terra nova:
a land of milk and honey
Following the end of the Second World War, there remained over one million people who, for one reason or another were displaced from their country of origin. From 1947-54 Australia received 170,000 persons of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, 60,000 of whom were Polish.  They arrived as servicemen, single men and women, families and young people.  This is their story.

Come and see

this wonderful exhibition of over 150 photographs, priceless documents and migration memorabilia

at the


ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 64

from 7 May 2001
to 27 May 2001
am to 5 pm daily
Bonegilla - one of the migrant transit camps scattered around Australia where Polish, and other migrants, were introduced to a "new" way of life and language,  before being sent to various parts of Australia on a two year contract which compelled them to work in areas of labour need.

.  Bonegilla is in northern Victoria - on the border with New South Wales.  Photograph taken around 1949/50
The Captain of the "Fairsea" welcoming the Australian Minister for Immigration, Hon. Arthur Calwell at Fremantle, Western Australia, in August 1949.  On board were Polish refugees migrating to Australia.
"I have the honour of greeting you in the name of a group of Poles arriving in Australia. Our way to freedom was long and very hard. It led us from being oppressed by the invaders of Poland, through concentration camps, captivity, slave labour and long waiting in DP camps. But we are happy to see a free country and its free citizens as we were 10 years ago. We are thankful to you, Sir, and to the Australian Government for putting the end to our homeless life. On our side we are promising to do our best when living in Australia and working for Australia, a country of freedom."

12 year old Polish girl (name unknown)  speaking to Arthur Calwell on-board the Fairsea in Fremantle, 1949.
Public address system announcers at "Chocolate City"  from left: Leopold Paszkowski, Henryk Witynski, Jerzy (George) Klim, Zbigniew Jasinski - 1949. Announcements were made in English, German and Polish.  English - Australia's official language, German - the lingua franca of displaced persons.
Polish Community Council of Victoria

Federacja Polskich Organizacji w Wiktorii

level 2, 51 Queens Street

Postal Address:
GPO Box 1123J

Copyright Polish Community Council of Victoria 2000.
All rights reserved.

Last updated on
5 May 2001
Polish migrant group from Greta camp participating in the Newcastle (New South Wales) anniversary celebrations in Hunter Street.  From left:  Feliks Dangel, Jozef Kociszewski (flag bearer), Jerzy (George) Klim, young girl (unknown) - circa 1950.
Help us solve a 50 year old mystery

Do you know the girl in this photograph?
Photographs courtesy of:

Dr. Jerzy (George) Klim (Canberra ACT)

Mrs. W. Zielinska (Brooklyn VIC)

The Stanislaw Blum Collection

as well as other contributors

More photographs...
Photographs of the early days

Phographs of people during their two year work contract

A solitary existence - the life of Polish men in workers' hostels during the 1950s
The Exhibition:

Tour Schedule

Sponsors and Supporters

Contributors of photographs
and memorabilia

Organising committee and contacts

Photographs from the Exhibition:
Opening in Melbourne

Early Milestones of the Polish Community in Australia
1947-49, 1950-51, 1952-54

Reading list
on Polish migration to Australia and the Polish Australian community

Available books on
Polish-Australian topics

Useful Links