Tag Archives: WW2 history Australia

Western Creek Internment Camps

The Millmerran Historical Society have published a book, The Western Creek Internment Camps of World War II by Christine M. Turner. You may recognise Nonno Anni’s photographs that appear on the front cover! (And I’ve also written the Foreward in it.)

It seems so much has happened since I first went to Millmerran all those years ago seeking to find the internment camp Nonno Anni was taken to. Back then, only a handful of people knew about this hidden history. This new book even features a mud map to the hidden camp and I’m looking forward to going to see the memorial marker now in place there.

When I wrote about the secret camp in, Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar, I wasn’t sure what reaction to expect but all the people of Millmerran I’ve spoken to have been so wonderful in recognising and honouring this history, as well as finding out more, and for that I’ll always be grateful. Special mention to Cec Gibson who was the first to contact me out of the blue regarding it. So lovely that this long-hidden history is now being honoured further.

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Darwin bombings… 80th anniversary

Remembering all those who lost their lives or were traumatised by the heavy bombings that occurred in Darwin on this day 80-years-ago. I wish I’d been taught more about this event at school in the mid-1980s, however back then, more emphasis was on the Pearl Harbour bombings. Many years later, I’d come to learn just how much the bombing of Darwin directly affected Australia and indeed my own family.

My grandpa, Bob and my grandma, Lorna met there in the 1940s when each of them were stationed in Darwin, he in the air force, she in the WNELs (Women’s National Emergency Legion), being among those involved in its clean-up and recovery. These bombings also meant the ramping up of interning Italian ‘aliens’, Nonno Anni being one of those rounded up soon after as a result of what happened in Darwin.

Incredibly, at one point in 1942, my two grandfathers would be just 40kms from each other, Nonno Anni in an internment camp at Western Creek, Grandpa Bob at Cecil Plains where he’d been posted to a new Liberator Squadron assembling to head north. Decades later, they would not only know each other but be related.

Considering what happened to them during WW2, as I wrote in ‘Joe’s’, they each could so easily have chosen to shun each other, cite their differences rather than their similarities. My Australian and Italian grandmothers too. But they didn’t, for the sake of two little girls, their shared granddaughters and I will forever be grateful to them for this because it was so wonderful to have their influence, their stories and their unconditional love in my life.

Perhaps, current generations acknowledging what happened in the past, in some way, might give back a little. And considering that much of the history surrounding Darwin’s bombing remained unspoken for decades, it is with much respect that I remember and acknowledge what happened there eighty years ago today.

Related post… Lorna – WNELs

Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar

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