Which Way 18d - Erasing the Camp


Manus: Erasing the Camp

The Lombrum camp cleared. Buildings have been removed. Flattened earth is in the foreground. A few fences remain in the background along with some trees. A stray dog wanders around in the centre.

[imagecaption] Remains of former Oscar and Delta Compound, Lombrum, Manus, March 2018. A depopulated landscape shows some cleared land with a few palm trees and other plants in the foreground. Machinery, a large bin and part of a building can be seen in the background.Remains of former Foxtrot Compound, Lombrum, Manus, March 2018. Behind a anti-climb steel mesh fence one historical building stands in the foreground along with a single Nissen hut in the background.Remaining buildings, former Foxtrot compound, Lombrum, Manus, March 2018. [/imagecaption]


Following the siege in October 2017, and the forced eviction of the men from the prison at Lombrum to the prisons in Lorengau, the camp was physically erased. Three buildings remain in the middle of Foxtrot Compound; all other evidence of the past 4 years has been removed. The accommodation units, the murals painted on doors and walls, the fences through which hundreds of men gazed, searching for freedom, have all been dismantled. The policy that produced these physical markers, however, remains largely intact.

The Manus prison camp has been well documented by the people who were detained there. The men can likely still identify where their rooms were, where they queued for meals, where they protested and where they witnessed their friends die. The break-up of ‘Australia’s Guantanamo’ amounts to another attempt to erase a chapter of Australia’s colonial history. Like the others, however, it has not succeeded.


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