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 The Gandel Foundation, 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.
While interned in late 1940, Günter Altmann put pen to paper to recount, in his native German, his experiences, from his arrest in Britain to the journey to Australia aboard the Dunera. This document is, for the first time, available in English.
Heinz Henghes was born Gustav Heinrich Clusmann in Hamburg, Germany in 1906. Throughout his life, he lived and made art across the globe. In recent times, his son Ian has been writing about his father with a view to producing a book-length biography.
For those with a keen interest in economics, the name Gerry Gutman may be familiar. Gutman made a name for himself as an economist and proponent of labour market reform and authored the book, 'Retreat of the Dodo'.
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.
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.
Registrations Open: Injustice, Survival, Memory Conference16 June, 2022
Marking 80 years since the Dunera and Queen Mary internees arrived in Australia, this special three-day event will see a range of speakers present on subjects relating to injustice, survival and memory. The conference will take place from September 6 - 8 at the ANU campus in Canberra. It is open to the public, but registrations are required. For more information or to register your attendance, click here.
22 April, 2022
Melbourne's Jewish Museum of Australia, in partnership with the Helmut Newton Foundation, is hosting an expansive exhibition exploring legendary photographer Helmut Newton's life and work, from his upbringing in Berlin through his time interned in Tatura and beyond.
The exhibition launched on 29 April 2022 and will run until 29 January 2023.
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.