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Ernesto (Ernie) Baratto (1902–1974)

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This entry is from People Australia

Ernesto (Ernie) Baratto (1902 -1974) canecutter, communist 

Birth: 5 August 1902 in Paese, Treviso, Italy. Son of Antonio Baratto. Marriage: New Zealand, Giussepina. They had two daughters. Death: 24 November 1974 at Huntly, Waikato, New Zealand. 

  • Arrived in Fremantle from Genoa, Italy, on 17 May 1925.
  • Naturalised in Australia on 12 May 1933.
  • Cane-cutter at beginning of Weil’s Disease strike in 1935.  Joined the CPA [Communist Party of Australia] while working on Mourilyan strike committee. Received a political education at Marx classes conducted by Mourilyan Branch CPA.
  • In 1936, saved fare to fight fascism in Spain. Served with Dimitrov, Lincoln, British, Passionaria and Stakanov battalions of International Brigade, as sergeant, captain and political commissar. Family in Italy were told he had been shot as prisoner of war; asked to collect dirty clothing supposedly belonging to him.  
  • April 1939, returned to Australia as hero of Italian anti-fascists in North Queensland.  May Day 1939 addressed workers in Ingham to cries of 'Viva Baratto’; began tour of other centres including Innisfail, Babinda, Mareeba, Tully and Townsville attracting large audiences.
  • By 1940 he had moved to New Zealand.

Diane Menghetti, The Red North: The Popular Front in North Queensland, James Cook University History Department, 1981; Gianfanco Cresciani, Fascism, Anti-Fascism and Italians in Australia 1922-1945, ANU Press, Canberra, 1980.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Baratto, Ernesto (Ernie) (1902–1974)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


5 August, 1902
Paese, Treviso, Italy


24 November, 1974 (aged 72)
Huntly, New Zealand

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