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Tribute WallPrint Page Print this page

The Tribute Wall commemorates the many migrants who passed through the Bonegilla migrant centre.  

Between 1947 and 1971, over 300,000 migrants from more than 50 countries stayed at Bonegilla.  They arrived by train to Bonegilla railway siding where they were met, in the early days, by army personnel who provided transport, security and catering services. Because the migrant centre was initially run by the army, the military character of the buildings and routines remained long after the army left in 1949.

The first migrants to arrive at the migrant centre were displaced persons who had lived in refugee camps in Europe. About half of the 170,000 displaced people coming to Australia between 1947 and 1951 lived at Bonegilla, many of them in Block 19. Most of them stayed for about a month while they learnt to speak English and the way of life here. Then they were moved to work in areas where there was a labour shortage.

From 1951 to 1971, Bonegilla started to receive assisted migrants rather than displaced people. They came from a variety of countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Austria, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. They came to Australia looking for secure employment and hoping for a better life.

During times of reduced employment in the country, some migrants at Bonegilla became dissatisfied with their prolonged wait for work. They felt they had been duped and had been kept too long in inadequate accommodation with nothing to do. This resulted in separate riots at the site in 1952 and 1961.

The migrant centre had a significant impact on the local area with the population of Albury Wodonga nearly doubling between 1947 and 1971, and the number of overseas-born in the immediate area increasing eight-fold. Many migrants have chosen to stay in the area.

In 1971, the Bonegilla Migrant Centre was closed and the site was given back to the army. Between 1978 and 1982, nearly the entire centre was demolished in a major army redevelopment. Block 19, the last surviving block, was given heritage listing in 2002 and is managed now by Parklands Albury-Wodonga.

 

Location

Address:Bonegilla Road, Bonegilla Migrant Experience, Block 19, Bonegilla, 3691
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.131628
Long: 147.013969
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Honour Roll
Monument Theme:Landscape
Sub-Theme:Settlement
Link:http://www.bonegilla.org.au/
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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