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A child's view of Bonegilla Migrant Camp

21 Dec, 2021

A christening gown and bonnet from the 1950s were among the luggage that Mynie Brown's mother packed when her family emigrated from The Netherlands to Australia in 1952.

Both items, still in pristine condition, are among the items on display in Bonegilla Migrant Experience's latest exhibition - As a Child.

The exhibition opened this week and features items that children and families brought with them for their journey to Australia.

These items from the Bonegilla Collection, on loan from the Albury LibraryMuseum, will be on display in the Tudor Hall until April 24, 2022.

The christening gown was once worn by Mynie and her sister and brother.

  Picture: Mynie, 6 years old, wearing the christening gown.

Many years later it was worn by Mynie's two daughters.

"My sister had four children and I know that at least her first three wore it," Mynie said.

"The last child to wear the christening gown was my step-grand daughter and that was about 6 years ago.

"There were a few other children in between there, but not many more."

Mynie was three years old when her and her family lived at Bonegilla.

"I was 3 years old when we came to Australia, yet my mother still brought this dress with her," she said.

"It was never a secret that I was “an accident” (my sister was 9 and my brother 6 when I was born) so I don’t think she planned having any more children in Australia (and she didn’t).

"This gown must have been special to her and it has been special to me too."

Other items on display in the exhibition include pop-up books, dolls and doll furniture or other precious items mothers may have packed.

Visitors can find the items behind the doors of the Discover Cupboards and take in the displays and activities.

There will be a station set up for children to draw and pack a small suitcase of what they might take for a move to another country.

Bonegilla Migrant Experience is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Admission to the site - adults $5, adult concession $4, children under 16 free.