Regional Development Victoria Delivering for Rural and Regional Victoria logo

Bonegilla project connects community with migrant past


The stories and lives of people who helped shape Australia will form part of a permanent exhibition set to open next month as part of the Bonegilla Migrant Experience, supported by the Victorian Government.

The Bonegilla Migrant Experience project  received a grant through the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund – Stimulus Round to support the digitisation of the Bonegilla ID cards.

Held by the National Archives of Australia, the cards consist of 263,906 individual records and items of people who passed through the Bonegilla Migrant Centre after World War II. It will form part of a new permanent and interactive exhibition at the centre opening on 21 November.

All 263,906 of the registration cards have been digitised, resulting in more than 528,000 images and 8.5 terabytes of data.

The project provides Albury Wodonga with a cultural tourism boost, allowing more visitors to connect with Australia’s fascinating migrant history.

The Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre opened after World War II and grew to become Australia’s largest and longest operating migrant centre. Between 1947 and 1971, around 320,000 people from more than 50 counties travelled through Bonegilla, seeking a better life.

The digitisation of the records preserves the identities and stories of people who spent time at the centre after migrating to Australia in the post-war era.

Previously only available by request, the records will be accessible to all visitors and provide information on the dates people arrived and left, where they went to, the ship they came on, and more.

The interactive exhibition provides a curated interpretation of Australia’s post-war migration story.

The project is expected to draw thousands of visitors to a destination that already welcomes more than 11,500 visitors annually.

The $46 million Regional Tourism Investment Fund - Stimulus Round forms part of the Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan, which is underpinned by an investment of $633 million.

For more information, visit Bonegilla Migrant Experience website.