AusRom Recommends: Victoria Purman’s The Last of the Bonegilla Girls
In Victoria’s own words, “this really is the book of my heart: it’s based on the real-life journey of my grandparents from war-torn Europe to Australia after the war.”
The Last of the Bonegilla Girls
The war is over, but her fight for a new life in Australia is about to begin…
1954: When sixteen-year-old Hungarian Elizabeta arrives in Australia with her family, she is hoping to escape the hopelessness of life as a refugee in post-war Germany, a life where every day was lived in fear.
Her first stop is the Bonegilla Migrant Camp on the banks of the Murray in rural Victoria, a temporary home for thousands of new arrivals, all looking for work and a better life. There, Elizabeta becomes firm friends with the feisty Greek Vasiliki; quiet Italian Iliana; and the adventurous Frances, the daughter of the camp’s director.
In this vibrant and growing country, the Bonegilla girls rush together towards a life that seems full of promise, even as they cope with the legacy of war, the oppressive nature of family tradition and ever-present sorrow. So when a ghost from the past reaches out for Elizabeta and threatens to pull her back into the shadows, there is nothing that her friends wouldn’t do to keep her safe: no action too extreme, no confidence too dark.
But secrets have a way of making themselves known and lies have a way of changing everything they touch. Can the Bonegilla girls defeat their past? Or has it finally come to claim them?