Anzac on the Western front. His family ran an orchard and none of them were interned in either war but we do feel sorry for those who were. Chris.
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 10:21

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 10:21
Hi Doug,
Thanks for another good article.
You are becoming a bit of a legend mate with your Sunday history lessons.
Looking forward to next week.

Well done once again.
Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 11:26

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 11:26
Another great Sunday read Doug which we all look forward to. Like others I had not heard of these camps so thanks again for enlightening us. Cheers,Bob

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Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 13:39

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 13:39
I will add for those of you that are interested , one of the major crops grown was Poppies for Opium, used for medicinal purposes .
Other camps were as follows.
•Cowra, New South Wales
•Enoggera (Gaythorne), Queensland
•Harvey, Western Australia
Hay, New South Wales
•Holsworthy (Liverpool), New South Wales
Rottnest Island, Western Australia
•Tatura (Rushworth), Victoria

I'm not sure if the little rotunda's are still at the Hay showgrounds that I saw about 1954 , they were built by Japanese Internees,

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Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 14:49

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 14:49
I know a great story about Italian POWs.
One Italian POW named Rick Pisatoro was interned ( I assume ) at Holsworthy and assigned to help local farmers .

Rick was a personable bloke and became good friends with a farmer, and ( as he told me) they used to go to the local pub etc and he was treated very well.

After the war Rick immigrated from Italy to Australia and went to live with the farmer who employed him, and inherited the farm as the farmer had no descendents.

I met Rick about 10-12 years ago when as an Austrade representative, I took some Chinese to visit his farm to inspect the Square Meater cattle he redeveloped. The Chinese loved Rick and he soon had them drunk on grappa.
Regards Philip A
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 00:46

Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 00:46
Grappa !!! Drunk ? more like paraletic. Quarter of a glass was enough to curl your toes. [Being polite]

What a brew.

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Follow Up By: cycadcenter - Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 00:59

Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 00:59
I've known Rick for about 35 years, he was at the forefront of cattle breeding during the European invasion of breeds back in the late 60's and early 70's.

He introduced the Italian breed Chinanina to Oz with long long legs.

Back at that time he developed the "Mandalong Special" at the farm at Hawksbury. Back in the 70's and 80's when we used to show our South Devon cattle we would often be next to one another at the various Royal Shows.

He also had a beautiful farm between Molong and Wellington.


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Reply By: Marion - Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 22:14

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 22:14
Hello Doug,

Thank you once more for another great lesson. I do look forward to reading what you have posted every Sunday, it is always enlightening.

Cheers Marion
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 00:08

Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 00:08
My school friend's father had been allocated an Italian POW as a farm hand. He had been a cabinet maker, not a farmer, in Italy and using what limited supplies they could get (mainly Masonite particleboard which was used at the time for cupboards which would be painted over), he constructed all the furniture for the family. The smoothed and polished Masonite made lovely looking furniture with an interesting texture. Many year's later, my friend's parents took what they could fit into their retirement house because it was so nice, and special to them. Built in furniture remained at the farm house, but i don't know if the house is still there now. After the war, their allocated worker returned to Italy and emigrated to Australia with his family.

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Reply By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 13:40

Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 13:40
Hi Doug, another interesting read.
I was born in Hay and I believe my grandfather was the camp commandant of Hay goal during WW2.
I am intending visiting Hay this April and searching out a bit of history.
Always planning the next trip. VKS-737 mobile 1619

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