After the surrender of Japan there were some 100,000 European people in the Japanese camps, many of them were close to starvation.

An agreement between Australia and Netherlands East Indies governments led to the formation of the Netherlands Indies Welfare Organisation for Evacuees (NIWOE). The organisation emerged out of the experience of 60 Dutch who were evacuated to Brisbane in March 1945 from Japanese interment camps after General MacArthur had freed the Philippines.The Netherlands East Indies Government in Exile in collaboration with the Australian Red Cross, organised their stay. When it became apparent that many more civil internees and POWs from the Netherlands East Indies would need rehabilitation in foreign friendly lands, these organisations and ex-internees decided to set up a welcome committee.

A massive rescue action was launched from Archerfield Airport and other airports in Australia to drop off food and medicines at the camps. Because of the extreme unrest between Indonesians and Europeans , the Japanese were order to guard the camps until Allied troops were able to take over the command.

In the meantime it was decided to evacuees those people that required more direct medical attention. The Australian Government offered to bring evacuees to Australia for a 6 month recuperation period. Initial it was thought that as many as 50,000 individuals needed such assistance in the end however it was around 9,000 people. They were looked after in the various medical and recuperation centres around the country.

Many of them ended up in Camp Columbia in Brisbane where the Netherlands East Indies Government in Exile had their headquarters.

The subject, especially in relation to Western Australia, is also discussed in this book from Dr Nonja Peters

This item below from The West Australian shows a photograph of members of the Netherlands Indies Welfare Organisation for Evacuees and mentions the ‘imminent repatriation’ of Dutch evacuees from Perth. Some of these evacuees were children, who had spent some months at Fairbridge Farm School Pinjarra.

See also:

Dirk, Kitty and Arnold Drok: Internment, resilience and survival

Captain Adrianus Cornelis Marinus (Hoffie) Hofman

Koningsberger-Dozy, M (Netherlands East Indies Evacuees Welfare Organisation)

Correspondence written by a former Dutch welfare officer detailing the establishment of the evacuees rest camp in Coolangatta. the camp was used by Dutch residents of the NIWOE as a means of recovering from their experiences of internment under the Japanese, 1942-1945 (Australian War Memorial)