Bonegilla Migrant Camp

Bonegilla Migrant Camp
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More than 300,000 migrants had their first taste of Australian life at the Bonegilla Migrant Camp in Victoria before moving out to transform Australia socially and culturally.

Established in 1947 to house postwar immigrants, the National Heritage-listed property was a spartan former army camp with the most basic facilities. Isolated and primitive, it was freezing in winter, hot in summer, had shared bathrooms and laundries, and pit latrines.

Riots erupted in 1952 after the suicide of three young residents triggered widespread dissatisfaction with the standard of living. Conditions improved soon afterwards and the camp continued operating until 1971. Today, Block 19 is all that remains of 28 blocks.

Did you know:

  • Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre originally covered over 130 hectares.
  • To end the 1952 riot the Australian Government sent in 200 soldiers as a show of strength.

Australia's Heritage: National Treasures with Chris Taylor is also available for purchase from the NFSA Online Shop.