I cannot remember arriving at Bonegilla, but I clearly remember waking up in the hospital with daylight pouring through the high windows, a row of made-up beds around me, and a nurse with her back to me busy at a bench at the end of the room. When she became aware I was conscious she babbled something to me (in English, so I did not understand) and then left the room. A short while later she returned with my mother, Lisa. I spent 5-6 days in the hospital. Our family spent 6 weeks at Bonegilla. We shared a one-room hut with an Estonian couple who had a 4 year old child. A sheet was put up overnight to separate our sleeping quarters and pulled down the next morning. I do not know how many immigrants were eligible or how many were prepared to accept charity at Bonegilla, but Lisa accepted a corduroy long jacket, skirt, cardigan and blouse. She later told me they were female army surplus clothes. We also received a large double bed size, heavy, flock-filled, khaki-coloured quilt. Our meals at Bonegilla were on long tables in the mess: breakfast, dinner at midday (main meal), and an evening meal. As a child I clearly remember mum telling various acquaintances over time that the Bonegilla food was her first taste of lamb (stewed mutton, I suspect) and she hated it and never afterwards liked or cooked lamb. I still have a memory of my step-father John making pieces of furniture outside our hut. The timber came from the boxes where fellow migrants had unpacked some of their things and the boxes were dumped in a pile somewhere for burning. He made a small table and four stools, all of which lasted many years. He also made a sewing box for Lisa which was passed on to me after I married. I repainted it in the early 1980s and still have it.

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