No Regard for the Truth
Friendship and kindness. Tragedy and Injustice. Rowville’s Italian prisoners of war
Shortlisted – Victorian Community History Awards 2020
Community Diversity Award Commendation – Victorian Community History Awards 2020
March 1946. The war was over. Italian prisoners of war who had been captured several years earlier in northern Africa were interned in camps around Australia and waiting to be returned home. One Saturday evening, the commandant of the Rowville internment camp, Captain Waterston, shot and killed a prisoner, Rodolfo Bartoli, who he claims was attempting to escape. Rodolfo, a young prisoner from Florence, had met a local girl whom he was hoping to marry one day.
Only days before the shooting, a government inquiry into the alleged mistreatment of prisoners at the Rowville camp had been announced. Was it really an escape attempt? Was Captain Waterston justified in his actions? Using the original court transcripts, official documents and personal accounts, No Regard for the Truth follows the police investigation, Military Court of Inquiry, Coroner’s Inquest, Government Inquiry and the subsequent court-martial hearings. Disturbing revelations about the camp administration begin to emerge – drunkenness, prisoner assaults, theft of property, the reckless firing of weapons and a desire to brush away the facts.
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No Regard for the Truth – Darren Arnott
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About the author
‘Following up historic clues’ is the hobby of amateur historian Darren Arnott. Darren is a Melbourne based IT Security Consultant. Outside of work, he was a former editor for The Rowville-Lysterfield Community News. Intrigued by the history of Rowville’s Italian prisoner of war camp, Darren’s research has uncovered this incredible story.
My recent radio interview with Carlo Oreglia from SBS Radio about Rodolfo Bartoli and No Regard for the Truth English Version: https://www.sbs.com.au/language/english/no-regard-for-the-truth-mystery-surrounds-the-tragic-death-of-an-italian-pow-interned-in-australia-after-wwii Italian Version: https://www.sbs.com.au/language/italian/nessun-rispetto-per-la-verita-la-morte-di-un-prigioniero-di-guerra-italiano-al-centro-di-un-mistero-irrisolto
Provenance: The Journal of Public Record Office Victoria 2020 – ‘Rowville’s Italian prisoners of war ’
A short article about the Rowville Prisoner of war camp and the investigation into the shooting of Rodolfo Bartoli has been included in the Provenance Journal for 2020. https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/provenance-journal/provenance-2020/rowvilles-italian-prisoners-war
‘No Regard for the Truth’ has received a commendation in the Community Diversity Award Category as part of the Victorian Community History Awards 2020.
No Regard for the Truth is now available in store at Dymocks Camberwell and Dymocks Knox.
Thank you to Sophie Masson and Hazel Edwards for the review of ‘No Regard for the Truth’ in Sophie’s ‘Feathers of the Firebird’ blog.
Rowville Lysterfield Community News.