Pair of white canvas shorts made for Dimka Stojkovic in a Displaced Persons Camp in Kassel, West Germany, circa 1947. The shorts were made from the military tents used in the camp. She also wore these shorts during her during her journey to Melbourne, and her Australian born daughter, Nada Stojkovic, also wore these shorts while living in Melbourne.

Dimka Stojkovic (nee Dimitrinka Nikolova Caraschobanova) was born in Bulgaria in 1919. After long and harrowing wartime experiences in German labour camps, she met her future husband Vojislav Stojkovic, a captured soldier from the former Yugoslavia, now Serbia. They ended up in the same refugee camp in West Germany, and were married there in 1947.

The couple migrated to Melbourne via Naples on the Protea in 1948. They went directly to Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre in Albury, although they both quickly found work in Melbourne. In 1952 they had a daughter, Nada, and in 1956 another daughter, Lily. They purchased a house in Footscray in the 1950s and took in many boarders, mostly recently arrived migrants. Dimka worked at the Bradmill Cotton Mill and then the Myer Cafeteria. Dimka died in 1998

Physical Description

Pair of white canvas female shorts, featuring two slit side pockets and two pleats at front. There are four cream plastic buttons down left hand side of the shorts. There are two darts at the back and the shorts are fully hemmed.


This item forms part of the Stojkovic family collection which represents the experiences of thousands of displaced persons and refugees from post World War II Europe and their efforts to survive both during the war and afterwards. It also illustrates the challenges faced by these migrants on arrival in Australia as they attempted to begin new lives often with limited English and little support.

These shorts are also a rare example of clothing that was made in one of the many post World War II displaced persons camps in Europe which have survived and are well provenanced. They represent the skill, ingenuity and requirement to 'make do' in the basic conditions in which people lived, often for extended periods of time.

More Information