Life in Bonegilla, 1947-1971

image003The Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre was the first and largest of 23 such centres in Australia. Originally an army camp, it was converted to accommodate and educate migrants and help them to find work. Between 1947 and 1971 many of the 350,000 Italian migrants (42,000 of them under the Assisted Passage Scheme) and several thousand refugees from the areas annexed by Yugoslavia after 1945 passed through Bonegilla. This exhibition of photographs, Braving Bonegilla, 4-14 June 2015 at the Museo Italiano, Carlton, documents the daily life of Italians in the camp: families striving to make their huts home under Spartan conditions, men studying English, groups of friends playing music and enjoying outings, as well as photographs taken during the so-called Bonegilla riots in 1952, and pictures of a wedding and a funeral. The opening event on 3 June at 6.30pm (RSVP here or call (03) 9349 9021) will include men and women who lived through Bonegilla.

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