National Archives of Australia/Australian Historical Association postgraduate scholar, 2018-19
From War Zones to New Homes: A Longitudinal Study of Refugee Resettlement and Experiences in Queensland.
Jessica Stroja is a PhD Candidate at Griffith University, where her thesis focuses on experiences of conflict and migration, particularly Displaced Persons and children resettled in Queensland following the Second World War. Her First Class Honours research looked at Australian responses to the Finnish Winter War. As a historian, she specialises in the areas of migration, conflict and local history, with an interest in community engagement with refugee and migrant experiences. Jessica maintains a strong interest in museums and heritage, and is the volunteer Resident Historian at Historic Ormiston House, a historic home in the Redlands region, where she works with the community to provide beneficial research outcomes for both the historic home and its visitors.
Following the Second World War, the mass displacement of refugees in Europe was the largest refugee crisis that the world had experienced to date. The resettlement of Displaced Persons in Australia during this period was also the largest wave of migration the country had experienced up to that point in time. Jessica's project focuses on the resettlement of Displaced Persons and their children in Queensland following the Second World War. In particular, this project addresses the resettlement experiences of Polish, Latvian and Ukrainian Displaced Persons who were resettled in various Queensland regions.
This project assesses the significance of displacement, encampment and violence for refugees in non-culturally diverse locations, and considers the way in which Displaced Persons' involvement with the Department of Immigration and other government agencies influenced their resettlement experiences and memories. With a particular focus on children who were resettled as refugees in Queensland during this period, the project highlights the legacy of these experiences for families and children, and reveals the way in which this legacy continues to have ongoing implications for refugees throughout resettlement.
Using records in the collection of the National Archives of Australia, combined with fifty newly recorded oral histories, Jessica intends to access records surrounding the resettlement of Displaced Persons in Queensland, and official policies related to their early resettlement experiences. This will allow the project to develop a greater understanding of the ongoing effects of displacement and resettlement in areas of low cultural and linguistic diversity and, in particular, the way in which these circumstances and events affect various domains of life for refugees.