A historic photo exhibition over the Australia Day weekend will tell the stories of many migrants to Benalla.January 25, 2013 4:55am
Memories: Children from Bihun Migrant Camp 4. Submitted by local Benalla College teacher Wasyl Bihun of his brother Henry playing with unknown friends.Henry (Slawomir) Bihun, standing in dark cardigan...with friends unknown.This photo has taken between 1952 and 1953.
The story of the post-World War II Benalla Migrant Camp will be brought to life by Sabine Smyth in a special historic photo exhibition that will get under way at BARC Hut 11 from 1
Mrs Smyth said she had been overwhelmed by the sheer number and quality of photos from the late 1940s onward that had been submitted, mostly from people of Polish and German descent.
‘‘It really is an amazing history that is worth remembering,’’ she said.
‘‘Their (the residents of the Benalla Migrant Camp) lives were so hard by today’s standards, but they were so happy to be making a new start here in Benalla.’’
A staggering 60
‘‘The exhibition of personal photos, documents and memorabilia tells some of their stories and I think it’s really important that people learn about this history, because it really helped to develop and shape Benalla after the war,’’ Mrs Smyth said.
The old migrant camp is located just off Samaria Rd, behind Benalla Airport.
Appropriately, one of the old huts in which the migrants actually lived is the venue for the exhibition, making a ‘‘very authentic space’’.
‘‘They came out here with nothing,’’ Mrs Smyth said.
‘‘It was a gated community so they needed to check with the guard to get in and out.
‘‘But as a result of that they were a really tight-knit community who stuck together.
‘‘Australia was selling itself as the land of milk and honey in those days, and several countries were competing for migrants after the war.
‘‘For the migrants, it was a two-year commitment and you had to work where you were sent.
‘‘The two biggest employers at the time were chain manufacturers Reynolds Chains and clothing manufacturers Latoof and Calill.’’
The population of Benalla swelled to 20
Many of the migrants were from Poland, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, Holland and Lithuania.
Mrs Smyth said she wanted to thank Dawne Tonks of Benalla and District Family Research Group, Lyn Tanner and Maree Hanlon of Benalla and District Historical Society, and Jennifer Campbell of U3A Benalla.
In regard to the exhibition itself, Mrs Smyth received about 130 photos, but only has room to exhibit about 100.Exhibition opening times:
(Australia Day) Saturday, January 26 from 1
Sunday, January 27 from 10
Every Sunday in February from 10
Entry to the exhibition, at BARC Hut 11 in Samaria Rd, is free.
Budding Kyabram actor Taylor Smith Morvell is one of 20 Victorian students chosen to perform his Year 12 theatre studies monologue in Melbourne next week.
The Yarrawonga and District Cemetery Trust has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Department of Health to undertake development work at the Yarrawonga cemetery.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
A man has been taken to Echuca hospital after being trapped for several minutes in his vehicle.
Steve Glassborow has returned for a twentieth year, bringing a range of his bronze sculptures.
Tongala family hopes for transplant call for six-year-old.
Family of former Seymour man killed in a road crash in Los Angeles before Christmas set up a Melbourne University scholarship in his honour.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Leitchville-Gunbower at home was too strong for Heathcote’s senior footballers in their first Good Friday clash.
Huge crowds turned out for Cobram Barooga's River Beaches Festival, which featured a special splash for 2000 rubber ducks.
South West Arts ArtOut will be held again in 2015 after last weekend's inaugural success.
Some of Australia’s greatest horses and just a few racetrack characters have appeared at the Benalla Racing Club’s grounds in its 150-year history.
Benalla's Kevin Harper will be honoured in the motorcade lap of honour at Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow for his service during the Korean War.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.