Internees’ Projects at Trial Bay Gaol


This photo from the museum at Trial Bay Gaol at Arakoon near South West Rocks during World War I shows a small sample of the fine craftwork created by the “enemy aliens” (as they were called.) There were exhibitions and displays within the gaol of such work, as well as photographs and paintings.

This creativity was undertaken as a way to dispel boredom in the gaol. The Germans had many business activities including cafes, trades, a canteen, restaurant and market gardens. They also pursued avenues of self-improvement like educational classes (languages, maritime subjects, business etc), as well as recreational activities like sport, swimming, fishing and producing theatre and orchestral performances.

In my book ‘Run Away Home’, a main character Gustav Becker is involved in sport and theatre productions, as well as earning an income as a watchmaker.

He has a secret romance with a local girl – and the consequences of this love affair have tragic consequences through the generations which collide in a exciting climax with Stella, our contemporary teenage runaway.

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