Remembering Bonegilla: The Construction of a Public Memory Place at Block 19

Bruce Pennay


This article traces the emergence of Block 19 Bonegilla as a heritage site. I examine shifts in official heritage value through three different heritage listings. I indicate how agencies, like the Bonegilla Steering Committee of which I am a member, are going about the task of interpreting the site using official, staff, resident and host society recall to explain the significance of the place. Disparate sources yield different insights into refugee and migrant arrival experiences, and we are trying to unravel the mix of stories that arise in a place that draws on living memory. We want to address host society experiences of post-war immigration. We want to attract and engage visitors. Such interpretation and presentation tasks involve us in constructing a public memory place.

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