Wodonga Council

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Remembering Bonegilla

23 Nov, 2021

December 17 marks 50 years since the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre stopped operating as a place where new arrivals lived while they were processed and allocated jobs.

Over the coming weeks, we will share a series of news stories, interesting facts, photos, and Facebook posts to acknowledge the anniversary.

It is a well-known fact that one in 20 Australians have links to Bonegilla.

Some of our BME Facebook followers have shared their family stories with us and we continue to encourage this and hope to hear many more.

Did you know that Bonegilla became the largest and longest operating reception centre in the post-war era?

More than 300,000 migrants passed through its doors between 1947 and 1971, with most of those originating from non-English speaking European countries.

They had diverse arrival and settlement experiences.

Many migrants recall arriving lonely and confused, unsure of where they were going and what they would be doing.

Others saw Bonegilla as a place of hope, symbolic of a new start.

The site was once made up of 24 blocks.

It had churches, banks, sporting fields, a cinema, hospital, police station and railway platform.

Now Block 19 is all that remains of the original site.

Bonegilla Migrant Experience brings to life the stories and experiences of the people who travelled through the centre.

You can visit BME between 10am to 4pm over the weekend and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Come and explore Block 19, Tudor Hall, The Beginning Place and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Capacity limits still apply, and visitors are urged to call (02) 6020 6912 and book a time to visit.