Anniversary of attack
TUESDAY marked the 70th anniversary of the day a bomb dropped on Miallo - the only time a person was injured by an enemy air attack on Australia’s east coast during World War II.
Carmel Emmi (nee Zullo) was just two-and-a-half years old and asleep in her bed at 3.30am on July 31, 1942, when a Japanese long-range flying boat jettisoned eight bombs.
A piece of shrapnel sliced through the toddler’s scalp and she was just millimetres from being fatally injured but spent three months in hospital recovering and has a permanent reminder of her ordeal.
The bomb landed in Bamboo, 16km north of Mossman, and left a crater seven metres wide by one metre deep.
Mrs Emmi now lives in Brisbane and did not want to relive the event this week but Mossman’s Rosie Gusmeroli (nee Sciaccia), who was nine years old at the time and lived nearby, still remembers being woken by the bomb.
“We didn’t know what it was, you heard the bang, then it stopped and dad said, ’That’s not an earthquake, that sounds more like a bomb went down’,” she said.
“In the morning when it got to daytime everybody went and had a look.
“It went right through the bedroom wall and the shrapnel knocked out the whole wall.”
Rosie, her siblings and parents were scared but thought it was farther away as they had already felt the effects of a bomb being dropped in the Daintree previously, shaking the house.
“We were kids and we were terrified, we had an air raid shelter and everything, we knew every time we heard planes to think bomb and we’d go in,” she said.
Mrs Gusmeroli said her dad later bought the property that had been bombed.
“We bought the house that was wrecked, it was quite good, it only had a big hole in the wall,” she said.
Mrs Emmi unveiled a plaque on a memorial stone on Bamboo Creek Road for the 50th anniversary and told the Sunday Mail at the time of her mother’s recollections of the day.
“My mother said it was a bright moonlit night and very cold, she said the blast woke her and she said I was covered in blood,” she said.
“She thought I had been killed and started screaming - I know I’m a unique part of Queensland history, but it’s something I could have done without.”
Piece of history: a plaque commemorating the site of the bombing in Miallo (inset) the commemorative plaque