Harvey, Western Australia (1940–42)
Also known as Camp No. 11, the Harvey camp was located east of the town of Harvey in Western Australia. It housed around 1000 men who lived 30 to a hut. The camp buildings included workshops, shower rooms, dining and recreation huts, detention cells and officers quarters. The camp was surrounded by a high barbed wire fence.
Most of the internees held at Harvey were Italian and had been living and working in Western Australia prior to the war. They were miners, farmers, fishermen, tradesmen, businessmen and professionals. The crew of the German raider Kormoran and that of an Italian liner Remo were also accommodated there. The men followed a daily regime of work, recreation, meals and rest. Although not forced to work, the men cleared the surrounding bush, established market gardens and those with skills such as carpentry and shoemaking were kept busy at their trades.
More information on the German raider Kormoran and its crew can be found on Fact Sheet 111 – The sinking of HMAS Sydney, November 1941 and Fact Sheet 180 – Wartime internee, alien and POW records held in Perth.
This garden at Harvey was laid out and built when the area was occupied as an internment camp
The camp was closed in 1942 after the discovery of hidden weapons and a finding by military authorities that camp administration was inadequate. The internees were transferred first to Parkeston near Kalgoorlie and then moved to Loveday in South Australia.
The National Archives holds records about the Harvey camp. A selection of these is listed below.
| ||Title or description of record||Date range||Series number|
|This Works and Services Branch file from 1940–41 discusses the tender and contract for building the Harvey camp hospital.||1940–41||K1141, M1940/41/77/1|
|The construction of the camp buildings at Harvey camp are the subject of this Works and Services Branch file, 1940–41.||1940–41||K1141, M1940/41/77|
|Documents about the supply of electricity, water and roads to the Harvey camp are found in this Australia Military Forces file, 1940–42.||1940–42|| K1214, 30/21/2|
|This Public Works Branch file is about the installation of hot water showers at Harvey, 1940–41.||1940–41||K1141, M1940/41/77/2|
|This Department of the Army file contains documents relating to the acquisition and lease of land for the Harvey camp, 1940–1948.||1940–1948||MP742/1, 259/102/462|
|Official reports from 1941 on the Harvey camp are found in this Department of the Army file.||1941||MP508/1, 255/717/18|
* These files have been digitised and are available online. Click on the reference number above to retrieve the item from the RecordSearch database. Then click on the 'View digital copy' icon to view the online file. It will appear in a new browser window.
'Aliens and others': World War ll internment project
The National Archives of Australia is a partner in an Australian Research Council project titled ‘Aliens and others: representing citizenship and internment in Australia during World War II', headed by Dr Ilma O'Brien of the Victoria University of Technology.
As part of the project, Dr O'Brien is interested in collecting personal memories of World War II internment in Australia. If you have personal or family memories, photographs or documents about internment you would like to share, further information about the project can be obtained from Dr O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.