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Bonegilla Migration Collection
'In the middle of sunny fields and on the banks of Australia's greatest river, the Murray, lies Bonegilla, the reception camp established by the Australian Government for European citizens. The new arrivals spend their first weeks in their new homeland here in order to become acquainted with its customs and mores and thereby ease their passage into the Australian way of life.' (Advertisement to encourage Displaced Persons to come to Australia).
Between 1947 and 1971 the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre was the first home in Australia for up to 320 000 migrants from more than 30 nations. It was the first, the largest and the longest operating migration reception centre in Australia'. It is of national significance as a place associated with and demonstrating a defining change in Australia's immigration policy following the war.
Most of the migrants and refugees who passed through Bonegilla were drawn from non-English speaking European countries. This shift from prioritising Anglo-Celtic sources would transform political and social expectations and ultimately the cultural diversity of Australia. Bonegilla received Australia's highest heritage honour on 7 December 2007 when it was included in the National Heritage List.
For over 25 years AlburyCity has been collecting objects owned by former residents of the migrant reception centre; things that people brought from their homeland that gave them comfort, photographs, domestic appliances, children's toys, books and clothing. AlburyCity also actively collects written memories from those who passed through Bonegilla. These memory pieces, photographs, documents, objects and other memorabilia, now housed in the Albury LibraryMuseum's Bonegilla Collection, provide evidence of and insights into post-World War II migration and refugee experiences. The collection illuminates immigration policies and procedures that changed the composition and size of the Australian population, and thus transformed the nation economically, socially and culturally.
- Significance assessment of the Bonegilla Migration Collection by Dr. Bruce Pennay
- The Bonegilla Story tells the story of the largest and the longest-operating migration reception centre in Australia.
- See more of the collection on Flickr
- Bonegilla Collection fact sheet
- Contribute your story via the Bonegilla Personal History Register