The annual ceremony at the Ossario in Murchison was held on Sunday 1st of November this year.
Attendees arrived early with the Murchison Lions Club already set up to provide local flowers and offer coffee and tea for many who have travelled from Melbourne and further afield. The usual colourful military uniforms and banners were much in evidence. Many hundreds of relatives, friends and members of organisations who wish to pay their respects to the World War 2 Italian Internees and Prisoners of War, whose remains lie in the Ossario in Murchison Cemetery attended. The event starts with a parade along the pathway to the Ossario by those laying wreaths on the monument in the forecourt area of the grounds. Speeches, singing of hymns and national anthems, band recitals, and a superb solo trumpet rendition of El Silenzio were presented and a Catholic Mass was celebrated.
This year, after the official ceremony a new plaque which stands near the gates to the Cemetery, telling the story of the Ossario, was unveiled.
The information board originally in this spot for many years had deteriorated and the wording was difficult to read. The Murchison & District Historical Society, concerned about the poor condition of the sign met with the Italian Consul General, Mr. Marco Maria Cerbo and Mr. Francesco Pascalis the President of the Committee for Italians Abroad for Victoria and Tasmania, and in collaboration with the Murchison Cemetery Trust, worked together to arrange for a new one.
An Italian version of the wording was requested. Mia Spizzica who is conducting research about Italian internees in Australia for her PhD, arranged the translation to be provided by her supervising academic, Dr. Raffaele Lampugnani. Dr. Lampugnani, a busy man, who has many publications to his name and established the Department of Italian Studies at Monash University, gave his time to write the Italian version.
The handsome new sign, made by Bicknell Signs in Shepparton, explains the history of the Ossario and is a now of a suitable standard that reflects respect for the 129 men and 1 woman whose last resting place is the Ossario in Murchison Cemetery.
Kay Ball President Murchison & District Historical Society