In 1947 the United Nations created the International Refugee Organization to resettle non-German Displaced Persons overseas. Australia signed an agreement with the IRO and received over 170,000 refugees. The largest group – 60,000 – were Poles. Most came from DP camps in Germany but others arrived from Africa and India. Migration officers also recruited Polish ex-servicemen in Britain and Africa.
The first Poles to come to Australia after World War II were Polish Rats of Tobruk in 1947. The first civilians arrived in 1949.
Confined for years mostly in camps in Germany, they formed Polish communities, helped struggling families and organizations like orphanages in Poland, built new lives in Australia and preserved their own Polish identity whilst contributing to the diverse multiculturism of Australia.
In August, 1980 nation-wide strikes broke out in Poland. The strikers formed the Solidarity union movement declared legal by the courts. The Communist regime declared marshal law in an attempt to quash freedom aspirations. The Solidarity wave of Polish migration dates from this period.
Annual pilgrimage to PHRCM.