We had left Melbourne on Friday afternoon in the rain , Saturday morning we stopped in Numurkah in the rain and we needed to buy a large umbrella. But as we crossed over the border at Tocumwal, the rain stopped and we saw sun.
We stopped in the small NSW town of Finley, the local showgrounds was welcoming and Vic, the caretaker, gave us the lowdown on the cheapest fuel in town and also recommended the Mother’s day lunch at the local Returned Services club. This time last year we were having Mothers Day lunch in Cobar.
Monday morning and it was time to move on. The morning fog did not look as if it was going to burn off anytime soon, so it was a delayed departure. Never a problem when there is no timetable to follow. We were only heading as far as Hay.
After about 50km we came to the town of Deniliquin. This town is listed in the Guiness Book of Records for the most utes mustered in on location. It deservedly claims the tile of Ute Capital of the World.
The local art community have decorated two utes, one covered by mosaic tiles and the other shows a ute up a pole. We found the mosaic ute outside the Information centre.
We continued to Hay. This town is located on the Murrumbidgee River and surrounded by vast open plains.
The local landscape is flat and this is one of the reasons that Hay was selected as a location for POW camps during the Second World War. The town was also at the end of the railway line, and far from the sea, an ideal location for an internment camp.
It is here that the Dunera Boys were interned. This article from the BBC commemorating the 70th anniversary, describes it much better than I could
As the storm clouds of war gathered in the late 1930s, thousands of German refugees – either Jewish or politically opposed to the Nazis – fled to Britain for sanctuary.
Little did many of them know they would soon be deported to Australia in one of the more notorious incidents in British maritime history, later described by Winston Churchill as “a deplorable mistake”.
These were later followed by Italian and Japanese internees. The Local Historical Society have collected many items, that are on display in two train carriages at the now closed railway station..
The Dunera Boys have been the subject of a 1985 series, with a cast that included Bob Hoskin and Australian actor John Meillon. It was awarded two Australian Film Institute awards in 1986. Here is a clip from Episode 3.
There was also a documentary that screened on SBS titled When Friends were Enemies: The Story of The Dunera Boys
I especially wanted to visit this exhibition. I had seen the movie many years ago and parts of it linger. Without wanting to preach, it is one of the horrors of war, where people that have lived in your community for many years are suddenly treated as prisoners of war, just because their ancestry was different.