War, Internment and Australia’s Italians

10 November
03:00pm to 05:30pm

War, Internment and Australia’s Italians

You are warmly invited to a unique cultural event to celebrate nine authors whose first-hand testimonies are included in a recently published anthology of wartime narratives: Hidden Lives: War, Internment and Australia’s Italians, edited by Mia Spizzica.

Saturday 10 November 2018

Refreshments: 3PM

Event: 3.30-5.30PM

COASIT, 199 Faraday St, Carlton, VIC 3053


Doors will open at 3PM for guests with valid bookings only. At 3.20PM people waiting will be allowed in until room capacity is reached.

Guest Speaker: Dr Moya McFadzean, Senior Curator, Migration & Cultural Diversity, Museums Victoria

Guest Authors: Simone Alcorso (ACT); Mafalda Malavisi (Victoria); Rick Datodi (Victoria); Claudia Barker (Victoria); Nicole Musitano, John Musitano, Joe Musitano and Nola Musitano (Western Australia); and Josie Verbis (South Australia), with editor Dr Mia Spizzica JP

Performers: Pianist: Claudia Barker; Guitarist: Dr Salvatore Rossano; Soprano: Emma Wallace; Tenor: Josh McNiff

Filmmaker: Vincent Lamberti

Digital Media Designer: Joe Malignaggi


Dr Luigi Gussago, Monash University (http://wwwmonash.academia.edu/LuigiGussago) and Dr Mia Spizzica, Research Associate, Museums Victoria (http://independent.academia.edu/MiaSpizzica)

Guests will be immersed in the images and sounds familiar to Italians in Australia during the interwar decades and World War II. The afternoon will include first-hand accounts of the stories included in Hidden Lives: War, Internment and Australia’s Italians, Carindale, Queensland: Glass House Books, an imprint of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd), 2018.

This is the first occasion in which Italian former child internees and descendants of Italian internees gather to acknowledge their families’ wartime experiences and commemorate their survival and resilience to the present day. Their published testimonies are now included in the growing literature of the Italian diaspora in Australia.

Authors of Hidden Lives will discuss their experiences as internees held at Tatura Camp 3A and the experiences of family members incarcerated at Loveday or Cowra Internment Camps. Authors’ reflections on their own and their families’ internment and the aftermath of war will provide new insights into the heavy toll imposed on innocent civilians caught in the middle of international conflicts.

The event will feature:

  • Live testimonies by nine former internees and descendants of internees – the authors of Hidden Lives;
  • Live performances by accompanying pianist Claudia Barker (a former child internee herself) with her music students, soprano Emma Wallace and tenor Josh McNiff;
  • Samples of sweets made by internee families during the war;
  • Distinguished filmmaker Vincent Lamberti will film the event and interview authors for a documentary on Italian internment. Vincent’s work can be viewed at www.vincentlamberti.com
  • As a grand finale, Dr Salvatore Rossano (2018 fellow, National Library of Australia) will perform traditional Italian folk music, popular among Italian migrants and in the internment camps (www.salvatorerossano.com)
  • Digital Media Designer Joe Malignaggi is a broadcaster and music coordinator at 3CR 855AM, a community radio station in Fitzroy, where he co-presents Music Matters and Music Sans Frontiers.

Hidden Lives: War, Internment and Australia’s Italians will be available for purchase after the event at a special price. All authors present can sign your book.

Please note: The event will be filmed for a documentary. Guests who do not wish to be featured in the film please contact filmmaker Vincent Lamberti before the event: 0411 054 878 or vincentlamberti@gmail.com

Sponsors: Brunetti Cafe; Calabrò Olive Groves; Deli Now

Image: Family group of Italian internees from overseas interned at Tatura Internment Camp 3A. 13 February 1943. Back row, left to right: A. Datodi; G. Datodi; F. Datodi; A. Datodi; O. Datodi. Front row: M. Datodi; I. Balestrieri; M. Balestrieri; R. Datodi; C. Datodi. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.