Immigration Museum

DISPLAYING POSTS FILED UNDER: Immigration Museum (45)

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.

There Once Was An Irish Kids Fest…

Author
by Siobhan
Publish date
30 January 2013
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There Once Was An Irish Kids Fest…

On Sunday 18 January we hosted 1,952 people here at Immigration Museum for the Irish Kids Fest, and what a fabulous day it was!  So much of the dialogue around the Irish diaspora at the moment is focused on the harsh economic conditions that make a life away from home more viable, but this was a day to revel in what we love about being Irish and to share the fun of Irish culture and arts.

Céili and set dancing workshop Céili and set dancing workshop
Image: Justine Philip
Source: Museum Victoria
 

In the courtyard, dancers of all ages from the Christine Ayres School of Irish Dancing displayed their intricate footwork and helped children find their feet during céili and set dancing workshops.

Learning céili dance moves Learning céili dance moves
Image: Justine Philip
Source: Museum Victoria
   

Throughout the day, children and families heard Irish tales from storyteller Oisín McKenna, found the lost treasure of Ireland during interactive theatre performances with Jack and Molly (Vince and Margie Brophy) and also had fun playing our Federation handbells, making Claddagh crowns and illuminated bookmarks.

Irish storytelling session Irish storytelling session
Image: Justine Philip
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Here at the Discovery Centre, Simon and I helped people to get started on their family history journeys, using the resources available through the National Archives of Australia and the Public Records Office of Victoria.  But best of all, we hosted a limerick writing competition, with a sweet or sticker for every entry, and hourly main prizes for the best ones.  There were LOTS of amazing entries, and it was really hard to choose between them!  We displayed the rest of our favourites on our board for the rest of the week for people to enjoy.

  One of the fantastic limerick competition winners One of the fantastic limerick competition winners
Image: Phil Morrissey
Source: Museum Victoria
 

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that we had a few limerick entries from grownups – they certainly made us laugh, but I’m afraid I can’t share them here.  My favourite was about a young sailor and his predilection for dancing. I’ll leave the rest of that one as an exercise for the reader! 

  Learning to play the bodhrán (Irish drum) Learning to play the bodhrán (Irish drum)
Image: Justine Philip
Source: Museum Victoria
 

A busy day full of great craic – can’t wait to see you all again at the next Kids Fest!

Old Customs House revisited

Author
by Kate B
Publish date
21 January 2013
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Comments (4)

I loved the post on the restoration of Old Customs House – do you have any earlier images of the Old Customs House?

Stepping further back in time this post will look at images of Old Customs House from 1957-1969. Customs officers moved out of Old Customs House in 1965. The building was then used as the Melbourne offices for the Commonwealth Parliament and its local members. 

The following images sourced from the National Archives of Australia show the Old Customs House during this period.

Eastern View, Long Room 1957 Eastern View, Long Room 1957
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives of Australia
 

The chandeliers, clock and parquetry flooring are no longer a feature of the Long Room today. The restoration of the Long Room included researching the original flooring, and sourcing and laying a near exact copy of the original tiling.

Eastern View, Long Room 1965  Old Customs House, Eastern View, Long Room 1965
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives of Australia
 

Desks and partitions were installed to create a workspace for office staff.

Western View, Ground Floor 1969 Old Customs House, Western View, Ground Floor 1969
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National ARchives Australia
 

In this image the lifts are directly opposite the grand staircase on the western side of the building.  The lift today is still on the western side but moved about three meters to the left. 

  South East View, Ground Floor Foyer 1969 South East View, Ground Floor Foyer 1969
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives Australia
 

One of the main differences here is the glass wall creating a vestibule from the street entrance. Other differences include the central desk and carpeted floor. 

  First or Second Floor Corridor, 1965 Old Customs House, First or Second Floor Corridor, 1965
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives of Australia
 

Cupboards, shelving and seating line the walls of the corridor and linoleum covers the original marbled flooring.

  South View, Rear Courtyard Old Customs House 1969 South View, Rear Courtyard Old Customs House 1969
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives Australia
 

The rear courtyard area now features the Immigration Museum’s Tribute Garden. There is now also a glass atrium attached to the rear entrance of the building.

The Immigration Museum opened in the Old Customs House in 1998 and houses a number of exciting exhibitions exploring the history of immigration to Victoria, contemporary issues exploring identity, international and local community exhibitions and the history of The Old Customs House.

Immigration Museum is open daily from 10am - 5pm

Got a question? Ask us!

The luck of the Irish

Author
by Jo
Publish date
8 December 2012
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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.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

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

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
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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!

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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