In February 1942 the Australian Federal Government ordered intensive enquiries into espionage activities in Australia. It was revealed that there were several secret fifth-column radio transmitters being used, mainly in Queensland, to transmit military information back to Japan.

At the start of the war many Italian sugar-cane cutters and shearers working in Queensland with pro-Axis sentiments were interned. However there were many others who were still free. It is believed that some of these Italians were responsible for assisting the Japanese with espionage activities.

In June 1942, the Toowoomba branch of the Returned Soldiers' State Congress called on the Australian Government to impound all short-wave radio sets in the possession of Aliens and to ban all publications and newspapers written in the language of our enemies. In addition they requested the impounding of all firearms in the possession of Aliens and the cancellation of any Fishing Boat Licences they may hold.

Campaigns were established to monitor the possibility of Japanese spies being dropped into the country by parachute and spies being landed by submarines.


Italians Interned in Australia during WW2



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This page first produced 16 April 2002

This page last updated 06 September 2018