Monday, 4 August 2008

Bonegilla

Bonegilla is located 12km from Wodonga on the NSW Victoria border.

The original complex was built as the Bonegilla Army camp during the second world war. It became the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training centre in 1947 and until 1971 served as Australia’s largest and longest operating migrant centre. It was the first Australian home for more than 320 000 post war migrants from over 30 countries.

There were 24 separate accommodation blocks comprising of several long huts arranged around a central kitchen and dining area, with showers, a laundry and deep pit latrines.
The huts were corrugated iron, unlined and with ventilation gaps between the roof and walls.

Each person was allocated linen and grey woolen blankets as well as crockery and cutlery.

The centres facilities included a large hospital, three churches, movie theatre, library, primary school, canteen, butcher, barber, police station and three banks. The administration area provided a paymaster, social services, CES, customs, alien registration and information centre.

Women and children were housed separately from the men until huts were partitioned into cubicles for families.

It was here that many Lithuanians who came to Australia were placed upon arrival.

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