For those following news about the secret internment camp site at Western Creek, I’m pleased to share that a memorial stone and plaque are now in place. It’s been quite a twisting trail to get to this point – from writing about my grandfather being an internee there in Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar, after almost a detective hunt in putting together the information and many brick walls from authorities, some refusing to believe the camp that detained hundreds of innocent men during WW2 even existed (despite photographs and other clues).
Then there was the unexpected letter I received from Cec Gibson, a Millmerran local who’d read my book, and so followed the wonderful news that he, together with other members of the Millmerran Museum and Historical Society, sought to honour this, until then, mostly unknown local history (for which I’ll always be grateful). As I said, it’s been a twisting trail and continued to be from what I’ve been told, especially in pinpointing the exact site (not easy to find even now apparently!), uncovering remnants of decades old testimony and even discovering the odd, old WW2 land mine left behind in the area (since cleared)! (Glad Roger and I didn’t happen across one of those when searching for the site all those years ago!)
The Millmerran Historical Society is continuing work in putting together a museum display about the internment camp, a mud map with directions to the site and a book on Western Creek’s history including the station, forestry and the camp (Society President, Christine Coles deserves special mention for her research and ongoing work in writing this). I look forward to returning to Millmerran next year to see it all once completed and of course to Western Creek to visit the memorial stone and plaque. (The stone is from a nearby sandstone quarry and local stone.)
Again, I’m so thrilled and touched this has all come about, for the young men interned, the army guards who treated them with respect and the women and children left to fend for themselves, many on farms, who did it tough in the absence of their men and workers, yet by banding together kept their farms going (some of these women I’ve written about in my next book.) Warmest thanks to Cec, Christine, the Millmerran Historical Society, Lions Club and all those, especially Millmerran locals, who’ve given time, information and support to bring about this honouring of the internment camp. Marking the site is fantastic and I look forward to sharing further developments about the museum display. Zoe x
Original post… Hidden history at Western Creek