Immigration Museum

DISPLAYING POSTS FILED UNDER: Immigration Museum (42)

Immigration Museum

The Immigration Museum explores the stories of people who have migrated to Victoria. Located in Old Customs House, the museum re-creates real-life experiences with a rich mix of film, personal and community voices, memories and memorabilia.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

Author
by Patrick Greene
Publish date
7 December 2012
Comments
Comments (2)

Dr J. Patrick Greene is the CEO of Museum Victoria.

Yesterday we heard the sad news of the death of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, an enthusiastic supporter of Museum Victoria who always took a keen interest in the Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks. As recently as September this year I received a letter on her behalf thanking me for sending her the Museum's magazine, Six Months, and commenting on the wide range of activities and projects described in it.

  Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Dame Elisabeth at the launch of Ancient Hampi at the Immigration Museum in 2008.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

I first met Dame Elisabeth shortly after I took up my post as CEO of Museum Victoria in 2002. Harold Mitchell, then President of the Museums Board of Victoria, had written to inform her of my appointment. She asked to see me and we met in my office. It was immediately apparent that I was in the presence of a formidable but charming woman, who immediately put me at ease by saying how much she wanted to meet "another Greene". She revealed that her maiden name was Greene, and told me about her grandfather who had arrived from Ireland to work as an engineer for Victorian Railways. One of his many projects was the construction of the viaduct that carries the lines into Flinders Street Station. She gleefully told me that The Age had at the time described it as 'Greene's Folly' and her pride that more than a century later it was still performing its task so well – some 'folly!'

A notable occasion was the celebration of the museum's 150th anniversary in 2004 which took place in the Royal Exhibition Building with Dame Elisabeth as the guest of honour. Harold Mitchell discovered that her birthday was just a few days away and spontaneously asked the army trumpeter to play Happy Birthday, which all the guests joined in singing.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Dame Elisabeth arriving at Harold Mitchell's farewell party in 2008.
Source: Museum Victoria

Dame Elisabeth was renowned for her warmth, her ability to remember names and of course her philanthropy. I spoke at a Philanthropy Australia event held in her honour about her contribution to Museum Victoria's activities and was amazed at the range of other causes that she supported. She was a very special person who made a considerable contribution to Victoria.

Help us plan our future

Author
by Melinda
Publish date
9 November 2012
Comments
Comments (5)

Melinda is the manager of MV's Governance and Planning Department.

Between our three museums—Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum— we exhibit world cultures, the science of our planet and universe, and Victoria's history and biodiversity. We take the show on the road and online, through the Discovery Program and our website.

Teacher with students Point Lonsdale Primary School students at the launch of the Surprises of the Cosmos exhibition at Scienceworks in 2011.
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Woman in gallery Muthi Muthi Elder and artist Aunty Barb Egan with one of her artworks in her River Woman exhibition that was on show at Birrarung Gallery, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre earlier this year.
Image: James Henry
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We also look after the Royal Exhibition Building, and our 158-year-old scientific and cultural collections assist research into critical contemporary issues.

Dancers at Flinders St King Marong and members of the Safara Music School perform outside Flinders Street Station at the media launch of the West Africa exhibition at the Immigration Museum, 2010.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Planning for Museum Victoria's future is a mammoth and exciting task. We would like to hear what you value about Museum Victoria to help us steer the museum on behalf of all Victorians.

Please tell us: What do you like best about Museum Victoria? What do you think we could be doing better? What new things would you like to see us doing in the future?

You can leave your answers as a comment on this post, or if you'd prefer to reply privately, drop us a line via the Discovery Centre form

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

Sweet tidings

Author
by Elise Murphy
Publish date
10 May 2012
Comments
Comments (0)

Sweet talker Elise Murphy is working with Emily Kocaj to organise the Sweets festival and exhibition. Elise is responsible for community festivals at the Immigration Museum and has a very sweet tooth.

The power of sweets to bring people together was affirmed on Sunday 18 March at the Immigration Museum, as over 2,255 visitors flocked to the Sweets festival and launch of the Sweets: tastes and traditions from many cultures exhibition. Six months in the making, the festival and exhibition showcased the satisfying results of collaboration between the Museum and the Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mauritian and Turkish communities in Victoria.

Indian dancers Sweets for the Gods, Tara Rajkumar’s Natya Sudha Dance Company
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Heidi Victoria, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Assisting the Premier with the Arts, opened the sugar-fuelled occasion. Luscious treats made by community groups and local business owners showcased our rich cultural heritage alongside commissioned dance and music performances, cooking demonstrations from community members and stories, objects and films in the exhibition. By the end of the day, there wasn't a single sweet left in the Museum.

Women looking at exhibition showcase Heidi Victoria (second from left) viewing the Sweets exhibition with community members and MV staff.
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Turkish and Italian sweets Left: Visitor sampling Turkish sherbet | Right: Italian sweets stall
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

It was a delight to see intercultural and intergenerational exchanges sparked by simple acts of sharing sweets and memories. "Energising, uplifting and reassuring," as Patricia Kimtia, President of the Cultural Historical Association of Rodriguans & Mauritians, suggests, "such richness and positive interaction restores hope that the fabric of our society is stronger than one may think and the sense of community prevails."

Women performing a Japanese tea ceremony Japanese tea ceremony demonstration with wagashi sweets
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Although the festival was a special one-day event, the exhibition will run until 7 April 2013 with opportunities for all to visit and share stories and recipes. The sweetest taste, the enriching experience of collaborating with community members and colleagues on this intercultural project, is one that will linger much longer.

Visitors enjoying sweets at the festival Visitors enjoying sweets at the festival
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

On Their Own, where to next?

Author
by Jo
Publish date
7 May 2012
Comments
Comments (0)

Your Question: I noticed that the On their own exhibition about Britain's child migrants exhibition is closing, where is it off to?

On their own, the story of Britain's child migrants will be moving on from the Immigration Museum in Melbourne to the Western Australian Museum - Maritime in Fremantle, due to open on Saturday May 19th.

On thier Own exhibition On their own exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
Image: Kate Brereton
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The exhibition was very popular with visitors to the Immigration Museum, many of whom commented about the moving nature of the content. Sadly, it is a story that has gone unnoticed for many years, but we were glad to be able to host the exhibition and provide visitors with a rich understanding and experience.

On thier Own exhibition On their own exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
Image: Kate Brereton
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Lisa snapped some pictures today of the Museum Victoria Collection Management and Conservation team and the Australian National Maritime Museum Collection Management and Conservation team working on de-installing the exhibition, getting it ready for its move across the country.

On thier Own exhibition De-installing the On their own exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
Image: Lisa Collins
Source: Museum Victoria
 

On thier Own exhibition De-installing the On their own exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
Image: Lisa Collins
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Although the exhibition is leaving Melbourne, we still do have plenty of information for visitors in the Immigration Discovery Centre, and online. The exhibition website will remain active until November 2013, so there is still an opportunity for you to learn more about Britain's child migrants.

Got a question? Ask us!

Links

MV Blog post - On their own opens

On their own: Britain's child migrants

About this blog

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

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