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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: idc (10)

Address to a haggis?

Author
by Meg
Publish date
25 January 2014
Comments
Comments (2)

As we rise on the morning of January 26th to celebrate our national day, Australia Day, on the opposite side of the globe another proud national celebration will also be getting underway – the Burns Night Supper in bonnie Scotland.

Robbie, or Rabbie, Burns (1759 – 1796) was a Scottish bard (poet) and one of the nation’s most celebrated figures, and each year Scots both at home and abroad commemorate his life and work on the evening of his birthday on January 25th.

Robert Burns Robert Burns
Image: Alexander Nasmyth (artist)
Source: Scottish National Portrait Gallery
 

Burns Night Suppers are usually organised and hosted by Burns Clubs, and in their most formal incarnations they have taken on a prescribed form – the evening begins with the piping in of the guests, who when seated then share in a reading of the Selkirk Grace, a prayer of thanks for the forthcoming meal. The prayer reads, in Scots:

"Some hae meat and cannae eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit."

Haggis at a Burns Supper Haggis at a Burns Supper
Image: Kim Traynor
Source: Kim Traynor
 

The piping then resumes to welcome the haggis which arrives in a procession accompanied by the chef, the piper and the reader nominated to address the haggis. Once settled on the table, the reader delivers the Address to the haggis, a poem composed by Burns in 1786 in honour of the dish. The address is followed by a toast to the haggis, and finally the “great chieftain o’ the pudding-race” is served alongside its traditional companions “neeps” and “tatties” (turnips and potatoes) with a dash of whisky sauce (often just neat whisky), and the feast begins.

Haggis, neeps and tatties Haggis, neeps and tatties
Image: Meg Lomax
Source: Meg Lomax
 

Other examples of Burns’ works are read throughout the evening, and the celebration traditionally draws to a close with a rousing rendition of Burns’ famous song Auld Lang Syne.

Appreciation for Burns’ words remains a strong feature of Scottish ex-patriot communities across the world and the Scottish community in Victoria is no exception – in January 2014, the Robert Burns Club of Melbourne will continue the tradition by hosting its 64th annual Burns Supper. And for those luck folk who identify as Scottish Australians, the haggis feast of the night before might be followed up with the (not too dissimilar) national dish of Australia the next day – the good old Aussie meat pie.

What was life like for my ancestors?

Author
by Jo
Publish date
12 January 2014
Comments
Comments (2)

I am working on my family history and I want to know what my ancestors did when they arrived.

One of the questions we are frequently asked by family history researchers in the Immigration Discovery Centre is 'what did they do?' Researchers often know how and when their ancestors arrived into Victoria, but they are hoping to paint the picture of what they were doing and get an idea of the social, economic and cultural context of a period in time. To fill in these gaps, there are a number of great online resources that can help us to paint that picture.

Of course the Museum Victoria collection holds objects and images that can get you started with your research. The History and Technology Collections Online is a great source for online research. There are almost 80 000 records available online for you to explore, including many images and objects. You can also search the Biggest Family Album Collection for images of Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, either by suburb name or era.

Italian Community Gathering, Wonthaggi, Victoria, circa 1929: The Biggest Family Album in Australia Members of the Wonthaggi Italian community. They are standing in front of a wooden building. A man at the back has his arm raised holding a what appears to be a large flower like an arum liliy over the head of a woman in front of him.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Trove is the National Library of Australia’s online digital repository. It is free to access and equally easy to navigate. You can search newspapers, journals, images, maps, diaries, and in some cases, organisations. A search can be as simple as a family name, or suburb, or district, to more complex searches including exact date searches or phrase searches. 

The State Library of Victoria also holds a lot of useful information to help with this picture. They have put together a list of resources under their Victoria’s early history, 1803 – 1851 guide online. 

Lebanese ID Card, Lebanese migrant, 1975 Lebanese ID Card for taxi driver Youssef Eid, 1975
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Of course, the Public Records Office Victoria can also shed some light on what was happening at the time your ancestors arrives through their many and varied records. If you wanted to know if your ancestor owned, leased or rented a house or land, PROV can help! The PROV Land Records Guide can help, as can The Parish and Township Working Plans.

For more contemporary records, try searching the National Archives of Australia.  The NAA is responsible for caring for Australian Government records. The ten million items they hold cover everything from migration to transport and military service, as well as much more. 

