Locals Help Write History
The power of social media and on-line newspapers have assisted researcher Joanne Tapiolas in writing the history of Italian Prisoners of War in Queensland during World War 2.
Not satisfied with the official government ‘black and white’ version of the Italian POW scheme, Tapiolas has enlisted the assistance of local residents who are now sharing their memories and photos of THEIR Italians. “These wonderful memories are adding colour to this history and I am honoured to be able to record the personal stories and insights of the time the Italians lived on farms during the war,” reflects Tapiolas.
And there are the families of those Italian POWs who returned post war to build a new life who have shared their stories for this project. The respect these families have for the farmers who sponsored their nonnas is part of this poignant history.
All Queenslanders Tapiolas has talked with speak very fondly and with such clarity about their Italians and they are often surprised to know that the Italians POWs were in Queensland for such a short period. Seventy years has passed but families still have letters written by the POWs, photos and hand-made gifts in their possession as a reminder of the time the Italian POWs worked on our farms. And they have their memories: the chocolates the Italians gave them, the baby sitting duties the Italians undertook, the ‘brotherly’ jibbing and the Italian songs playing in their memories.
Locals from Nambour,Gympie, Gayndah, Texas, Kenilworth, Kingaroy, Monto and Boonah have contributed their stories and memories so that the Italians will be remembered. Every story is unique and is invaluable in tracing the footprints of the Italian POWs.
In keeping with the changing times, Tapiolas has constructed a website to pass on this history: Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War 1943 – 1946. The website can be found at: italianprisonersofwar.com
If you would like to share your familiy’s story about the Italian Prisoners of War on your farm, you can make contact at firstname.lastname@example.org