Discover Bonegilla reunion this weekend

From writing your family history to guided tours and long lunches, the annual Discover Bonegilla reunion on November 2 and 3 has something for everyone.

Guests will immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, flavours and surrounds of the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre more than 70 years after it was first established following World War II, when millions of people seeking a new start and peace, departed for Australia.

Bonegilla Migrant Experience Team Leader Ashley Gill said the annual reunion attracts past Bonegilla Migrant Camp residents and their family from across the country, as well as general members of the public to enjoy tours, displays, exhibitions, family history writing sessions, food and music.

“We also have bus tours of the Latchford Barracks behind the fence line,” he said.

“It’s a rare opportunity to see what Bonegilla looked like behind the fence line of what is now a training camp.

“We’ve also got music and food, which also includes a long lunch of traditional based foods with a twist by one of our local caterers.”

With rain forecast both days, activities have been moved indoors.

“We are predicting some weather that may not be great for outdoor activities. We do have a lot of things moving indoors, so the event will still be going ahead,” Ashley said.

Some highlights include historians Bruce Pennay and Howard Jones who will facilitate a discussion of how people go about writing or recording their family stories of the migrant experience.

They will examine some of the many ways people have traced their migration stories.

There will also be an introduction to writing your family history with the granddaughter of Belgian immigrants, Melissa Justice.

She has an associate degree in creative writing and the session will include information on how to research and format your family history and how to develop your story into a narrative.

There will be a pop-up booth on both days where staff will be on site to collect stories of Bonegilla.

The Bonegilla site will be open from 9am to 4pm on November 2 and 3.

The program will continue on November 4 with several events taking place off site, including the launch of an online 3D virtual tour of Block 19 at Bonegilla Migrant Experience.

The launch will be at The Cube Wodonga from 4pm with drinks at bar prices and nibbles provided.

View the full program here.

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