Local historical societies can also be a great source of information. Many of them will hold records relating to people or events in the history of an area that you may not be able to find elsewhere. Australian Heritage Online is a good place to start.

Man Leaning on Luggage Trunk, Awaiting Detention as Enemy Alien, 1939: Melbourne's Biggest Family Album Man in suit and hat, leaning on his luggage trunk, with other cases around him. He is in a park.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

And finally, as well as all of these great online resources, sometimes nothing beats sitting down with a book, or walking through a neighbourhood, or asking a local about what things were like when they were children, or if they remember when...

Links

Destination Australia

Sands and MacDougall Melbourne Directories

Greek journeys at Bonegilla Heritage Park

Author
by Alex
Publish date
1 September 2013
Comments
Comments (0)

Alex Dellios, one of our Immigration Museum volunteers, recently re-visited Bonegilla as part of her ongoing research for her thesis 'Bonegilla Migrant Camp: Constructing Public History, Negotiating Collective Memories' at the University of Melbourne.

Bonegilla Heritage Park's newest exhibition From Petronis and Ekaterina to Peter and Catherine: Greek Journeys Through Bonegilla touches on more than just the Bonegilla experience of Greek migrants—it subtly explores issues of Greek migrant identity and adjustment in post-war Australia. Open since December 2011, but neglected by this researcher until now, this exhibit is small but surprising. A combination of images, text and objects fill one of the larger rooms in one of Block 19's huts. Information is offered (in both Greek and English) on themes like 'The Greek Farmers Project', 'Building a Greek Community', and 'Sponsorship vs Assisted Migrant Scheme'.

From Petronis and Ekaterina to Peter and Catherine: Greek Journeys Through Bonegilla From Petronis and Ekaterina to Peter and Catherine: Greek Journeys Through Bonegilla
Image: Alex Dellios
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Uniquely, the exhibition does not shy away from an exploration of the scheme and government policy that shaped post-war migrants' settlement experiences. The personalised voice is provided through the testimony of migrants themselves—short and snappy quotes appear on blocks throughout the room. The objects alone seem incongruous, items that often come to mind when building Greek stereotypes in Australia: namely, the bouzouki. Other items also appear behind glass cabinets, presumably donated by Greeks ex-residents.

From Petronis and Ekaterina to Peter and Catherine: Greek Journeys Through Bonegilla From Petronis and Ekaterina to Peter and Catherine: Greek Journeys Through Bonegilla
Image: Alex Dellios
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The second, smaller room contains an unexpected gem—a collection of remarkable miniatures by Tasos Kolokotronis of his village in northern Greece. All of them are created from his memory. They're very detailed miniatures, of village houses, a church, a school, and even the White Tower of Thessaloniki.

From Petronis and Ekaterina to Peter and Catherine: Greek Journeys Through Bonegilla From Petronis and Ekaterina to Peter and Catherine: Greek Journeys Through Bonegilla
Image: Alex Dellios
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Overall, Bonegilla's newest addition is small but enjoyable exhibition that cleverly explores the story of Greek post-war migration. And it appears at a site for which the Melbourne Greek community, especially through the Bonegilla Ex-Residents Association, have displayed unparalleled fondness.

The exhibition, like the rest of the Heritage Park is free and open seven days a week.

Links

Bonegilla Migrant Experience

The Bonegilla Story

Destination Australia

The luck of the Irish

Author
by Jo
Publish date
8 December 2012
Comments
Comments (0)

November 18th 2012 saw the Irish come together once again at the Immigration Museum. The Immigration Museum festivals are always well received by the community involved and the community at large, and the Irish festival was certainly no exception.

Doors opened at 10am, and the queue began shortly after! There was a formal welcome and opening from Mr Leo Varadkar TD, Ireland's Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and HE Noel White, Ambassador of Ireland.

The view outside the Immigration Mueusem The queue patiently waiting outside the Immigration Museum for the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri
 

There was singing and there was dancing, and there was more singing! The Irish Language Association Choir hypnotised us with their amazing sound and the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance performed to a packed courtyard. No Irish festival is complete without an Irish jig, and Christine Ayers School for Irish Dancing performed the honours.

