Italian Ossario at Murchison Cemetery included in Victorian Heritage Register

The Italian Ossario in Murchison will now be included as a Registered Place in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) after Heritage Victoria resolved to include it in October.

The VHR lists and provides legal protection for heritage places and objects that are significant to the history and development of Victoria. The inclusion of the Italian Ossario coincides with the commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II this year.

The Italian Ossario is considered to be of historic and aesthetic significance as the final resting place of 130 Italian prisoners of war (POWs) and detainees who died in Australia during World War II.

It is one of only four foreign war cemeteries located in Australia, two of which are located in Greater Shepparton – the other being the German War Cemetery at Tatura, which is also included in the VHR. The Italian Ossario is a poignant memorial and the only Australian war cemetery dedicated to Italian civilian internees and POWs.

Greater Shepparton City Council Director Sustainable Development, Geraldine Christou, said Council is delighted with the inclusion of the Italian Ossario into the VHR.

“Greater Shepparton has a diversity of places identified as local cultural and state heritage significance. The Italian Ossario forms a key part of Greater Shepparton’s rich wartime history and is the 10th place in our municipality to be included in the VHR. It is wonderful to see it formally recognised as being of state heritage significance.

“While the yearly Remembrance Sunday Mass will not be held this year as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, Council hopes the inclusion of the Italian Ossario into the VHR raises the profile of the site and that next year’s annual pilgrimage will once again see considerable social gatherings to pay respect to the internees at this significant piece of Australia’s World War II history.”

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