Australian Internment Life Stories: Recapturing Salvatore Ragonesi between the Public Record and Family Memories

Dewhirst, Catherine ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5278-0075 and Kennedy, Claire and Ragonesi, Sam (2020) Australian Internment Life Stories: Recapturing Salvatore Ragonesi between the Public Record and Family Memories. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 66 (2). pp. 232-250. ISSN 0004-9522


Abstract

Since the Archives Act of 1983 Australia's Second World War internees have had access to their wartime files, yet little attention has focused on whether they and their families have consulted these records, or on their responses to them. From the early 2000s historians and archivists began discussing the need for combining private oral testimony with official records as part of a wider discourse on the importance of life stories for deepening knowledge about the past. This article explores the impact of a father's official internment records on his son, through the son's sharing of memories, lived experience and his reactions to official documents, in order to provide a more complete story of his father's internment and life than either the public record or the oral testimony alone can produce. We argue that Sam Ragonesi's oral testimony, especially concerning his encounter with Salvatore Ragonesi's official records, contributes to a greater shared understanding of experiences of war on the home front by integrating social, cultural and family dimensions hidden from Salvatore's public history. In this way intergenerational experiences help both to contest the collective image of internment and create a more complex picture of the War.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2020 04:12
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2021 00:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: World War II; internment; Italian migrants; Australia
Fields of Research (2008): 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ajph.12676
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39085

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