by Ann McLachlan
Children interacted with many of those who were at the Loveday Internment Camp be they prisoners of war, guards, locals and more.
Their memories were recorded in local newspapers and oral histories.
One of these children was Trevor Shiell who now lives in Alice Springs in Central Australia. Trevor contacted me after hearing me speak with Ian McNamara about the camp on the ABC’s Australia All Over program one Sunday morning. He recalled how his father was the head of the power station at the camp and he was friends with Colonel Dean. He said as a child he visited Loveday with his father and remembers having dinner with the colonel and talking with Japanese prisoners of war. They taught him a number of Japanese words.
The local newspaper “The Murray Pioneer” had a Young Folk’s Own Section, which featured children’s letters sent to a character known as Mopoke.
Loveday tour guide Max Scholz who delivered milk to the internment camp and eventually wrote a book about it in 2005 was a regular contributor. His observations about Loveday encouraged other children including Betty Bishop, Myra Nitschke and Lorna Cook to send in their observations. Peter Travers and his siblings were the Loveday school headmaster’s children and Bernadette Boyle was a daughter of one of the Loveday camp guards. They both gave an insightful look into life at the camp in letters they wrote to Felicity in the Five Stars Club section of the Southern Cross newspaper.
A Japanese internee weaving cane baskets at the Loveday Internment Camp.
Source: Berri Library
Dear Felicity – I am very sorry I have not written to you before. The Japanese at the internment camp left on Thursday, and two thousand Italians are coming up to wait for shipment back to Italy….
Southern Cross Friday 15 March 1946 page 11
… My father is a Lieutenant in the Army at the Loveday Camps. I have often been to the camp where there are some very pretty birds and flowers. Until recently were Japanese prisoners in the camp, but they went back to Japan. Italians are out there now…
Southern Cross Friday 19 April 1946 page 11
Ann is a librarian, researcher, and historian based in Dubbo in NSW.
She has a family connection to the Loveday Internment Camp, which she has been researching for over 20 years.