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Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The plaque commemorates the arrival of H.M.T. Dunera at Pyrmont, Sydney in 1940 which was carrying 1984 refugees who were fleeing Nazi oppression. The refugees were interned in camps after their arrival in Australia. 

On 10 July 1940, 2542 detainees were embarked aboard the Hired Military Transport (HMT) Dunera at Liverpool bound for Australia. Among the group were 450 German and Italian prisoners of war and a few dozen fascist sympathisers, but the vast majority of the deportees were anti-fascist and two-thirds were Jewish. Also included were some of the survivors from the Arandora Star.

The maltreatment of prisoners by sections of the British escort troops earned the Dunera the label 'hellship.' On arrival in Melbourne in September 1940, 500 deportees were disembarked and transferred to the Tatura internment camp while the remaining men and youths went on to Sydney and were transferred to the Hay camps and, subsequently, to Tatura.

Intense criticism of the deportation and incarceration of unfortunate persons, most of them totally opposed to the Nazi regime, was voiced both in Britain and Australia, and resulted in the British Government expressing regret for the incident as early as October 1940. Major Julian Layton of the Home Office was sent to Australia to assist with the repatriation process. Charges were laid against a number of the Dunera guards, and compensation payments were allocated to the deportees.  The British government eventually agreed to pay £35,000 in compensation to the group. Three of the guards, including officer-in-charge Lieutenant-Colonel William Scott, were court martialled.

Bureaucratic delays and inefficiency notwithstanding, the internees were all released in due course. Some 900 elected to remain in Australia, and a substantial number of them served with Australia's defence forces, notably in the 8th Employment Company.



Address:2 Murray Street, Australian National Maritime Museum , Darling Harbour, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.869478
Long: 151.198895
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Landscape
Actual Event Start Date:06-September-1940
Actual Event End Date:06-September-1940


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1992
Front Inscription

HMT Dunera 

This plaque commemorates the arrival of HMT Dunera at Pyrmont, Sydney on 6 September 1940. On board were 1,984 refugees who after fleeing Nazi oppression were unjustly interned in England and transported to Australia. 

Upon their release in 1942 many joined the Australian Military Forces. They and their descendants have made Australia home and contributed greatly to its postwar development. 

The Dunera Association 1992. 

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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