Thursday, December 19, 2013

What you will find at the exhibition

See close to 200 amazing photos reprinted on museum quality paper
Walk into one of the original camp accommodation huts.
Find camp memorabilia including some of the original chests and suitcases in which the migrants brought all their earthly possessions.
Flick through the original enrolment records of all camp children that attended the Benalla Migrant School from 1949 - 1963 - reprinted for public viewing.
Purchase postcards made of the original photos.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Some of the 2013 Visitors

Andrew Jakubans and wife, from Bendigo.

Polish Migrant and photographer Barb (Basia) Dewsnap

Eddie Pastuszka (left)

Anna Lemega (right) with friend

Bob Zintschenko aka Bobby Murphy, married to Maria (nee Omielczuk)

Yes, there really was a Migrant Camp in Benalla!

Many people are amazed to find out that there was a Migrant Camp in Benalla. 
Between 1949-1967 the Benalla Migrant Camp housed an estimated 60,000 Post World War II Migrants!

Former residents of the camp share with you this unique exhibition of their photographs and memorabilia. Through their eyes, this exhibition tells of life a the camp in a most moving, authentic way. You must see this.

If you live a fair drive away, Benalla is a great base for a weekend . You can combine a visit to our exhibition with a relaxed couple of days of wining, dining and sightseeing.

We are close to the King Valley and Glenrowan Wineries and the beautiful Strathbogie Ranges, as well as the Winton Wetlands.

Benalla itself offers many other attractions such as our stunning Botanical Gardens, an outstanding Regional Art Gallery (its cafe with its drop-dead gorgeous view of Lake Benalla is a recommended spot for coffee and cake), three fabulous local bakery cafes for a yummy lunch, a picturesque 5 km Lake Circuit Walk, a Ceramic Mural on the lake, a gliding centre and an Aviation Museum as well as a Costume and Pioneer Museum.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We are re-opening with an Extended Exhibition on Australia Day Weekend 2014

The exhibition is currently being updated and extended. We will re-open on the Australia Day Weekend 2014 (both Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January) from 10 am - 3 pm.
From then on, we will open every fourth Sunday of the month from 10 am - 3 pm.
We are fully accessible - we have a portable wheelchair ramp which is quickly put in place, when needed. 

How to find the Exhibition

The exhibition is located just off Samaria Road, which is on the edge of town (Wangaratta end) and on the Benalla Airport site.
On opening days a sign will be out directing you to the exhibition.
Turn into the driveway leading to the Benalla State Gliding Centre - see above. Follow the road to the Aviation Museum. 

Once you are at this spot, at the Aviation Museum Entrance (just obscured, at left) turn left and drive another 300 metres or so.
You have arrived at Hut 11.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

There are many ways to enjoy this exhibition

During exhibition openings (and particularly on the Australia Day Weekend) , visitors come from all over Australia. Many contribute new photos and memories.

The Exhibition often brings people together - here Theo Cehun and his sister meet Joe Zajac (Volunteer Guide and former camp resident) again, after 50 years.
Irene van Rooyen (nee Michel, who was a child at the camp) and her daughter have arrived from Queensland to view her family photos.

The complete enrolment book of the Migrant Camp Primary School brings many people joy when they see their name or the name of their friends. Copies of pages can be ordered/purchased at the Exhibition for $5.

As the exhibition continues to grow, people come back repeatedly to see what is new. The Australia Day 2014 Exhibition will include a launch of 50 more photos. A booklet called 'The Stories Behind The Exhibition' is now for sale at $10.

If you are lucky, you might just have the pleasure to meet one of the original residents - here 97 year old Milda Sleinis visits with her daughter Gerda and is greeted by a former child acquaintance.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Benalla Migrant Camp Inc. What we do and why ...

The members of Benalla Migrant Camp Inc. Left to right: Sophie Arendt, Bronwyn Forman, Andree Klopsteins, Sabine Smyth, Mike Smyth, Anna Castles
Benalla Migrant Camp Inc.
Preserving the stories of the Benalla Migrant Camp forever

On Australia Day 2013 a photographic exhibition was held involving 100 images of life at the Benalla Migrant Camp. The Benalla Migrant Camp was open between 1949 and 1967, and the exhibition was in memory of the over 60,000 post-war Migrants from Europe, who lived there.
This unique,  moving exhibition told of the daily lives of 22 families, as captured in their personal photos.
The exhibition was a huge success, with over 1,000 visitors in 5 days.  Many visitors came from interstate.
In the lead up to and during the exhibition more than 100 people with a personal connection to the camp submitted forms to indicate they were also willing to share their family's stories, and contribute photos and memorabilia and that they were in favour of a permanent exhibition at the original camp site off Samaria Road, adjacent to Benalla Airport.

Benalla Migrant Camp Inc. formed in April 2013 in order to progress with this important work.

Our Mission

We will always keep in mind that this exhibition and our projects aim to preserve the memory of the migrants who lived at the camp.  We shall therefore use our volunteer support and financial resources only to this end. We shall not take on projects that do not align with the following objectives.

Our Key Objectives 2013 - 2023

  1. The collection of firsthand accounts and the digital preservation of historical material relating to the Benalla Migrant Camp, which is relevant and suitable for permanent exhibition.
  2. An exhibition at the site of the former camp at Benalla Airport, involving indoor and outdoor areas, which will be State Heritage protected as a Benalla Migrant Camp Memorial Site.
  3. The development of a marketing plan for the exhibition including advertised opening hours, a web presence, and a design/style concept for the site.
  4. An annual Australia Day Event that is informal and fun, and in harmony with our vision and mission.
  5. Collaboration with other migrant history projects, such as The Bonegilla Migrant Experience, for our mutual benefit.
  6. Fundraising to realise these objectives, including grant applications.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Benalla Migrant Camp Inc. Who we are and How to contact us

Benalla Migrant Camp Incorporated
Incorporation No. A0059103R
ABN 80 468 957 671


Sabine Smyth, Chair
7 Mitchell Street
Benalla VIC 3672
P 03 57626678 M 0439 001918

Mike Smyth, Treasurer 0407 309866
Bronwyn Forman, Secretary 03 57666238
Sophie Arendt, Member 03 57623000
Anna Castles, Member 03 57441554
Andree Klopsteins, Member  03 57626672

Friday, December 6, 2013

Consider donating to Benalla Migrant Camp Inc.

We are currently fundraising to build a diorama of the camp. You can help us by making a donation into: 
Bendigo Bank 633-000 Account Number 149422768
We will be very grateful for donations of any amount. A receipt will be posted to you in the mail.