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It Wasn’t a Holiday Camp! Contrasting views of Italian wartime internment in Australia

January 1, 1970 @ 10:00 am

Part of the History & The Meaning of Things 2012 Seminar Series on History & Material Culture.
On 10th June 1940, Fascist Italy declared war on Britain. The following day authorities began rounding up thousands of Italian men across Australian capital cities and regional towns. There were approximately 33,000 Italian-born migrants in Australia at the time.

Of an estimated 5,000 Italians interned, approximately 300 were from Victoria, almost 1,000 came from New South Wales, 2,700 from Queensland, about 200 from South Australia, and more than 1,200 originated from Western Australia. This talk will present an overview of the contrasting life and times of Italian internees in two internment camps: Tatura in Victoria and Loveday in South Australia. Daily life in both camps could not have been more diverse. While Tatura was primarily used for interned families, Loveday was a male-only camp with over 4,000 inmates from many nations. While life at Loveday was modelled on prison routine, Tatura was run more like a military hostel. Part of the presentation examines how material culture and eyewitness accounts can inform new ways of re-interpreting the official histories of these camps.

Mia Spizzica, University of Melbourne

Part of the History & The Meaning of Things
2012 Seminar Series on History & Material Culture

Discovery Centre, Lower Ground Floor,
Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens
Wednesday 13 June 2012, 1pm–2pm.

Free entry, bookings essential
For RSVP and information contact:
Matthew Churchward
Senior Curator
History & Technology Department
Phone 8341 7253 / 0407 096 586
Email mchurch@museum.vic.gov.au

Mia Spizzica has worked as a teacher of History, Languages, Social Studies and English as a Second Language. In the 1990s, she taught at the University of Siena, Italy, later lecturing at RMIT University. She holds a Master of Education and Master in Counselling and is now studying as a PhD candidate in History at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on the lived experiences of Italian migrants in Australia during the 1930s and 1940s. The project concentrates on Italian migrants who were interned in Australia from 1940 onwards. One of those internees was her grandfather, Antonino, who migrated to Australia in 1927.


January 1, 1970
10:00 am


Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson Street
Carlton Gardens, 3000 Australia
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