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Bruno Bianchi, Italian Migrant & Prisoner of War, 1940
Source: Museum Victoria
Bruno Bianchi was born on 28 October 1915 in Asola, near Mantova in Lombardy, Italy. However, his family resettled in Genova 2 years later. Bruno worked as a printer on the Italian passenger ship Remo. In 1939, on a voyage bound for Australia he met a 19 year-old girl, Savina. After Savina disembarked in Melbourne, they began corresponding.
When Italy declared war against the Allies on 10 June 1940, the Remo was moored at Fremantle. The same day the entire crew was arrested and interned. Bruno was sent to an internment camp at Rottnest Island, Western Australia and later transported to Loveday, South Australia, then to Murchison in Victoria. In Murchison he volunteered to work as a farm labourer with an Australian family, he was assigned to the Machin family in Fish Creek, who he stayed with for two years. At the end of the war he was supposed to be repatriated.
Savina was initially supposed to stay in Australia only for a year, although as her friendship with Bruno developed into a more romantic relationship, she remained in Australia and the couple continued to see each other throughout Bruno's internment. During this time Savina worked in the St Kilda Grill Rooms, at 274 Victoria Street, North Melbourne, a business opened by Toni Gobbo upon his return to Melbourne in 1938. Toni's wife, Regina was Savina's sister.
At the end of the war, all the Italian POWs interned in Australia were to be repatriated to Italy. However Bruno wanted to marry Savina and settle in Australia, so he ran away before he could be repatriated. Luckily the Gobbo family were friends with Arthur Calwell, then Minister for Immigration in the Federal Labour Government, with his assistance Bruno was able to remain in Australia. In 1946 he and Savina were married.
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Coat hanger was made by Bruno Bianchi during internment at Rottnest Island, Western Australia in 1940. Bruno was born on 28 October 1915 in Asola, near Mantova in Lombardy, Italy. He wa ...Images: 2