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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: migration (4)

Victoria's Malay Community

Author
by Nicole D
Publish date
23 April 2012
Comments
Comments (1)

Your Question: I’ve just returned from Malaysia and am curious about the history of the Malay community in Victoria. Do you have some resources you can recommend regarding on this topic and Malay cultures in general?

The Malay community in Australia is diverse, with people from a number of ethnic backgrounds and religions that reflect the diversity of Malaysia itself. The culture of the region that we today call Malaysia, which also includes parts of Borneo, has been shaped by interactions between the Malay, Arab, Chinese, Indian, European and South East Asian peoples from the middle of the 15th century. Intermarriage between people of various cultures from this early period, plus influxes of later Chinese, Indian and European settlers led to an ethnically diverse population, which is still obvious in the country today and is reflected in the Malay community in Australia.

Students from the Malaysian Students Association take part in Orientation Week, RMIT, February 2001. Students from the Malaysian Students Association take part in Orientation Week, RMIT, February 2001.
Image: Jun Siew Goh / Photographer: Unknown
Source: Copyright Malaysian Students Association 2001
 

The first stop for anyone wanting to do research on the Malaysian community in Australia is Immigration Museum’s Origins website. It tells us a little about the history of Malaysian immigration to Australia, as well as statistics from census data on the demographics of the Victorian Malaysian community.

Immigration from the Malaysia actually began in the mid 19th century and Malay workers were involved in the pearling industry, trepang, mining, agriculture, including cane fields. European descended Malays came to Australia during WWII. Following the end of the Immigration Restriction Act in 1973 Malaysian immigration increased and by 2006 there were 30,476 Malaysia-born Victorians and 92,335 in Australia. Most of these identified as ethnic Chinese (c 65,000), with smaller percentages of Malay (c 12,000), Indian (c 6,000) and other groups. English is the language most spoken in the home, followed closely by Cantonese, with smaller amounts of Malaysia-born Australians speaking Mandarin, Behasa Melayu, Tamil, other Chinese languages and Vietnamese.

Pencil Drawing by Thomas Le. Pencil Drawing by Thomas Le. It depicts the journey of of Mai Ho's family to Australia and shows their first few months here.
Image: Museum Victoria / Artist Thomas Le
Source: Copyright Thomas Le 1998
 

Some famous Malaysia-born Australians include singer Guy Sebastian, politician Penny Wong and entertainer Kamahl.

Further details and statistics regarding Malaysian born people living in the wider Australian community can be found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website and this factsheet produced by Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has some great general information on Malaysia, its people and their relations with Australia.

In the Immigration Discovery Centre we have a variety of books on Malaysian history, culture, contemporary politics and the Malay community in Australia. While the IDC is not a lending library, you are welcome to come and browse the books we have here.

Couple cutting the wedding cake, at their wedding in Singapore Couple cutting the wedding cake, at their wedding in Singapore
Image: Tuty Juhari / Photographer: Unknown
Source: Copyright Tuty Juhari 1997
 

There are a number of other useful websites and resources for finding out about the Malaysian community in Victoria, including Melayu Melbourne, the Malay Education and Cultural Centre of Australia Inc (MECCA), Malaysian Students’ Council of Australia (MASCA) Victoria, 92.3 FM ZZZ, Malaysian show, and Australian-Malaysian Film Festival. 

Got a question? Ask us!

Piers Festival

Author
by Max
Publish date
3 February 2012
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Comments (1)

On the afternoon of Saturday 28 January, I made my way down to Port Melbourne for the Piers Festival, a celebration of migration at Station and Princes Piers. The Immigration Museum had a display at Station Pier about – you guessed it – Station Pier!

Immigration Museum’s ‘Station Pier’ exhibition Immigration Museum’s ‘Station Pier’ exhibition at Station Pier.
Image: Max Strating
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Even though the festival was to celebrate both piers, it was really about launching the newly opened Princes Pier after its recent $34 million renovation. The poor dear had ended up in a terrible state after years of neglect. The renovation included restoration of the gatehouse, plus installation of a rotunda with touch screens showing the history of the pier, large raised deck platforms, an area of artificial turf, a generous amount of seating, and public binoculars for viewing ships at sea. Last but not least, the first 196 metres of decking were replaced with a concrete slab, for which the entire gatehouse had to be lifted in order for it to be poured – no mean feat.

Princes Pier Children playing at Princes Pier
Image: Max Strating
Source: Museum Victoria
 

In the gatehouse was an exhibition of historical photographs from Princes Pier – soldiers off to war, local boys on bikes, and migrants arriving after the war.

Ottoman Mehter Marching Band. Ottoman Mehter Marching Band.
Image: Max Strating
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The festival was put on by Multicultural Arts Victoria and the program included a wide variety of performers and musicians, starting with the Victorian Police Pipe Band and finishing with the Melbourne Ska Orchestra. The most arresting costumes were of the Ottoman Mehter Marching Band. Poor guys, it was about 35 degrees in the shade, never mind under their hats!

Enterprize crew The crew of the Enterprize showing off their Jigging and Reeling skills.
Image: Max Strating
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Ska Orchestra Ska Orchestra
Image: Max Strating
Source: Melbourne Museum
 

Mexican heads One of the many stalls selling tasty treats and colourful crafts.
Image: Max Strating
Source: Museum Victoria
 
 
The evening ended with a generous fireworks display. Can’t wait for next year’s festival!

'On their own' opens

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
14 October 2011
Comments
Comments (2)

The travelling exhibition On their own - Britain's child migrants opened at the Immigration Museum on Thursday. Created by the Australian National Maritime Museum and National Museums Liverpool, UK, the exhibition recounts some of the experiences of over 100,000 British children who were sent to Commonwealth colonies and dominions from the 1860s to the1970s. They were taken from orphanages and children's homes to populate Australia, Canada and African colonies with "good white stock" in schemes that were largely hidden from public scrutiny until the late 1980s.

