|dc.description.abstract||The mass displacement of refugees that occurred following the Second World War was the largest refugee crisis the world had ever experienced. The resettlement of these Displaced Persons (DPs) and families was a complex process for those who sought lives removed from the trauma of wartime Europe. Australian involvement in the Displaced Persons Resettlement Scheme included the resettlement of numerous individuals and families across the country. Yet, the density of settlement varied greatly between states, and Queensland’s post-war migrant and refugee intake was the lowest of the nation. The resettlement conditions for Displaced Persons in Queensland reflected a stark contrast to resettlement experiences in other Australian locations.
Employment of Displaced Persons in Queensland was frequently structured around seasonal work projects, and was not sustained by industry in the same manner as many interstate locations such as Sydney and Melbourne. The lack of dedicated Reception and Training Centres for migrants and Displaced Persons in Queensland substantially altered the training and facilities available to refugees during their initial accommodation in the State, and many families became separated as a result of accommodation and work requirements. As the resettlement of Displaced Persons continued across Queensland’s numerous regions, many families also found themselves in areas of relatively low cultural diversity.
No comprehensive study has previously been conducted to analyse the resettlement of Displaced Persons and their children in Queensland. This project makes combined use of more than 10 000 archival files and newly collected oral history interviews with more than 50 Displaced Persons in order to understand the resettlement experiences of refugees in regions of low cultural and linguistic diversity. Focussing directly on the experiences of Polish, Latvian and Ukrainian families, this is the first work that systematically and exclusively assesses the resettlement of Displaced Persons in Queensland. This project contributes new knowledge to the study of displacement and refugee experiences of resettlement. In particular, it provides new insight into the resettlement of refugees in regions of low cultural and linguistic diversity, and the way in which resettlement is influenced by prior experiences of displacement and encampment.
This thesis considers the displacement, encampment and resettlement of Polish, Latvian and Ukrainian Displaced Persons with children who were resettled in Queensland between 1947 and 1959. Considering the resettlement of Poles, Latvians and Ukrainians creates insight into the experiences of refugees who have been displaced having previously undergone sequential and compounded experiences of oppression and violence over decades. Drawing on the consequences of this, the thesis also considers Displaced Persons who were unable to identify with their nationality or citizenship of birth due to multiple territory and border changes. The personal and social impact of this was accentuated by their resettlement in areas lacking established migrant communities. Without such communities, locals had no capacity to understand or recognise refugees’ compounded and enduring loss.
This project brings to light the ways in which displacement and encampment form legacies that continue to resonate across decades of resettlement. Such experiences not only became an historical trauma in their own right, but became a lens through which refugees came to understand their subsequent experiences in Queensland. These events were understood differently through their refraction via the lens of familial and social networks that developed in Queensland. This knowledge has contemporary implications for understanding the likely impact of the long-term encampment and incarceration of refugees globally. It also offers ways to consider the resettlement of refugees in Australia and other locations that may not have established migrant communities and support networks.||