POW CONTROL CENTERS
Control Centers were an Army establishment staffed by up to 12 personnel in country regions to administer "The employment of POWs without guards scheme". It was based on the system used in Vic and NSW whereby Italian POWs were hired out to farmers at a rate of one Pound per week to help run the farms due to the chronic labour shortages due to the Aust workforce enlisting into the armed services.
They were about 30 miles apart and were established on the boundaries of the PMG Postal districts in order to assist in administration as everything went by post or telegram in those days.
The Army utilised disused or vacant premises that were hired or rented mostly from the local authority or State Government, in many cases they were given rent free as a contribution to the war effort.
In most cases the scheme worked perfectly and was attributed to saving the rural industry in Western Australia during WW2 and providing an immense boost to the war time primary production.
There were of course problems such as escapes, personality conflicts between farmers and POWs, fraternization with female family members, malingering and abuse by the farmers as well.
In Western Australia up to 3,200 Italian POWs were employed on farms. No Germans were allowed out on to the farms as they were considered too dangerous and untrustworthy. All German POWs were kept at No 16 Camp Marrinup.
I'd like to thank Ernie Polis for his kind assistance with information for this and many other pages about POW and Internment camps in Western Australia.
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 19 January 2002
This page last updated 02 September 2018