The Dunera and Queen Mary Internees and their Stories
Welcome to Internment and Beyond: Stories from the Dunera and Queen Mary. The idea for this website and online gallery emerged during the writing of Dunera Lives, a two-volume history of the Dunera and Queen Mary internees (Monash University Publishing, 2018/2020). The Dunera and Queen Mary brought nearly 3000 internees to Australia in 1940. Dunera Lives tells a selection of these stories; thousands remain untold. Some former internees do not regard their lives as noteworthy and have not documented their memories, others see no reason to share deeply personal and often painful histories, and in most cases there are few public traces of these men and women. While much is known collectively about the Dunera and Queen Mary internees, the bulk of this information comes from a small cohort of their total population – ten per cent or less. For the other ninety per cent, the lives they led before and after internment remain hidden.
This site was conceived and established to tell more Dunera and Queen Mary stories, to capture the wonderful words and images of individual lives and so build a fuller picture of these men and women. We welcome new information and stories, photographs and artworks. We see this site as a work-in-progress, and will keep developing and expanding it. Please contact us if you would like to share your artefacts and histories.
This site serves another purpose. We have learned that many Dunera and Queen Mary families have in their keeping rich and remarkable archives that document internee life. Some families have sought advice from Dr Seumas Spark about where they might donate these collections for permanent preservation and safekeeping. This has led to arrangements with various Australian institutions for the acquisition of Dunera and Queen Mary collections. Please contact Seumas should you be interested in learning more about depositing your collection with a cultural institution.
We thank Gandel Philanthropy, the Besen Family Foundation and Monash University for financial support. This site was built with funding from these organisations. We are grateful for their generosity and for their commitment to preserving the histories of the Dunera boys.
This gallery shows a random selection of artwork from each artist.
For more view the main gallery page.
Not every internee who came by boat to Australia during the Second World War was male nor an adult. The Queen Mary, brought another group of passengers to Australian shores: families. Ruth Simon arrived in Australia at just four years old.
Paul should be remembered as a fighter, a wonderful painter and a passionate lawyer. Part of his story was in Australia, but he also had a life in Britain, where he married his wife, Ena, and in Austria, where he advocated for the Jewish community.
Many, and probably most, Dunera men didn’t speak publicly about their lives, and especially about their wartime lives. Paul Mezulianik was one of these silent men.
In the final year of her history undergraduate degree, Hannah Robinson, great-granddaughter of Heinz and Fay Castles (Heinz Schloesser and Fay Jackson), was asked to write a personal history. She chose to tell her family's story in scrapbook form.
Dr Seumas Spark
Dr Seumas Spark is a co-author of Dunera Lives (two volumes, Monash University Publishing, 2018/2020). His interest in the Dunera and Queen Mary internees was fostered by the late Ken Inglis, a great Australian historian with whom he was privileged to work for several years. Seumas's research interests include the social history of the Second World War, and the modern history of Papua New Guinea.
Kate GarrettBA (Languages), Master of Translation Studies
Kate Garrett is a NAATI accredited German to English translator, who works with both commercial and private clients. She also reads and translates from Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish, and has a particular interest in the translation of historical documents, poetry and autobiographies from the Second World War. She has had the privilege of working with Seumas Spark and the late Ken Inglis since 2016, and some of her selected translations appear in Dunera Lives: A Visual History.
This site was established by Seumas Spark, Kate Garrett and Georgina Rychner. Seumas and Kate add fresh content regularly, and Kate maintains the site. We publish articles by guest contributors.
15 July, 2021
Loveday Internment Camp has tended to exist on the margins of the Dunera story, despite its important place in this history. Professor Peter Monteath of Flinders University has established a website devoted to the history of Loveday Internment Camp.
Join 'The Perfect Migrant' Webinar on 27 May22 May, 2021
To celebrate the opening of their latest exhibition, The Perfect Migrant, Monash University Library will be hosting a virtual panel discussion on 27 May 2021 at 7:00 PM AEST.
For more information or to register, click here.
Opening Soon: 'The Perfect Migrant'3 May, 2021
Drawing inspiration from the works of Erwin Fabian as well as the stories of other Dunera boys and contemporary Australian refugee artists, the exhibition The Perfect Migrant explores experiences of forced migration. It opens 27 May 2021 in The Gallery at Monash's Matheson Library.