The Dunera Boys and their Stories
Welcome to the Dunera Stories website and online gallery. The idea for this site 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.
Klaus Friedeberger (1922-2019) was among the most talented, dynamic and thoughtful of Dunera artists. He was unusual among Dunera artists, and European artists generally, in seeing the mysteries and beauty of the Australian landscape.
Hans Lorraine was not an internment artist. He started painting in the 1950s, creating a visual chronicle of peacetime Australian life. But he was a Dunera artist.
In the years before and during the Second World War, Jewish and anti-Fascist doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists left Nazi-occupied Europe for Australia.
While some of the men who came to Australia on the Dunera chose later to speak about their experiences both before the war and on the ship itself – whether to the press, public, or simply to families and friends – there were many who remained silent.
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.
Georgina RychnerPhD candidate and Teaching Associate at Monash University
Georgina Rychner is a PhD candidate in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University. Her research areas include the operation of capital punishment and socio-legal responses to violent crime in Victoria. She has published works on the crime of infanticide and the insanity defence in Lilith and Health and History. Her time as a researcher for Dunera Stories was an invaluable foray into the rich histories of internment, migration and art.
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.
Hans Lorraine Exhibition Reopening30 June, 2020
WAS Gallery in Warragul is currently hosting an exhibition of Dunera artist Hans Lorraine's artwork. It was temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but has now reopened to the public. Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM.
Erwin Fabian Memorial Service1 April, 2020
Erwin Fabian, one of Australia's pre-eminent modern artists, died on 19 January 2020. He was 104. A memorial service, originally planned for 19 March at Australian Galleries in Collingwood, has been postponed until further notice.