Irish dancers Some of the Irish dancers who performed for the crowds at the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri
 

Inside, there were tea and biscuits made by Comhaltas and the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance (they certainly were busy!). Upstairs there were craft activities for the children, making family trees or glittery Claddagh crowns. There were various representatives from the Irish community throughout the museum giving out information about organisations and associations celebrating all things Irish.

The crowd enjoying the performance on the Main Stage The crowd outside enjoying one of the many performances at the Irish Festival
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri
 

The Immigration Discovery Centre hosted a family history workshop with Phillip Moore from the Celtic Club's Cultural Heritage Committee and the Immigration Museum shop was selling Irish treats to our visitors.

Of course P J O'Brien's made an appearance - Although they didn't bring the Guinness, they did bring the some delicious treats for our visitors, as did Paddy's Meats. All of this was complemented with the amazing and moving exhibition, Leaving Dublin.

One of the performances for the Irish Festival Crowds enjoying one of the many performaces for the Irish Festival at the Immigration Museum
Image: Tatiana Mauri
Source: Tatiana Mauri
 

The success of a festival day can be seen in the faces of our visitors and the crowds patiently waiting on Flinders Street to come in and enjoy the festivities. We had so much fun that we thought we'd do it again. KidsFest in January 2013 will have an Irish theme, so if you missed the Irish Festival, check out KidsFest! More details can be found here.

Talkin' 'bout my generation

Author
by Max
Publish date
14 July 2012
Comments
Comments (3)

Your Question: First generation Australians?

I was wondering (well I’ve been wondering for a while now)... if my parents brought my family over to Australia, who are classed as “first generation Australian”? Is it my children or both my parents and my brother, sister and I being the first generation? Thanks, Vera

Until you asked that question, I thought I was a first generation Australian because my Mum and Dad were born in Holland and I was born here. I liked being a first generation Australian, there's something 'fresh' and 'new', almost 'original' about it.

  Gin family Citizenship ceremony Vera (second on the right) and her first generation family at their citizenship ceremony in 1993
Image: Godfrey Gin
Source: Godfrey Gin
 

But no, now I find I've been relegated to second place by people like you and your family!

Family photo Two first and three second generation Australians. Mum and Dad with their boys.Traralgon,1963.
Source: Max Strating
 

That's right, if you were born overseas but now live in Australia, you are a first generation Australian. If you have children, they will become the second generation (like me). But don't just take my word for it; here is what the Australian Bureau of Statistics says on their Population characteristics: Ancestry of Australia's population webpage;

  • First generation Australians are people living in Australia who were born overseas.
  • Second generation Australians are Australian-born people living in Australia, with at least one overseas-born parent.

First generation Australians enjoying the great “Aussie” outdoors First generation Australians enjoying the great “Aussie” outdoors
Image: Godfrey Gin
Source: Godfrey Gin
 

So there you have it, you are one of life's winners coming first – generationally at least.

Got a question? Ask us!

Old Customs House

Author
by Kate B
Publish date
25 June 2012
Comments
Comments (4)

Your Question: Does the museum hold any images of the restoration of Old Customs House?

In 1998, the Immigration Museum opened in Old Customs House. Since its completion in 1876, considerable changes had been made to the building's interior. Customs officers vacated in 1965 and the building was used as Melbourne offices for the Commonwealth Parliament. Linoleum tiles had replaced original floors, office partitions disguised the original layout, plasterwork was cracked and paintwork peeling.

Customs House interior Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Much work was required to restore the building and to adapt the facilities so it could function as a contemporary museum. Consequently, many of the twentieth century additions were removed and architectural features such as tiled floors, moulded ceilings and timber details were restored.

Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Customs House renovation: Immigration Museum Customs House renovation: Immigration Museum
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The images from the Museum Victoria collection demonstrate some of this restoration process as well as the development of some of the Immigration Museum's original exhibits (many of which have now changed).

Old Customs House exterior being renovated Old Customs House exterior being renovated
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Old Customs House exterior being renovated Old Customs House exterior being renovated
Source: Museum Victoria
 

To see the Old Customs House as it looked as the offices for the Commonwealth Parliament, the National Archives of Australia have a series of images of the building during those years. You can search for these images on Picture Australia or on the National Archives website.

Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum. Long Room with finished tesselated flooring Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum. Long Room with finished tesselated flooring
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum. Construction of The Boat in the Long Room Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum. Construction of The Boat in the Long Room
Source: Museum Victoria
  

Links

Old Customs House

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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