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Aussie

Administrator
Staff member
A lot of Italians were up there working with the Kanakas sugar cane cutters they were.
I know this because my grandfather worked in Innisfail for 8 years in the 1930’s.

Four years ago I went up to Cairns and drove to Innisfail and saw a monument on behalf of the Italian sugar cane cutters in the area.
It was really lovely to see this... I do my own “who do I think I am” stuff 😇👌
Yes, many, many, many Italians have made a HUGE contribution to the development post WW2 of Queensland, like they have all, over the Country. But.......stone walls were Kanaka stuff.
 

Lols

Active member
Well that’s a question. Opportunity for work?
Maybe Melbourne looked really promising back then?
Maybe some propaganda of how good it is to live and work in Australia?

I can only guess.
Let’s put ourselves into their shoes and think about it, war torn countries they have visited and see Melbourne, and life looks “normal”?
What a hard decision to leave your homeland and start anew, with very little, not knowing English language.
One would have had folk in Oz already that would’ve helped migrants find shelter, work? Etc
 

Lols

Active member
Yes, many, many, many Italians have made a HUGE contribution to the development post WW2 of Queensland, like they have all, over the Country. But.......stone walls were Kanaka stuff.
My grandpa was pre WW2 in Queensland.
 

sherri

New member
Didn’t know we had an Italian POW camp! Know about the Japanese one.
Australia had quite a few internment camps and often they had a few prisoners of war. I know this as my grandfather was killed by a German prisoner of war at Bonegilla, where he was stationed. Later in the war, it housed mainly Italian prisoners of war and after the war, it became a migrant hostel. My sister & I went to visit it (it is now a sort of museum open to the public) a couple of years ago, when we decided to visit our grandfather's grave. We never knew him.
 

Lols

Active member
That’s the name I was trying to remember! About 5 years ago, my mum, brother and I went to attend my dad’s 1st cousin’s funeral in Ryde NSW. The sister’s husband (somewhat 80 or so) was constantly telling me about Bonegilla and his time spent there.
I must look up about it. I couldn’t remember the name and now you mentioned it, Sherri, I can. It might give me an idea about this place why he kept talking about it.
 

sherri

New member
It's a really interesting place to visit, Lols. And it was free to explore when we stopped there. It has a talking wall, where migrants recorded their stories. My only disappointment was it concentrated heavily on the migrant experience but very little info about the war years. There was some. There are still some of the huts standing though the military hospital where my grandfather died etc is long gone.
The guide there was telling us that something like 1:5 people in Australia have migrant ancestors who passed through there.
 

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SethBullock

Moderator
Staff member
I'm reading "Kill or Capture" by Matthew Alexander, the same author who wrote "How to Break a Terrorist." More stories of his interrogations of Al Qaeda terrorists during his time in Iraq. Fast paced, never a dull moment in this book.
 

johnsmith

Moderator
Staff member
It's a really interesting place to visit, Lols. And it was free to explore when we stopped there. It has a talking wall, where migrants recorded their stories. My only disappointment was it concentrated heavily on the migrant experience but very little info about the war years. There was some. There are still some of the huts standing though the military hospital where my grandfather died etc is long gone.
The guide there was telling us that something like 1:5 people in Australia have migrant ancestors who passed through there.
those beds certainly look uncomfortable
 

Lols

Active member
Sherri, was that the mysterious grandfather you never knew about which you found out about via ancestry?
 

sherri

New member
Sherri, was that the mysterious grandfather you never knew about which you found out about via ancestry?
We knew about him alright. He was my mother's father and her parents were married & brought her up, so she was able to tell me all about him or as much as she remembered from before he went off to war.
What we didn't know was anything about his own nuclear family as he had supposedly arrived in Australia from Canada in the 1920s. When the internet came along & I tried to look up records, it was as if he did not exist, not here, not Canada, not UK.
DNA matches finally solved it. Turned out he lied about where he came from and had changed his name. No wonder it took decades to find out about his pre-Australian history!
 

