29
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘The Enemy at Home: German internees in World War 1 Australia’ at The Museum of Sydney

Exhibition dates: 7th May – 11th September 2011

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Many thankx to Arianne Martin for her help and to The Museum of Sydney for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Paul Dubotzki
Cinema at Holsworthy, showing American comedy One Thousand Dollars

© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

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Paul Dubotzki
Barracks in which the internees lived

© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

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Paul Dubotzki
Max Herz, third from left, directs the German classic Minna von Barnhelm by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, at the Trial Bay theatre

1917
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

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Paul Dubotzki
Paul Dubotzki and Fellow Inmates Look Out From a Make-shift Hut on Torrens Island

© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

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Paul Dubotzki
Boxer Frank Bungardy, third from left, who established a boxing and self-defence school at Holsworthy

© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

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“Recently discovered photographs of Australia’s little known internment camps operating during WWI, reveal how the internees created an extraordinary life behind the barbed wire. The photographs, of remarkable artistic quality, show groups of civilian detainees whose only crime was to be of German or Austrian descent.

Taken by interned photographer Paul Dubotzki between 1915 and 1919, the photographs reveal how the 7,000 internees built for themselves a thriving working economy and cultural life that included all sorts of businesses and trades including newspapers, cafes, clubs, sporting events and elaborate theatre productions.

Dubotzki’s stunning photographs feature in a new book and an exhibition opening 7 May at the Museum of Sydney, shedding new light on this fascinating era in Australia’s war time history. The Enemy at Home explores life inside the three internment camps at Holsworthy in Sydney’s south west, Berrima in the Southern Highlands and Trial Bay on the NSW mid-north coast.

These so-called “German concentration camps” led to the destruction of the German Australian community, the largest non-British ethnic community in Australia before the war. The unlikely prisoners of war came from all walks of life and many had lived in Australia for decades, including beer baron Edmund Resch and acclaimed orthopaedic surgeon Dr Max Herz. Many were transformed by internment, such as businessman Kurt Wiese who developed his passion for drawing and later became famous in the USA as book illustrator including the original Bambi book and the children’s classic The Story About Ping.

Nadine Helmi has pieced together Dubotzki’s story after a chance discovery led her to Germany and the discovery of his entire photography collection. Helmi has collaborated with the Migration Heritage Centre and Gerhard Fischer, UNSW Associate Professor of German Studies who has published widely on Australian migration history.

The Enemy at Home is a timely reminder of an almost forgotten chapter in Australia’s history, raising questions about the past and about how we view and portray multicultural Australia today.”

Press release from The Museum of Sydney

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Paul Dubotzki
A camp kitchen garden

© Berrima District Historical Society and Family History Society

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Paul Dubotzki
Deserted Trial Bay Gaol barracks after the sudden departure of internees

© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

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Paul Dubotzki
Internees perform a breathtaking acrobatic number in the Holsworthy gym

c. 1918
© Dubotzki collection, Germany

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Photographer unknown
A young internee strikes a tableau vivant warrior pose
c. 1915 – 1919
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

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Paul Dubotzki
Walter Himmelmann as the leading lady in Der Weg zur Holle (‘The path to hell’). The theatre society founded by the Trial Bay internees

c. 1918

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The Museum of Sydney
cnr Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney
T: 02 9251 5988

Open daily 9.30am – 5pm

The Museum of Sydney website 

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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