Berrima, New South Wales (1914–19)

The disused sandstone gaol in the Southern Highlands town of Berrima was reopened in 1914 as an internment camp for German internees and prisoners of war. The 400 or so residents were made up of German ship's officers and sailors who had been in Australia at the outbreak of war, prisoners of war taken from the SMS Emden after its battle with the HMAS Sydney, and other Germans deported from British colonies.

The internees lived in the stone gaol cells and additional barracks, but were allowed to move freely within a two-mile radius of the gaol during the day. This allowed them to build small huts and grow flowers and vegetables on the banks of the nearby Wingecarribee River. The river also provided a popular recreation area.

The Berrima camp was closed in 1919 after the end of World War I.

Roll call of internees at Berrima (NAA: A1861, 4303)
Boating and swimming on the Wingecarribee River (NAA: A1861, 4303)


The National Archives holds records about the Berrima camp. A selection of these is listed below.

Collection references

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018