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Japanese air raids on Darwin in 1942 made Australia acutely aware that its expansive borders and population of just 7m people left it vulnerable to attack. The incumbent Curtin government realized that Australia needed to “Populate or Perish” and plans were put in place for a large-scale immigration program.

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Jul 15

Bonegilla

Australia’s Largest Migrant Hostel Bonegilla Reception and Training Centre was the largest migrant hostel of all. It is estimated that 1.5 million of the present population of Australia are descendants of migrants who spent time there. Between 1947 and 1971 over 300,000 migrants passed through Bonegilla that at one stage could accommodate 7,700 people plus…

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Jul 15

Nissen Huts

What is a Nissen Hut? The Nissen hut was designed and patented in 1917 by Peter Nissen, a middle aged army Major. It was a prefabricated shelter made in the shape of a half cylinder. A corrugated sheet of metal formed its shell and plasterboard and concrete were used in its construction. Materials for these…

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Jul 15

Hostels

Large numbers of migrant hostels were set up to house the sudden vast influx of displaced persons and assisted migrants who entered Australia after WW2. Two of the largest of these hostels were at Bonegilla and at Bathurst, interestingly now internationally famous for the Mount Panorama racing circuit. The accommodation was predominantly in Nissen huts…

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Jul 15

Planes

Air travel has changed dramatically since the late 1930s when the first passenger flights were made between Europe and Australia. It is predicted that the new Boeing 777-8X will soon be able to fly non-stop from London to Sydney. In the past Fares In 1947 a return flight to Australia cost more than 100 times…

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As a way of spicing up the long voyage to Australia everyone on board was invited to take part in the ceremony of ‘Crossing the Line’ on the night their ship passed over the equator to enter the Southern hemisphere, bringing the Poms ever closer to their final destination; literally transporting them from one side…

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The Ten Pound Pom passenger lists have been digitized and can be downloaded or purchased from a number of different websites. The passenger lists are a great way of preserving your personal history or that of your parents, grandparents or ancestors. A searchable database allows you to research and find friends made during the long…

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Jul 15

Ships

The migrants’ long voyages to Australia improved considerably over the years, as the primitive post war converted troop ships were superseded by more modern purpose built passenger liners.  In the 1940’s troop ships were rapidly fitted out to meet the urgent need for transportation. Men and women were often segregated and slept in overcrowded holds;…

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Over a million Ten Pound Poms emigrated to Australia between 1947 and 1972. The majority settled and made Australia their new home. On the other hand, many Ten Pound Poms were disillusioned by what they found in Australia, including extreme heat, migrant hostels and Pommy bashing. Another challenge faced by Ten Pound Poms was coping…