"Before everything, remain Italian": Fascism and the Italian population of Queensland 1910-1945

Brown, David (2008). "Before everything, remain Italian": Fascism and the Italian population of Queensland 1910-1945 PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Brown, David
Thesis Title "Before everything, remain Italian": Fascism and the Italian population of Queensland 1910-1945
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2008
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status Other
Supervisor Geoff Ginn
Donald Dignan
Total pages 279
Total black and white pages 279
Language eng
Subjects 430000 History and Archaeology
Formatted abstract
This thesis is a study of the Italian Fascist party’s (PNF) impact on the Italian population of Queensland. The study looks at the overall development of the Queensland Italian population between the years 1910 and 1945, how this was affected by the Fascist party’s policies in encouraging support for its politics amongst Italians abroad from 1922 to 1940 and the differing ways in which Queensland Italians reacted to these Fascist party activities.

This is the first study dedicated to the impact of Fascism on the Queensland Italian population. Through its specific focus the thesis provides a substantial contribution to the history of Queensland’s Italian population as well as to the overall social history of the state. The Italians were the largest group of non-Anglo-Celtic migrants in Queensland before World War II. How their adaptation to life in Australia was shaped both by domestic as well as international political factors provides further understanding of migrant history in Australia.

The thesis also helps to expand the understanding of the Italian Fascist party, its policies in regards to Italians abroad and the impact this had on specific Italian settlements. By using previous studies on Fascism and Italian populations abroad this thesis clarifies how and why Italian communities across the world reacted differently to the policies of the Fascist party. This clarification is a result of comparing and contrasting Queensland Italians’ interactions with the PNF with those of Italian populations in other Australian states, the United States, South America and Britain.

This study draws on a wealth of primary sources including Australian and Italo-Australian newspapers from the period 1910 to1945, as well as numerous Australian and Queensland archival documents relating to Italian life in Queensland and the activities of the Italian Fascist party and Queensland Italian Fascist associations in the state. The thesis also uses Italian consular documents that provide essential information on the activities of Fascist Italy’s consular representatives in Queensland. The interpretation and conclusions made by this thesis through the study of the primary sources are shaped by secondary studies relating to Italian settlement in Australia, the history of the Fascist party in Italy and the activities and impact of the Fascist party’s policies on Italian populations in the United States, Britain and South America.

Drawing these several areas of research together, it can be seen that Fascism’s impact on the Queensland Italian population was substantial, although making a general conclusion on Queensland Italian support for Fascism is difficult as Italians associated with the PNF for a myriad of reasons. Some embraced Fascism as a patriotic force that defended Italian rights in Queensland, others supported Fascism as an anti-Communist political movement, while other Italians associated with the PNF because of the financial benefits it provided. For most Italians a conglomeration of these factors shaped their interaction with the PNF. What can also not be discounted is the fact that the PNF used intimidation and the threat of retribution to silence anti-Fascist political opposition in Queensland. While many Italians may not have been supporters of the PNF they were disinclined to actively support anti-Fascist groups and instead adhered to those aspects of Fascism that best suited their situation. This could simply mean avoiding politics and refusing to purchase newspapers or attend clubs classified by the PNF as anti-Fascist. Thus it was a complex and multifaceted interaction between the activities of the PNF in the state, the context of Italian life in Queensland and individual political belief held by Italians which contributed to the unique impact of Fascist politics in this part of Australia.

Overall, this thesis aims to contribute to a better understanding of Fascism, the relationship of Italians to the totalitarian regime of the PNF, the history of the Fasci All’estero and the nature of immigrant transnational politics. Importantly, through analysis of the impact of Fascism on the Queensland Italian population, this study is significant in adding to a more complex historical comprehension of Italian pre-1945 settlement in Queensland and the multifaceted political, economic and class distinctions that shaped the rich life of Italian communities in the state during this historical period.
Keyword Italian diaspora
Queensland history
Ethnic politics
Additional Notes The author has given permission for this thesis to be made open access.

Document type: Thesis
Collections: UQ Theses (RHD) - Official
UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
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Created: Wed, 13 May 2009, 04:07:50 EST by Mr David Brown on behalf of Library - Information Access Service