03 February 2012


Sue's birth certificate records that she was born at Uranquinty.  We knew that she was born there while her parents were in a hostel, having migrated to Australia as displaced persons after World War 2.    However, we were very interested to find that at Uranquinty there's a small display commemorating the events of that time.including a  a number of panels setting out some interesting information.
During the war, the air force had  a flying school close to the town (and there's also quite a lot of information about this at an adjoining display).   After the war,  the facilities were used as a hostel from December 1948.   Apparently nearly 28,000 displaced persons/ migrants passed through the facility until it reverted once again to the air force in 1952.  
The large number of people results from the families staying a short time before moving on to accommodation closer to places of work.

Facilities included a school and a hospital.    About 240 babies were born here - but since my understanding is that there wasn't a hospital before or after this time, it seems that to have Uranquinty as one's place of birth is relatively rare!

It seems that the huts were unlined corrugated iron with few provisions for comfort — suitable for toughness-building austerity in single men, but not suitable for women, children and particular young babies.

Detail from one of the panels
The residents did their best with improvisation and ingenuity, for example, draping suitcases with material to use as a lounge chair and fastening a long thin metal pipe to a block of wood to make a lamp stand. However, it was still uncomfortable, the flimsy partitions, and the reverberations of the iron roofs meant that all noise including arguments and crying children was amplified. The immigrants thought that the Australian diet was monotonous and unfamiliar, and there are reports of a food riot at one time.
Little wonder that Sue's father moved on to Melbourne as quickly as he could, with the family joining him soon after.

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