by Christine Webster
Loveday Internment Camp Project facilitator

On March 6, about 80 primary school students from Cobdogla and Barmera in SA’s Riverland gained a valuable insight into the history behind the Loveday Internment Camp and Tatura Internment Camp in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley.

This teaching program followed a symposium and exhibition titled German World War II internees from Persia and Their Fate in Australia on March 4 and 5.

The event at Barmera was convened and curated by Western Sydney University Adjunct Professor Pedram Khosronejad in collaboration with the  Loveday Internment Camp Committee and Berri Barmera Council.

The students were from Cobdogla Primary School and Barmera’s St Joseph’s Primary School.

The children of World War II German internees from Iran, formerly Persia, who were detained at Loveday near Barmera and Tatura spoke about their parents’ experiences.

They also shared anecdotes about growing up in Australia after World War II.

Among the speakers at the workshop was Helga Griffin, 87, who was interned as a child with her father, mother and two brothers at Camp 3 at Tatura.

Ms Griffin is the only female German internee from Iran that is still alive.

She is an academic who lives in Canberra and has published extensively.

Ms Griffin told the primary school students about growing up in detention.

She still has the recorder she learnt to play, while she was at Tatura and she played a tune to students at the workshop.

The students also heard from John Wulff of Sydney and Doris Frank and Ingrid Stephen both of Melbourne whose fathers were all interned at Loveday during World War II.

Riverland historian Rosemary Gower also gave the Cobdogla and Barmera primary school students an insight into the history behind the Loveday Internment Camp.

The exhibition of photographs and memorabilia from the families of the German internees from Persia and portraying life at Loveday during World War II featured as part of the symposium was also on display to the children.

Berri Barmera Library Manager Peter Ison also showed a film about the internment camp to the students and encouraged them to discuss the information they had learnt.

Helga Griffin, 87, of Canberra who was detained in Victoria’s Tatura Internment Camp as a child, plays the recorder to Cobdogla Primary School students.

Source: Berri Barmera Library

Riverland historian Rosemary Gower tells students from Barmera’s St Joseph’s Primary School about the role the Loveday Internment Camp played during World War II.

Source: Berri Barmera Library

The daughter of a Loveday Internment Camp internee, Ingrid Stephen of Melbourne, Helga Griffin, 87, of Canberra, a former internee from Tatura in Victoria and Doris Frank of Melbourne whose father was interned at Loveday told primary school children from Cobdogla and Barmera about their experiences during and after World War II.

Source: Berri Barmera Library