What's new at Bonegilla?

10 October, 2010

The Bonegilla Migrant camp today
The Bonegilla Migrant camp today
Image: Philip Thiel
Source: Museum Victoria

Question: What has been happening at Block 19, Bonegilla?

Answer: Between 1947 and 1971, more than 300,000 migrants from over 50 countries called Bonegilla their first Australian home. Some stayed only a few days, and others months; some relished the experience, and others questioned their decision to come to Australia. These memories have been commemorated with the heritage listing of Bonegilla’s Block 19, its Tribute Wall and visitor centre.  September 2010 saw the re-launch of the site after extensive works completed by the City of Wodonga, Parklands Albury Wodonga and Albury City to preserve, promote and support the Bonegilla Migrant Experience.  It is a place that for many has an important role in their beginning in Australia, and for others, it is a place that has contributed greatly to the culturally diverse Australia we see today. Visitors welcome!

Comments (9)

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Pieter van der Plank 15 June, 2015 22:43
I was at Bonegilla or I should say my family was in 1952 have very little memory of the place as I was only 5 years old. I have found records that we arrived in Melbourne on the 7th Oct 1952. I have not been able to find any other records. Mum told us that Dad left and hitched to WA and that I had the Mumps and spent time in hospital, unable to find out any more. If you could point me in the right direction
Karin Leivesley 8 November, 2014 13:36
I was an immigrant at Bonegilla in 1957. I'm trying to find out what block my family was accommodated in, and whether it was Block 19. How can I find out?
discoverycentre 9 November, 2014 10:52

Hi Karin,

Most if not all records relating to Bonegilla and the people who stayed at the centre are housed with the National Archives of Australia.  To see if they may have your families details, I would suggest making contact with them directly.

Harry Gibcus 9 June, 2014 14:50
Hi! My name is actually Harmannus Joseph Gibcus but anglicised to Harry and I came to Bonegilla 8th October 1952 with my family. My father's name was Hendikus Gibcus and my mother Margaretha Gibcus, nee Steenhuis. I wish there was a map or any other documents that confirms our stay in Bonegilla.I was 8 years old and can remember certain aspects of being in Bonegilla, such as the tin roof and walls of our living quarters, the dining room, the Catholic church but cannot remember going to school. Dad left after a week there, my sister, Mary,16 2weeks there and then mum and us 4 boys left after 3 weeks and travelled to Ballarat by train. There is a photo of mum and us 4 boys in a book called "The meeting of the Waters" I think that was the title. It's a photo of us sitting on the step of the barracks with and other lady who's name we cannot recall. When there was a display of Bonegilla at the Melbourne Treasurers Building some years ago the photo was enlarged as a huge banner hanging from the ceiling of the building. Would love to get that! Hope I may hear from someone soon, Harry Gibcus.
Joe Dillon 7 February, 2012 17:44
I am trying to trace our families time spent at Bonegilla dad was James Beattie Dillon, mum was Catherine Leese Dillon and siblings were James,catherine Thomas and myself Joseph .We departed Southampton on 3rd July 1952 and arrived Melbourne 1952 on board ship New Australia . Thats as far as I can track down Ihave tried Bonegilla Library but they have no records of our family at Bonegilla Any asistance would be appreciated Thanks Joe Dillon
Immigration Discovery Centre 8 February, 2012 12:50
Hello Joe, I suggest you contact The Making Australia Home Project run by the National Archives of Australia to obtain information on your families immigration history. The National Archives holds cards for all of the migrants who stayed at the Bonegilla reception and training centre. The Bonegilla cards usually include a physical description of the person, as well as a photograph. You can see a sample of a record from the Bonegilla migrant reception and accommodation center in their postwar migration records showcase.
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Discovery Centre 5 November, 2010 11:43
Hi Garry, the National Archives of Australia hold all immigration records. To obtain further information on searching and ordering records from the NAA see the information about the archives on our infosheet on family history research and passenger lists.
Garry F Fruhwald 2 November, 2010 17:38
Will have another look-disapointing last time there.How do I get hold of passenger list of ship Anna Salen 1952-54?
Peta 24 November, 2014 18:56
I am searching for that exact same info Gary . 1952 lists . How did you go ? It aint easy . and i dont know why :(