Bonegilla Migrant Experience Workshop

On Friday 11th May 2012, year 10 history students from Wodonga Senior Secondary College will be participating in excursions related to their studies on refugees to the Bonegilla Migrant Experience and workshops at La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga campus.

migrantsThis collaboration is an initiative of the La Trobe Univerisity School Partnerships Program headed by Catherine Farrell and has been organised by Simon Webb at Wodonga Senior Secondary College (WSSC) and Dr Pamela Wallace and Dr Ben Habib at La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga.

‘The excursions to Bonegilla and the workshops at La Trobe will help students to form reasoned opinions on refugee issues, based on systematic research from credible information sources,’ says Dr Habib.

‘It will also help students form an understanding of the causes of forced migration and evaluate different views on Australia's refugee program and the impact of multiculturalism on Australian society.’

In addition, this collaboration will provide a number of benefits in terms of professional development for both WSSC and La Trobe students.

‘This group effort will provide an opportunity for WSSC students to sample the university experience and see university study as a meaningful career pathway after high school,’ says Dr Wallace. 

This will also enable our Bachelor of Arts students valuable hands-on experience in group leadership and facilitation.’

WSSC students will prepare for the excursions to La Trobe and Bonegilla by watching the SBS television documentary Go Back to Where You Came From and examining migration statistics on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.  Further preparation materials have been provided online on Dr Ben Habib’s blog.

Friday, the 250 secondary students will spend half a day at La Trobe and half a day at the Bonegilla Migrant Experience. At Bonegilla, the students will tour the army camp which processed over 50 per cent of all new migrant arrivals in Australia in the post-World War II period.  

The students will then participate in a two-hour workshop at La Trobe with the first hour consisting of small group activities facilitated by Bachelor of Arts students.  The second hour will feature an expert panel of local people with direct professional and personal experience with refugee issues, who will field questions from WSSC students.

Panelists include:

• Dr Penny Egan-Vine: a medical practitioner for thirty years working as a grief, loss and trauma counsellor, working specifically with refugees for fourteen of those years.  

• Assoc. Prof. Bruce Pennay: historian and expert on the history of the Bonegilla migrant processing complex.

• Marita Quaglio: LTU A-W's Equity and Diversity Support Officer and support person for LTU students coming from a refugee background.

• Chura Sapkota: LTU A-W Bachelor of Arts student and former refugee from Bhutan.

• A representative from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer

T:  03 9479 5353 M:  0418 495 941 E: