Wacol Migrant Centre – 1949 – 1987

Stage Number: MBSH.05.06.21

Group: Western

Local Study Area: Wacol-Richlands-Inala

Epoch: Late 20th Century

Street Address: 3068 Ipswich Road, Darra

Latitude & Longitude: -27.57991667,152.93369444

Time Link: 1949

Map Link: 1950

Image Time Point: 1950

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In the immediate post-War World years, refugees from war-torn Europe were resettled in different places across Australia. By 1949, it is estimated that one-tenth of the Australian Army’s Camp Columbia area became the Wacol East Displaced Persons Holding Camp. In the early 1950s the camp was developed to become the Wacol Migrant Centre, the biggest in Queensland. In 1952, the 1600 capacity of the camp was exceeded, reaching close to 2000. The initial post-war refugee program was transformed into a larger program of re-settling migrants from the United Kingdom and southern European countries. In 1975 the first Vietnamese refugees came to Wacol. From 1976, Aboriginal Hostels Ltd. used the southern section of the migrant camp to support people leaving the missions. By the 1980s the converted timber Army huts were aging and a different model for receiving immigrants was evolving. The Wacol Migrant Centre and the disused Willie Mackenzie Hostel were closed in 1987. The Prisons Department took over the site and the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre was opened in 1992.


“Wacol remembered: 1949-1987” (2003) [compiled by: Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Branch, DIMIA, Qld]; Vicki Mynott, ‘Wacol, Wolston, Woogaroo (1823-2014), Vol 1,’ Inala Heights: Richlands, Inala and Suburbs History Group Inc., 2014.

Image Citations

Map References

QSA. QSA Series ID 2058 Moreton District Maps – A Series. 6 miles to the inch. Moreton District. 6 miles to the inch. Survey Office, Brisbane. 634953