Learn about the experiences of prisoners of war and civilian internees in Victoria during the Second World War (1939-45) and discover a little known aspect of Australia’s history. This exhibition explores the impacts on prisoners of war and internees who lived and worked in camps. Between 1939 and 1947 rural Victoria hosted eight internment and prisoner of war camps from the network that was scattered across Australia. The camps operated as communities and incorporated canteens, hospitals, dental and recreational facilities and schools.
By 1947 almost 26,000 prisoners of war and 15,000 internees had experienced the camp system, living in tin huts behind barbed wire. They were known as the ‘enemy’ or ‘enemy aliens’. The notion of nationality became a divisive issue of war on the home front and the experience of internment would have a lasting impact on Australia’s migrant and wider community.