Domenico Alessandro Molino, born in 1913 in Vietri sul Mare, Salerno, was a tailor before he joined the Italian armed forces. He served in North Africa during the Second World War and was captured in Asmara in what is now Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. He spent most of the war in British captivity in India, but when labour needs in Australia were growing, he was transferred to the Murchison POW camp in rural Victoria in February 1944. From there he was sent to South Australia and employed as a POW labourer, based in Willunga and Sandy Creek.
International law required POWs to be repatriated after war, so in February 1946 Molino was sent to Loveday – no longer a civilian internment camp but a transit camp for Italian POWs – in advance of his required repatriation to Italy. In November he left Australia, bound for his hometown, where he fell in love with Maria Lombardi.
On 1 December 1948 he arrived back to South Australia, sponsored by Mr and Mrs Collins to work on their dairy farm at Hindmarsh Valley. He called for Maria to come out from Italy to settle with him shortly after. Later they married and had two children – Eva and Eddie – who were schooled in Victor Harbor.
Mr and Mrs Collins were surrogate grandparents for Eva and Eddie and were a part of the family until their deaths. As he was a tailor by trade, Domenico (Mimi) continued mending and tailoring for family and friends until his later years. In 1963, after many happy years on the farm, the family moved to Forestville, and Domenico found work with Unley Council until he retired. He died at Daw Park on 17 August 1997 aged 83 and after a long battle with lung cancer. He had a full life in South Australia with four grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and many relatives and friends who later emigrated to Adelaide too.
Text by Patti Sbrissa
NAA: MP1103/1 PWI58671 Prisoner of War/Internee: Molino, Domenico; Date of birth - 24 November 1913; Nationality – Italian
NAA: MP1103/2 PWI58671 Prisoner of War/Internee; Molino, Domenico; Year of birth - 1913; Nationality – Italian
Patti Sbrissa, family history.