Bonegilla migrants' memories come flooding back

Returning to Bonegilla each year is emotional for a group of Greek migrants who started life in their new country at the centre.

Members of the Bonegilla Former Greek Migrants Residents Association have been at the former migrant reception and training centre to celebrate the 61st year since the first Greek arrivals.

A group of 45, including the newly appointed Melbourne consul general of Greece Christina Simantirakis, spent the past few days on the Border.

The Bonegilla centre housed migrants from 1947 to 1971.

Association president Theo Emmanouilidis, who stayed at the centre for a week in 1954, said memories came flooding back each time he visited the centre.

“When I come here, I come with my tears,” he said.

“It brings back good memories because this place was our beginning in this country.”

Costa Gragoropoulos, who stayed for 10 days in 1955 aged 24, said the centre represented the hope of a new and better life.

George Dikeakos said he arrived on a ship with 2500 other migrants in 1965, aged 25.

“We love this too much,” he said.

“I feel like I come to my country, my village.”

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide