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All In

Overview
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Harvesting pyrethrum, Loveday Internment Group. Max Ragless, November 1945.
[Oil on canvas, 61.4 x 76.8cm, AWMART23423]

documents
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Read extracts from Intelligence Reports and other correspondence.

Surveillance of Japanese acrobats, 15 December 1920.
[Item SA107 Series D1915 NAA]

Some of the officers from the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran interned in No 13 POW Group at Dhurringile near Murchison in Victoria 11 February 1943.
[AWM030185/05]


All in - 'aliens'
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Some of the original members of the
Adelaide branch of the Nationalist Socialist
Democratic Workers Party (NSDWP) with
their Swastika flag, Tanunda, South Australia.
Many members of the party (including some
of these men) were later interned as
enemy aliens. The photograph was
amongst papers confiscated from the
party at the outbreak of war in 1939.
[AWMP01738.003]

In November 1941, just weeks before Japan entered World War II, Japanese nationals were among the ‘Aliens’ travelling around Australia with Wirth’s Circus. In a letter to the Commissioner of Police in Sydney, Captain George Newman, Intelligence Section, Australian Military Forces – Eastern Command, requested that the registration files of all alien members of Wirth’s circus be forwarded ‘through the usual channels’ in order to ‘investigate the history, sympathies, etc of all Alien employees of Wirth’s Circus.’

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document
An alien travel permit belonging to Namba Kaichiro, a theatrical artist touring with Wirth’s Circus.
[Item J101 Series C320/Pl NAA]

The fate of Wirth’s ‘enemy alien’ employees is unknown but between 1940 and 1945, several thousand supposed enemy aliens were interned all around Australia. Japanese pearl fisherman from Broome together with Australians of Italian and German origin, many of whom had been born in Australia or had lived in Australia for years, were forced to leave their homes and their livelihoods.

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Italian POWs arrive
[AWM F00529]

Entire families were moved into internment camps around the country: Yanco, Hay and Cowra in New South Wales; Loveday and Nangwarry in South Australia; Gaythorne in Queensland; Dhurringile, Murchison and Tatura in Victoria; and Harvey and Northam in Western Australia. In many of the camps they were joined by prisoners of war captured in the Middle East or closer to home in the Pacific. Many Japanese civilians from the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia) were also interned in Australia.

'Aliens'
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In November 1941, the German crew members from the Kormoran who survived the action with HMAS Sydney were interned first in a section of Harvey Internment Camp in Western Australia before being transferred to Victoria some weeks later. The officers and their servants went to Durringhile camp and the non-commissioned officers to Murchison Camp in Victoria where they spent the remainder of the war.

portrait
Mr and Mrs Erasmo Riboni and their children
Eleonora, Feerica and Paolo, at No 3 Camp,
Tatura Internment Group, Victoria, 24 June 1943.
[AWM052597]

Many of the POWs and enemy alien internees were employed by local farmers and industries who came to depend on their labour. Their assistance was sorely missed at the end of hostilities when internees and POWs were either repatriated to their countries of origin or permitted to return to their Australian homes. Accounts of their experiences differ and a number of former ‘enemy aliens’ who were repatriated at the end of the war, later returned to live in Australia.

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POW repatriation
[AWM F07436]

 

 

 

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Little-known operations 1939-1945
Papua 1942-1943
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War at sea 1939-1945
Air war Europe 1939-1945
Bougainville, Borneo, New Britain, New Guinea 1944-1945
8 May 1945/15 August 1945
Australia at war 3 September 1939
Libya and the Siege of Tobruk 1941
Greece and Crete April-May 1941
Syria and Lebanon June 1941
Malaya December 1941 to Moresby May 1942
Australia under attack 1940-1945
Coral Sea, Kokoda, Milne Bay May-September 1942
El Alamein October-November 1942
The Home Front 1939-1945
The Coastwatchers 1941-1945
Australian prisoners of war 1940-1945
Little-known operations 1939-1945
Papua 1942-1943
The Japanese retreat March 1943-January 1944
War at sea 1939-1945
Air war Europe 1939-1945
Bougainville, Borneo, New Britain, New Guinea 1944-1945
8 May 1945/15 August 1945
Harvesting pyrethrum, Loveday Internment Group. Max Ragless, November 1945.
[Oil on canvas, 61.4 x 76.8cm, AWMART23423]
Authorities insisted on the registration of Japanese nationals travelling in Australia long before World War II. This memorandum written on 15 December 1920 advises that five Japanese acrobats travelling with Wirth's circus had not contacted Aliens Registration in Adelaiede despite having left Melbourne for Adelaide some two weeks earlier.
[Item SA107 Series D1915 NAA]
Some of the officers from the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran interned in No 13 POW Group at Dhurringile near Murchison in Victoria 11 February 1943.
Back row, left to right: Oberleutnant zur See Joachim Greter, Oberleutnant zur See Edmond Schafer, Oberleutnant Joachim von Gossein; Oberleutnant Wilhelm Brinkman.
Front row: Kapitanleutnant Henry Meyer; Kkapitanleutnant Kurt Foerster; Fregattenkapitan Theodor Detmers (Commanding Officer); Oberleutnant Heinz Messerschmidt.
[AWM030185/05]