Hello my name is Joe Murakami and I currently live in Yokohama and I am an Australian born Japanese. My first language is actually English. I was born in Broome and my mother was born in Cossack in Western Australia. Some of my family live in Japan some live here in Australia. When I was interned I was 14 and for the next 5 years I would have lived and schooled in the camp, all because they thought my father was a spy.
Fifteen members of my family were interned, twelve of whom were born in Australia. At the time I was taken into internment I had been living in Darwin, having moved there from Broome six years ago. My eldest sister Kathleen was married to my father’s nephew Yoshio who was a pearl diver and they had a three year old child. My eldest brother Frank had been studying in Japan but when Australia joined Britain in the war against Germany in 1939, my father wrote to the Australian authorities to let his some return to Australia. Frank arrived in 1940. My mother Theresa was a devout Roman Catholic. My family was taken to Tatura Camp in Victoria and during that time my father, who was a photographer and entrepreneur, passed away in the camp hospital in 1944. On my mother’s and my release she contacted the Catholic Church was given work as a housemaid and I was given work as a kitchen hand with a token wage. Kathleen and her husband were released in 1947. They attempted to settle in Cossack but stones were thrown into their home, they were shot at on the beach and their children were beaten up at school. Eventually my family was reunited and settled in Darwin in 1957. I studied Japanese and moved to Japan in 1962 to work as a translator.
That was the story of how my family and I were interned during the Second World War.