Benalla Migrant Camp 1949-1967

About This Website

About This Website

Welcome. This website is one of several initiatives by Benalla Migrant Camp Inc. We are a volunteer community project which began to gather the photos and stories of resident families of the former Benalla Migrant Camp in October 2012. Our aim was to collect and tell the stories, before they were lost forever.

Many people are surprised to hear that there was a migrant camp in Benalla. With decades having passed since the camp closed, people who were children in the camp are now in their sixties and seventies. Most left Benalla when they left the camp. We felt that we were just in time to collect this history, which is such an important part of Benalla.

On Australia Day 2013 we opened an exhibition in Hut 11 (an original migrant camp accommodation hut) on the former migrant camp site – now the Benalla Airport precinct. The exhibition had 1,500 visitors in five open days, which was considered an amazing success for a town the size of Benalla. We felt we could not stop there, and just pack everything away.

Benalla Migrant Camp Inc. was formed in April 2013 in order to keep the exhibition open and to progress with the gathering of historical material from former residents. Also importantly, we began to try and seek protection of the site through a State Heritage listing. This was complicated by the fact, that the site did not even have local heritage overlays at that time. We were successful with our fight for State Heritage Protection, but we were ultimately unsuccessful with securing a suitable permanent location for an exhibition, on the former camp site.

When the exhibition in Hut 11 closed in November 2019, a transition to an on-line exhibition was considered the next logical step. We hope this website provides you with the information and resources you are looking for.

Project Key Successes 2014-2019

  • 2014 A Last Look at Latoof and Callil Factory – Special Opening and Exhibition (500 visitors)
  • 2015 Migrant Camp History Book Launch (Nov), Benalla Migrant Camp: A Difficult Heritage by Dr Bruce Pennay OAM
  • 2016 State Heritage Listing of the former Benalla Migrant Camp Site Achieved (May) VHR H2358
  • 2017 Wikipedia Page developed by Dr Jacquie Durrant
  • 2017 Benalla Migrant Camp 50 Years On Celebrations are held (major event with extensive program), 300 attend
  • 2018 ABC Learning launches educational on-line resources about Benalla Migrant Camp
  • 2018 (Dec) Launch of Benalla Migrant Camp Short Film
  • 2019 (July) Facebook Page Audience reaches 1,000 followers
  • 2019 (Dec) Conservation Management Plan for the former Benalla Migrant Camp is adopted by Benalla Rural City
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