About 7500 children were sent to Australia. Some of the children left desperate circumstances and found their new home to be a land of opportunity. But for many child migrants, the experience was brutal.

Harold Haig at podium giving a speech Harold Haig, Secretary of the International Association of Former Child Migrants and their Families, speaking at the exhibition launch.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Guests in the Immigration Museum atrium Guests in the Immigration Museum atrium for the official launch of On their own - Britain's child migrants .
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Harold Haig, Secretary of the International Association of Former Child Migrants and their Families, spoke at the exhibition launch. "Many child migrants faced an assault course of adversity rather than a preparation for adult life. The children were often led to believe that they were orphans; that their parents were dead. This was a particularly cruel deception that extinguished the hopes of many parents and children of ever being reunited." The British Consul-General, Stuart Gill, spoke about his participation in the formal apologies delivered by the Australian Government in 2009 and by the British Government in 2010. He considers them among the most powerful but emotional duties of his position, yet concealment by both Governments of their policies for decades meant that just a few years prior he had never heard of child migrants.

Stuart Gill and Maggie Gill in exhibition. Stuart Gill, British Consul-General and Maggie Gill in the exhibition.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Now, it is hard to believe that the schemes that brought unaccompanied children as young as three years old to these shores were not more widely known. Settled mostly in rural institutions, the children were expected to provide farm and domestic labour. Hugh McGowan left Glasgow as an adolescent and was placed at Dhurringile Training Farm in Tatura, and later Kilmany Park Home for Boys in Sale. He says, "I was fed, I was clothed, I was somewhat educated, I was housed. [But] there are things that happened to me as a seven year old boy and as a 15 year old boy that I just didn't discuss with anyone." Mr McGowan speaks frankly about the abuse and deprivation that he suffered because he feels that it's important for people to know what happened to him. He left institutional care at the age of 17, permanently shaped by his experiences, and found it difficult to relate to people in his personal and professional life. "I didn't understand them because I wasn't the product of a loving family, whereas they were."

Hugh McGowan Hugh McGowan looking at a photo of four child migrants on their way to Fairbridge Farm School.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Says Mr McGowan, "the exhibition is precisely what it should be. It's an accurate reflection of what happened. Some of us have survived, but a lot of us haven't." Parts of it are quite harrowing. Curator Kim Tao had the difficult task of sifting through stories, good and bad, to include in the exhibition. "Despite them being such difficult and painful stories, the [former child migrants] really wanted to share them and put them on the public record and recognise that this was such an important part of Australia's migration history." She mentioned the exhibition's website which has a message board, and that people are still coming forward to talk about their experiences for the first time. Through the Child Migrants Trust and other groups, former child migrants support one another as adults much they did as children, when, in the absence of parents and families, they became de facto families for one another.

Kim Tao, Sandra Anker and Hugh McGowan at the entrance of the exhibition. Exhibition curator Kim Tao (centre) with former child migrants Sandra Anker and Hugh McGowan.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

On Their Own - Britain's child migrants is at the Immigration Museum until 6 May 2012.

Links:

Child Migrants Trust

'Innocence lost in lucky country', The Age, 11 October 2011

Inside: Dhurringile boys (National Museum of Australia)

Origins updated

Author
by Alasdair Mulligan
Publish date
6 December 2010
Comments
Comments (0)

This guest post comes from Alasdair Mulligan, a Monash University student currently interning with Museum Victoria as part of his Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) course which he will complete at the end of this year.

Where did your family come from? Why did they choose Victoria? How long ago did they arrive?

These questions, and more, can be answered by the Immigration Museum’s recently updated Origins multimedia display, giving visitors the opportunity to see exactly when, and in what context their family immigrated to Victoria.

Based on Government census information gathered since 1854, Origins contains data from 82 countries, and was researched, built and designed by Museum Victoria in conjunction with SBS Radio, Australian Bureau of Statistics, and community members.

Origins is available at two kiosks in the Long Room of the Immigration Museum, complemented by a large touch screen and audio speakers, it gives visitors the opportunity to explore their family heritage by viewing graphs and bios related to population, history and gender. There is also a website version.

Origins kiosk display The Origins kiosk at the Immigration Museum displays information about migrant communities in Australia.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Bettina, a 28 year old German tourist, said she found Origins “fascinating” and that it told her a lot about why her dad was considering living in Melbourne in the 1950s.

“My dad actually moved to Australia after the war for four years, it was the trend at the time – to move overseas – but I don’t think he liked being away from his family and friends for too long, so he came back.

“It was really interesting seeing how many people thought like my father back then. You can see on the graph that heaps of people from Germany decided to come to Australia during the same time.” Bettina said.

Origins has recently undergone a significant upgrade, and senior curator Deb Tout-Smith says that the service has considerably expanded and now offers a lot more.

Origins has been updated with the latest 2006 Government Census Information, this includes 12 new communities being added, plotted histories being updated and a handful of audio-visual guides being included.

“It’s supposed to provide an insight into the community, show the political and socio-economic reasons of why they immigrated, and while this update has taken longer than we hoped to complete, working with communities is something that you can’t rush.” Deb said.

“At the moment we include communities that have a population of at least 1100 people, I’d love to get that down to somewhere around the 100 mark, but it all depends on feasibility, we get a lot of people saying ‘Why aren’t we in origins?’ but sometimes these communities only contain one or two people and it would be basically including someone’s personal history.”

Work has already begun on preparing the next update for Origins, which will include the 2011 Government Census Information, and is expected to be ready in two to three years' time.

Links:

Journeys of a Lifetime in the Immigration Museum's Long Room

Origins website

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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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