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Francesco Guiseppi (Frank) Carmagnola (1900–1986)

by Peter Sheldon

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Frank Carmagnola, n.d.

Frank Carmagnola, n.d.

Francesco Guiseppi (Frank) Carmagnola, also known as Frank Carmignola (1900-1986)    canecutter, anti-fascist organiser, editor and publicist and orchardist.

Birth: 25 May 1900 at San Vito di Leguzzano, Vicenza, Northern Italy, son of Lino Carmagnola, building worker, and Emilia, née Basso (1877-1974). Unmarrried. Death: 27 February 1986 at Lugarno, New South Wales. Religion: Atheist, buried with anarchist rites. 

  • Grew up in a poor peasant family in San Vito di Leguzzano. Active anarchist militant while doing military service in Bologna, Italy, in 1918-21. Escaping Fascist reprisals, he migrated to Australia from Genoa, arriving aboard the San Rossore on 13 April 1922 and headed for Ingham, Queensland. His mother, sister and two brothers followed him to Australia.
  • Canecutter in North Queensland intermittently during 1920s and 1930s where he joined strong antifascist presence, notably anarchists, in propaganda and confronting Italian government representatives and Fascists.
  • Founded Lega Antifascista (Anti-Fascist League) in Sydney in 1926 mobilising antifascist Italians around NSW. League published leaflets and 'II Risveglio' (The Reawakening) 1927, soon banned by the Commonwealth Government.
  • Secretary of new, highly successful antifascist Matteotti Club in Melbourne in 1927 with Tommaso Saviane, president. He developed close links with the Australian labour movement, building coordinated antifascist sentiment and activities despite police and fascist harassment. Published 'la Riscossa' (The Counterattack) frequently in 1929-31 and less frequently from North Queensland until banning in 1932.
  • Made several applications for naturalisation which was eventually granted on 13 March 1930.
  • Returned to North Queensland in 1931 and was again active among antifascists there. Led crucially successful 'Weils Disease' strike among canecutters at Ingham in 1934.
  • Active antifascist in Melbourne in late 1930s, especially propagandising Italian ships.
  • Opened pie shop in Sydney in 1939.
  • Supported antifascists interned during WWII and largely retired from politics after the war to farm with his brothers at Camden, where he lived with his companion Maria.
  • Cause of death: pneumonia, metastatic carcinoma, carcinoma of colon, ischaemic heart disease and arteriosclerosis.

G. Cresciani, 'Fascism, anti-Fascism and Italians in Australia 1922-1945, (Canberra, 1980); D. Menghetti, 'The Weil's Disease Strike 1935' in D. J. Murphy (ed.) The Big Strikes: Queensland 1889-1965 (St Lucia 1983); interviews with Frank Carmagnola 1985-86 and Clotilde Saviane; Australian Quarterly Vol. 51 No. 1, March 1979; Diane Menghetti, The red North: the popular front in North Queensland, (James Cook University, Townsville, 1981) pp. 84-86.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Peter Sheldon, 'Carmagnola, Francesco Guiseppi (Frank) (1900–1986)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Frank Carmagnola, n.d.

Frank Carmagnola, n.d.

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Carmignola, Francesco Guiseppi

25 May, 1900
San Vito di Leguzzano, Vicenza, Italy


27 February, 1986 (aged 85)
Lugarno, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (bowel)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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