AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

HMT Dunera: Refugee transport ship to Australia

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 741
Held at: Wiener Library
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: HMT Dunera: Refugee transport ship to Australia
Date(s): 1940s-1980s
Level of description: collection
Extent: 1 bundle
Name of creator(s): Kallir | Erwin | fl 1940
Goldsmith | Herbert | fl 1940-1988 x Goldschmidt


Administrative/Biographical history:

HMT Dunera was a British passenger ship built as a troop transport in the late 1930s. On 10 Jul 1940 The Duneraleft Liverpool with men classed as enemy aliens, who were considered a risk to British security. Although many of the internees had in fact fled Europe to escape Nazi persecution, they were considered to have been German agents, potentially helping to plan the invasion of Britain. Included were 2,036 Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany, 451 German and Italian prisoners of war and others including the survivors of the Arandora Star disaster. They were taken to Australia for internment in the rural towns of Hay, New South Wales and Tatura, Victoria Australia. The ship had a maximum capacity of 1,500 - including crew - however on this voyage there were 2,542 transportees. The resultant condition has been described as 'inhumane', the transportees were also subjected to ill-treatment and theft by the 309 poorly trained British guards on board. On arrival in Sydney, the first Australian on board was medical army officer Alan Frost. He was appalled and his subsequent report led to the court martial of the army officer-in-charge, Lieutenant-Colonel William Scott.

Herbert Goldsmith (formerly Goldschmidt), was one of the internees on the HMT Dunera and subsequently a detainee at 'Camp 8', Hay Internment camp for refugees, New South Wales, Australia.

Erwin Kallir, was the canteen manager at 'Camp 8', Hay Internment camp for refugees, New South Wales, Australia.


Scope and content/abstract:

Copies of papers documenting the experiences of the German and Austrian internees transported to Australia on the HMT Dunera, 1940 and their subsequent detention in camps in Australia. Includes personal and official papers of Erwin Kallir, former canteen manager at the Hay Internment camp for refugees, New South Wales, Australia including Australian Military forces report on Erwin Kallir; material documenting his activities as canteen manager and cartoons depicting life in the camp. Official papers relating to the allegations of ill treatment on board the HMT Dunera, including Home Office directives on the detention of civilian internees of enemy nationality; House of Commons debates on the treatment of aliens on ships and appeals for justice for the internees and press cuttings. Correspondence of Herbert Goldsmith, internee on the HMT Dunera,1980s.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and German

System of arrangement:

Original order

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Finding aids:

Detailed description on the Wiener Library's online catalogue

Archival Information

Archival history:

The bulk of the original papers to this collection were the possession of Erwin Kallir.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by Herbert Goldsmith, Oct 1988.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry compiled by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Mar 2008

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"