The Dunera and Queen Mary Internees and their Stories

Welcome to Internment and Beyond: Stories from the Dunera and Queen Mary. The idea for this website and online gallery emerged during the writing of Dunera Lives, a two-volume history of the Dunera and Queen Mary internees (Monash University Publishing, 2018/2020).  The Dunera and Queen Mary brought nearly 3000 internees to Australia in 1940.  Dunera Lives tells a selection of these stories; thousands remain untold.  Some former internees do not regard their lives as noteworthy and have not documented their memories, others see no reason to share deeply personal and often painful histories, and in most cases there are few public traces of these men and women.  While much is known collectively about the Dunera and Queen Mary internees, the bulk of this information comes from a small cohort of their total population – ten per cent or less.  For the other ninety per cent, the lives they led before and after internment remain hidden. 

This site was conceived and established to tell more Dunera and Queen Mary stories, to capture the wonderful words and images of individual lives and so build a fuller picture of these men and women.  We welcome new information and stories, photographs and artworks.  We see this site as a work-in-progress, and will keep developing and expanding it.  Please contact us if you would like to share your artefacts and histories. 

This site serves another purpose.  We have learned that many Dunera and Queen Mary families have in their keeping rich and remarkable archives that document internee life.  Some families have sought advice from Dr Seumas Spark about where they might donate these collections for permanent preservation and safekeeping.  This has led to arrangements with various Australian institutions for the acquisition of Dunera and Queen Mary collections.  Please contact Seumas should you be interested in learning more about depositing your collection with a cultural institution.

We thank the State Library of New South WalesThe Gandel Foundation, the Besen Family Foundation and Monash University for financial support. This site was built with funding from these organisations. We are grateful for their generosity and for their commitment to preserving the histories of the Dunera boys.

The Art

This gallery shows a random selection of artwork from each artist.
For more view the main gallery page.

  • Show All
  • Schonbach
  • Lorraine
  • Henghes
  • Friedeberger
  • Hofmann
  • Wittenberg
  • Fabian
  • Mezulianik

Latest Stories

Team Members

Dr Seumas Spark



Dr Seumas Spark is a co-author of Dunera Lives (two volumes, Monash University Publishing, 2018/2020). His interest in the Dunera and Queen Mary internees was fostered by the late Ken Inglis, a great Australian historian with whom he was privileged to work for several years. Seumas's research interests include the social history of the Second World War, and the modern history of Papua New Guinea.

Kate Garrett

BA (Languages), Master of Translation Studies

Kate Garrett is a NAATI accredited German to English translator, who works with both commercial and private clients. She also reads and translates from Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish, and has a particular interest in the translation of historical documents, poetry and autobiographies from the Second World War. She has had the privilege of working with Seumas Spark and the late Ken Inglis since 2016, and some of her selected translations appear in Dunera Lives: A Visual History.

This site was established by Seumas Spark, Kate Garrett and Georgina Rychner. Seumas and Kate add fresh content regularly, and Kate maintains the site. We publish articles by guest contributors.

Latest News

  • New Release: Paul and Paula

    New Release: Paul and Paula

    22 November, 2023

    Tim McNamara pieces together the incredible story of his friend and mentor, Paul Kurz – engineer, refugee from Vienna and Dunera internee, separated from his wife, Paula, and his mother at the outbreak of World War II and interned in Australia.

    Click here for more information and to purchase your copy today. The book launch will take place on Wednesday, 6 December - book your tickets here.

  • Book Now: MI:WI 3027

    Book Now: MI:WI 3027

    22 October, 2023

    Inspired by the life of Roland Carter (Service No. 3027), the first Ngarrindjeri man to join the Australian Imperial Forces during World War I, MI:WI 3027 tells the story of Carter’s lifelong friendship with Jewish-German ethnologist, Leonhard Adam.

    MI:WI 3027 is running at La Mama Courthouse in Melbourne from November 16 to 26. For more information and to book tickets click here.



  • Farewell Bern Brent

    Farewell Bern Brent

    3 October, 2023

    Bern Brent passed away in September, aged 100.

    "Bern's longevity conferred a sad and perhaps unwanted title. He was the last Dunera boy in Australia, and among the last anywhere... Bern accepted his position with grace, acknowledging the dubious honour as a responsibility rather than a burden, which surely it was. To the best of my knowledge, he never refused a request for an interview, and was diligent in answering questions from scholars and members of the Dunera diaspora," writes Seumas Spark.

    Read the full article, A Dunera Life, here on Inside Story.


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