Camps Attract Increasing Interest

The Murchison Historical Society often receives enquiries about relatives who spent time as a Prisoner of War or Internee in Camps in our local area, or rest in the Ossario at the Murchison Cemetery. These have increased recently. Some people want to visit the area others correspond from overseas and interstate and are looking for documentation confirming the details of their relatives’ time in the Camps.
The Society does not hold documents that detail these personal experiences but much is available on line via the National Australian Archives web sites as follows and
Documents can be accessed that show the date of arrival, movement from one Camp to another, events such as illness and also misdemeanours! Repatriation date and often the name of the ship for those POW’s returned to their country of origin are available.
The site of Camps in our local area were clustered around the Waranga Basin. This area was chosen due to the proximity to needed water, relative remoteness, and a train service was nearby to transport both people and supplies. It was also in the midst of a food producing region that could not only supply required food but the Camps provided a needed workforce on the farms as the Australian farmers were away fighting the War and there was an acute shortage of labour.
Little remains today that gives insight into the busy places the Camps were when thousands of Internees and POW’s were detained for the duration of the Second World War.
The land where the Camps were located is private property and so not available to the general public. On Sunday 23rd March the Murchison sub branch of the RSL arranged a tour of Camp 2, a Camp for single male Internees. It was a very special opportunity to hear of the day to day happenings in this Camp with local Historian John Gribben bringing the events to life with humour and lots of intriguing stories of what the Internees would have experienced.
Two of the people in the group who joined the tour were researching the family history of their relative who had been in Camp 2.
If there are opportunities in the future for a tour of a Camp such as the RSL arranged on this occasion, make every effort to be included as it is a marvellous experience.

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