Monday, August 08, 2005

DIMIA riverside resort

See Maribyrnong !!! Free visit with Google Maps !!! See aerial view of one of Australia's detention centres !!!

Tucked away in an Industrial precinct in the middle of residential Melbourne, a home away from home, Maribyrnong, you know you want to go there.

Maribyrnong Detention Centre
53 Hampstead Road
Maidstone VIC 3012

A converted warehousing complex replete with razor wire for the storage of refugees, the mentally ill and goodness knows how many political dissidents (not Australian dissidents off course, heaven forbid ! No. Only the ones who tried to escape from Iran and so forth).

Speak with your local immigration agent now, and book fares on the next Indonesian fishing vessel !!! Enjoy the relaxing slish slosh of churning ocean waves and pitter patter of rice granules upon the deck, as wraithlike and motion sick children churn up their last supper. Maribyrnong !!! The trip is worth it.

Thankfully, I was able to find directions to Maribyrnong from a locally traveling journalist;

To see the detention centre, you cross the Maribyrnong (river) and turn right after Franco Cozzo's. Franco's beds are the Cadillacs of sleeping vehicles. If they had horns, and some of them probably do, they'd play the Moonlight Sonata. Head towards Flemington racecourse, turn left at Ballarat Road. The detention centre is in Hampstead Road. It's a flat, hard western suburbs landscape. Lots of factories, some new, some closed down. It actually looks more prosperous than it did 10 years ago.

The detention centre is hidden from the road, although a sign plainly declares its presence. Opposite is a warehouse with brightly painted windows. On the right is student accommodation. The kids I see are Asian. There are a couple of beat-up cars in the car park, including one with "Courier" written on its side. It's sitting on blocks, its four wheels gone.

From the road all you see of the detention centre is a wire gate and the sign that also lists visiting hours. On your left is a large complex of fawn buildings which declare themselves bastions of private enterprise but are otherwise featureless.

Behind is a large communications tower with lots of dishes. You drive down a road with a high wall on one side and the university flats on the other. I am still in a place I recognise as Australia. Then the road bends slightly left and you meet a wall of stainless steel spikes topped with rolls of razor wire making a thin line of jagged zeroes across the sky. Drive by Maribyrnong

And with these instructions, a combination of street maps (not much help, Hampstead Road is un-numbered and Maribyrnong Detention centre somewhere among the surrounding pale yellow "unnamed" areas. Unnamed that is, apart from helpful fine print text reading "unnamed") and Google Maps, I was able to locate what I suspect must be Maribyrnong - from the air !!! Or at least, where Maribyrnong ought to be. I'm thinking it is either the tan rectangular area (size of football field?) or the sheds just below it. If you look carefully you can see the communications tower (north east corner of tan rectangle) and what I suppose is the wall, as described by Martin Flanagan, quite clearly.

Here it is;

And here it is as it appears nestled within the craddle of Melbournian civility (follow blue arrow);

It's one of those statements about 21st century Australian society. Right in the middle of the working class belt in Australia's second biggest population centre, a detention centre. Not a prison, a "detention centre". Where people who have committed no crime, are detained. Once upon a time, we called them "immigration detention centres". Because we were lead to believe only wandering migrants were kept there. But now Australia's public have learned the ugly bitter truth. These places are depots for storing live bodies in, migratory and local. These places, are 21st century concentration camps and at least one of them exists, camouflaged, in an industrial pocket, within one of our 21st century Australian cities.

On an "upper" note, DIMIA have announced they are removing some of the trimmings, on a somber note - Australia is still building centers offshore. Why? Who is Howard hoping to hold there? Banned religious brethren?

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