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'The Last of the Bonegilla Girls' Book Launch

'The Last of the Bonegilla Girls' Book Launch
08 May 2018

Bonegilla Migrant Camp, care of Bonegilla Migrant Experience.
Bonegilla Migrant Camp, care of Bonegilla Migrant Experience
Bonegilla Migrant Camp, care of Bonegilla Migrant Experience.

Author Victoria Purman will launch her latest release ‘The Last of the Bonegilla Girls’, at the Mount Gambier Library on Wednesday 16 May 2018 at 7:00pm.

The historical saga will give readers a clear insight into the Bonegilla Migrant Camp; a sprawling ex-Army camp on the River Murray in north-eastern Victoria. Between 1947 and 1971, more than 320,000 people passed through the camp after arriving in Australia, mainly from Europe, looking for new lives and better opportunities.

“Following the end of WWII, the Australian government campaigned for population growth and in return for free passage and help on arrival, newly arrived migrants to the Bonegilla Camp would in return work for the government for two years”, Mount Gambier Library Community Engagement Coordinator Kristi Leamey said.

The Last of the Bonegilla Girls is set in 1954, and follows 16 year old Hungarian Elizabeta who arrives in Australia with her family, hoping to escape the hopelessness of life as a refugee in post-war Germany.

Not wanting to leave her village, Elizabeta soon comes to realise all that her parents have sacrificed to give her a better future.

Her first stop is the Bonegilla Migrant Camp where she becomes good friends with three other girls from very different backgrounds. While the story focuses on the teenage girls embarking on new lives, it also explores the lives of their parents and siblings.

“This novel has been inspired by Victoria’s own grandparents, who in 1954 travelled from Germany with their five children to start a new life. They had brought with them two suitcases, a wooden trunk and memories of their birthplace devastated by the war,” Ms. Leamey said.

With one in 20 Australian’s related to, or descended from someone who went through the Bonegilla Migrant Camp, the book will appeal to a wide audience and those looking to gain a better understanding of their own family history or Australian history in general.

This is a free community event with bookings required for catering purposes. Phone 8721 2540 or book online www.mountgambier.sa.gov.au/lib... under ‘Programs and Events’.

For further information please contact City of Mount Gambier Library Community Engagement Coordinator Kristi Leamey on 8721 2540 or at kleamey@mountgambier.sa.gov.au