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“Very informative, interesting part of Australia's history”

Bonegilla Migrant Experience
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Bonegilla
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre was once made up of 24 blocks. It had its own churches, banks, sporting fields, cinema, hospital, police station and railway platform. Today, 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. The Bonegilla story began in the years following World War II, when millions of people seeking a new start and peace, departed for Australia. An army camp at Bonegilla was transformed into a migrant reception and training centre where new arrivals lived while they were processed and allocated jobs. 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. Today, Block 19 is a public memory place. The site and its associated oral, written and pictorial records in the Bonegilla Collection at the Albury Library/Museum bring to light post-war immigration policies and procedures that changed the composition and size of the Australian population.
Reviewed June 30, 2013

Having a family connection with Bonegilla, it was very interesting to visit and see where the roots of my partners family began. Jenny at the info centre, was really helpful. It was very quiet, so we almost had the whole place to ourselves. The exhibits were interesting and informative and it was quite moving to see how the new migrants lived and that this was the beginning of the life of our family here in Australia.
The only downside was the talking wall part of the experience. A wall made up of stories spoken by migrants, but they were all coming out of the one wall at the same time and made it incredibly difficult to hear and understand. Other than that, we really enjoyed the Migrant Experience at Bonegilla.

1  Thank galleygirl74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"post war"
in 6 reviews
"australian history"
in 10 reviews
"guided tour"
in 7 reviews
"national archives"
in 3 reviews
"family connection"
in 3 reviews
"modern australia"
in 3 reviews
"world war ii"
in 3 reviews
"run by volunteers"
in 3 reviews
"camp experience"
in 2 reviews
"down memory lane"
in 2 reviews
"info centre"
in 2 reviews
"mess hall"
in 3 reviews
"interactive displays"
in 2 reviews
"free entry"
in 2 reviews
"walk around"
in 2 reviews
"lake hume"
in 2 reviews
"wife's parents"
in 3 reviews
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69 - 73 of 79 reviews

Reviewed May 29, 2013

Husband and I spent hours looking at the displays, there really is a lot to look at if you are interested in the migrant experience. The lady on duty at reception was a mine of information having been there as a child. If you or any of your relatives passed through this establishment I recommend a visit......made me appreciate what my father went through in his early days in Australia.

1  Thank Lidia K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We have visited Block 19 on a quiet Sunday afternoon on our way from Lake Hume. There was only a handful of people walking around but it was obvious that some of them were more familiar with the place than the rest of us. When I looked into the visitor book later I saw an entry from one of the older Dutch couple that read "We lived here 50 years ago." This was a very moving experience that could bring you back to the middle of last century with many places kept close to the original condition and showing the days of early organised immigration to Australia.

1  Thank icecreamguru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

well maintained buildings depicting the hardships of post world war 2 migrants. Many photos of significance of part of our history

1  Thank Gemlister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 5, 2013

We visited this place not expecting a lot and in a way that is what we got as much of what was once a large migration centre has been laid to ruin. There is an information centre where the girl manning the fort got us started. She was very nice even getting us a glass of water to go with the dvd she put on for us to watch. There are several halls, a kitchen and accommodation huts left of this once massive migration centre which have been restored brilliantly. We wandered around and took our time and I don't think it cost us anything to do so but there may be guided tours available too at a cost if that is more your thing. The information that is posted up around the place is excellent although at times a little repetitve. My favourite hall was cram packed full of articles and other information which I found very pleasurable to read, I could almost feel what life would have been like for these people living here back in the day.

I found the whole experience very eye opening and sadly had never heard about the place until I went searching for things to do around Albury-Woodonga. You only need a few hours there but I think it is something that everyone should check out. It certainly made me and my wife question our heritage and surprisingly both of us know little about our European heritage. Sadly even my grandparents know little about their European heritage and this is something I was compelled to ask them about after my visit. My grandma came here as a girl on a boat and was told to be Australian and all her heritage was lost, much like many of the people that came here from across the seas to live in Bonegilla. It has only been in recent years that she even found out where from Poland her mother and father were from.

Whilst the actual content at this attraction is probably only good to very good the feelings it invoked in me and the fact that it made me appreciate what being an Australian really is all about makes this an excellent attraction. Definitely put it on the list of things to do when you are next visiting or passing through.

2  Thank Togmo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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