Tension over Europe escalated after WW1 as countries that lost territories and borders during the war, fought to regain and re-unify, ultimately looking to expand their lands.

The Depression of 1930, after the 1929 Economic Crash in Europe, resulted in a high rate of unemployment. The ensuing civil unrest, tension, poverty, feeling of despair and resentment were the primary cause for the support and ultimately the rise of dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and Hirohito in the East. They each promised steady employment, adequate food, wealth and prosperity as a nation.

After WW2, Yugoslavia recovered slowly from the ravages of the conflict under the Communist regime led by Tito. WW2 was the most devastating one ever experienced, changing the entire world. It caused the most devastation as the military weapons used were of a superior technology, never before seen, involving more countries than at any other time.

Slovenians fled to neighbouring countries to escape the Communist regime, with its mass killings and lack of freedom of speech or enterprise. Because of the high rate of unemployment, thousands of people relocated in search of better conditions and a new life.

In 1951, Italy and Australia had signed an Assisted Migrants Agreement which financed the passage of refugees and these were sponsored by Catholic organizations. Refugees were temporarily settled in various camps.

Desperation and frustration with conditions which they found themselves in was the catalyst that led to the tears of farewell as the heart rendering decision was made to depart their homeland. Under the cover of darkness, escape over the border, refugees found themselves in the hands of authorities. Questioning as to reasons for escape resulted in internment in one of many camps that had been set up mainly across Italy to await passage to foreign lands. However, if approval was not granted, imprisonment and return to motherland resulted.

What was the main reason for your leaving Slovenia?

Internment in Camps 

Ships Bound for a New Future - A New Life

Arrival on Australian Shores and on to Bonegilla 

Government Work for Immigrants

more coming soon . . .

Liliana Eggleston-Tomažič

Australian Immigration site - some stories: Immigration Bridge Australia

Write a story to the IMMIGRATION PLACE:


Disclaimer:  Participants have given written and oral permissions to use their stories on these web pages.

  Slovenians Reminiscing
     with written permission by Dr Jože Možina

       Tone in Marija Brne
       Angela Dodič
       Albina in Branko Kalc
       Danilo Kreševič
       Jože Košorok
       Anica Lah
       Ivan Legiša
       Anica in Alojz Markič
     Vern Gomizel Moje življenje (in Slovenian)       My Life (in English)
Family Bole
     Helena Leber
     Ivo Leber
Milan Iskra

     Lojze Brgoč

Valentin Lenko

  • Glenda Sluga: Bonegilla "A Place of No Hope"
  • Viktorija Zabukovec: The Second Landing

Helena Leber

Matthew Drolc

Milan Iskra