sherri

New member
those beds certainly look uncomfortable
Comfort isn't the first word that comes to mind when you think of conditions in the 1940s, that's for sure.
The guide there was telling us that in the migrant era (late 1940s onwards) the migrants had to walk quite a way from their units/rooms etc to the toilets, which were housed in a block outside.
He seemed quite shocked and outraged by that but I told him it wasn't a rare thing & it wasn't a case of the government mistreating migrants, just about everyone in Australia had an outdoor loo in those days and they usually were located right at the back of the house block, probably because of the smell. They were not sewered.
Even in suburbia, I remember when I was a kid in Springvale in the 1960s, we had an outside toilet. I don't think the area was sewered till about 1968.

The times certainly have changed.
 

Lols

Active member
Fascinating how that happens, even today with people that go “missing” only to find out later that some of those gone missing, just couldn’t cope with their situation? and walk out to a new identity and life.
Sad for those left behind that were concerned or cared etc
 

Lols

Active member
Re outdoor loos, we lived in Northcote in the late 1950s and the toilet was across the back yard, all the way in a corner between the work shed and a neighbours fence.
Dim and dank it was.
The back part of the toilet faced the alleyway so the toilet can man could take it away and put a empty can there,
Then it became flushable sometime in the early 60s with a pull chain!
And then, came an indoor toilet built into the large bathroom we had.
The house was Victorian style with large rooms and high ceilings
I remember how that long wide hallway spooked me.
In the middle of the hallway was thick velvet curtains, and as a 7 yr old I would watch and hesitate before bolting past it to go to the living areas 😆
I became a real sprinter with them skinny liddle legs of mine!
Suspicion and fear did that 😂
 

Aussie

Administrator
Staff member
Re outdoor loos, we lived in Northcote in the late 1950s and the toilet was across the back yard, all the way in a corner between the work shed and a neighbours fence.
Dim and dank it was.
The back part of the toilet faced the alleyway so the toilet can man could take it away and put a empty can there,
Then it became flushable sometime in the early 60s with a pull chain!
And then, came an indoor toilet built into the large bathroom we had.
The house was Victorian style with large rooms and high ceilings
I remember how that long wide hallway spooked me.
In the middle of the hallway was thick velvet curtains, and as a 7 yr old I would watch and hesitate before bolting past it to go to the living areas 😆
I became a real sprinter with them skinny liddle legs of mine!
Suspicion and fear did that 😂
Until 1965, my Family lived with an outside dunny....first the long drop, and then the sewered job. Clarification. When I was very young, it was the long drop. Maybe, mid 50s, sewered, but still outside. If you wanted a slash in mid Winter....out you went to the outside dunny.
 

sherri

New member
Yes it can be sad. I don't know if my grandfather's mother would have been that concerned as she had placed him in a boy's home when he was 12, a little while after her 3rd marriage. Am guessing step dad didn't particularly get along with him because all the other kids were kept. His own father had died about 10 years previously.
Biggest shock for me was finding he was one of about 10 siblings. I'm thinking poverty could also be why he was placed in a home.

But sometimes I think the people from the past, some of our distant ancestors would be surprised if they knew just how much of their lives would be exposed on the internet over a century later.
The scandals and lies i have come across! Illegitimate children, couples not married :)oops:) convict pasts. Better than the soapies sometimes!
 

Lols

Active member
That’s why I find it fascinating to watch “who do you think you are” and shows such hardship, poverty, illnesses and young deaths.
The other night was about Boy George and he traced a grandfather or great grandfather who was hung age 27 for treason as he was in the IRA.
He went to visit the gallows where young men were hung. He visited where his grandmother lived in poverty in Ireland.
The rooms were kept like museum to show people of the cramped poor dank living conditions.
Just so much he didn’t know and really exposes such brutal living conditions with hardships.
One thing I notice with all the famous people they do this show on, how it really makes one realise how much better off living conditions are today when you compare it to back then.
It’s very humbling to watch that show.
 
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