Immigration Museum

DISPLAYING POSTS FILED UNDER: Immigration Museum (44)

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.

Sweet tidings

Author
by Elise Murphy
Publish date
10 May 2012
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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
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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

Victoria's Malay Community

Author
by Nicole D
Publish date
23 April 2012
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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!

Caroline Chisholm's scrapbook

Author
by Max
Publish date
25 March 2012
Comments
Comments (1)

Your Question: What did Caroline Chisholm do behind the Shelter Shed?

A bit of scrapbooking apparently...

Having such a large online presence, as Museum Victoria has, we in the Discovery Centre are always asked if we can provide copies of the brochures, passenger lists, workshop manuals, etc, that feature in our massive Internet Empire. In order to satisfy this demand, we have to apply subtle pressure on a variety of curators, collection managers and photographers, in order to have these articles scanned.

Caroline Chisholm's scrapbook A page from Caroline Chisholm's scrapbook.
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

However, in the case of Caroline Chisholm’s scrapbook, we can casually point out to the inquisitive enquirer, that by scrolling down the webpage, they will see the heading ‘Downloads’ followed by ‘Caroline Chisholm’s Scrapbook PDF 129.3 Mb’. Eureka! This unique piece of Australia’s history can be all yours at the click of a button. Now, at your leisure, you can peruse the pages of Caroline’s life and works.

Caroline Chisholm scrapbook, circa 1844-1861 Caroline Chisholm scrapbook, circa 1844-1861
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Who attended the ‘Soiree to Mrs. Chisholm’? Prince Albert did, that’s who. As did ‘The Ladies who have honoured us with their company’. Is one of your ancestors on ‘Mrs. Chisholm’s List of Missing Friends’? Margaret Lyons was looking for her brother Luck Lyons; Mrs. Tipple couldn’t find her husband Thomas Tipple and Mr. Wright could not be found which left his ‘Wife in great distress with six children’. And what did Charles Dickens say about Mrs. Chisholm? The answer can be found on ‘page 12’.

Caroline Chisholm scrapbook, circa 1844-1861 Caroline Chisholm scrapbook, circa 1844-1861
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Caroline Chisholm’s scrapbook is not the only scanned item available for download on our website, but it is a particular favourite of mine. Thanks to the unsung heroes of the museum – the MV Studios folk who scan these wonderful items, all your questions can now be answered. We salute you!

UPDATE!  The Caroline Chisholm Scrapbook has been digitised and is now fully accessible online and can be seen here!

Got a question? Ask us!

Links 

Caroline Chisolm's scrapbook

Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

Sweets festival and exhibition

Author
by Elise Murphy
Publish date
14 March 2012
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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.

There is only one day to go before the Sweets: tastes and traditions from many cultures exhibition opens and five days until the Sweets Festival takes place at the Immigration Museum.

The team have been very busy installing the exhibition over the past two weeks and it is looking fantastic. Each of the communities represented – Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mauritian and Turkish – have a display showcasing their beautiful cooking implements and serving objects. Delicate Turkish coffee cups with intricate designs sit alongside Italian marzipan fruits and elegant Japanese models of wagashi, which would convince anyone that they were the real thing!

Sweets exhibition installation A showcase from the Sweets: tastes and traditions from many cultures exhibition.
Image: Emily Kocaj
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Final touches are being put to the recipe wall, featuring home-made recipes created by the communities. You'll be able to jot down the ingredients for a syrupy, nutty baklava and learn how to make boondi ladoos, a favourite Indian sweet of Lord Ganesha. We've left space for you to leave some of your own favourite sweets recipes too.

It has been wonderful seeing the exhibition and festival come together over the last couple of weeks and to see all the ideas generated with the communities come to life. We hope that you will feel inspired to cook some recipes or sample a sweet at the Melbourne establishments that specialise in them – many of which you will find at the Sweets Festival this Sunday.

On festival day, we advise skipping breakfast to tuck straight into a mouth-watering array of sweet (and savoury) confections – from bites of nougat and tastings of sour cherry sherbet to baklava available by the piece or the half kilo. Enjoy plenty of other tempting performances, cooking demonstrations and workshops that will get your tastebuds dancing.

Do you really need another excuse to come along and immerse yourself in whole new realms of sweetness?

We'll give you a whole table full!

Sweet treats from five cultures Sweet treats from the five participating communities.
Image: Dylan Kelly
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Locating living people

Author
by Nicole D
Publish date
11 March 2012
Comments
Comments (1)

Your Question: I am trying to trace my aunt and uncle and their children or any of their living relatives. They migrated to Australia after World War II in the 1940s or early 1950s. How would I go about finding them?

Locating living people is a question we often get and, although it can be very difficult, there are a number of resources that might help you to find them:

• For those that immigrated here in the mid 20th century, the first step would be to order their immigration records, which are held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA). This will give you information about their immigration and may give some indication of where they went when they arrived in Australia. These documents might then allow you to know where to search for further information in electoral rolls, public registries and other resources

The National Archives website has online indexes, which feature a percentage of records in their collection. A step by step guide to using these indexes and ordering documents can be found on our Quick guide to passenger lists infosheet.

Newly Arrived Migrant Family Standing Near Temporary Accommodation, Ringwood East, 1955 Newly Arrived Migrant Family Standing Near Temporary Accommodation, Ringwood East, 1955
Image: unknown photographer
Source: Museum Victoria
 

• Electoral rolls list all the names and addresses of registered voters within Australia. The State Library of Victoria Genealogy Centre holds archived as well as current electoral rolls dating from 1856 until the present. For more information about accessing electoral rolls contact the State Library of Victoria Genealogy Centre or the Victorian Electoral Commission.

• Copies of Birth Deaths and Marriages certificates may reveal useful personal information and allow you to trace your relative’s descendents. Births, deaths and marriage registries are run by different government departments in each state and some have a limited amount of information in online indexes.

• A simple search of the telephone directories may reveal the location of relatives. The White Pages is available online or you may wish to peruse hardcopies, which are often available at state, and sometimes local, libraries.

Man, Woman & Two Girls, Backyard, Ukrainian Christmas Day, Newport, 1951 Man, Woman & Two Girls, Backyard, Ukrainian Christmas Day, Newport, 1951
Image: unknown photographer
Source: Museum Victoria
 

• If your relatives belong to a specific migrant community, a relevant community organisation may be able to give you advice about finding them.

• Search digitised newspapers at the National Library of Australia’s Trove website for mentions of their name. With hundreds of national, state and local newspapers digitised from 1803 to 1954, you may find a mention of them.

• Their may be an online bulletin board for the ship your relative came on or a migrant camp in which they may have stayed. Many people find each other through such forums so it might be a great place to throw your question out to the wider world.

Mother, Boy & Girl Sitting on Public Seat, Middle Park, 1949 Mother, Boy & Girl Sitting on Public Seat, Middle Park, 1949
Image: Mr Cliff Atkinson
Source: Museum Victoria
 

• Doing an online search for their names might reveal something. While it sounds obvious, many don’t think of it! Lots of people are online these days with personal websites, blogs, social networking, business websites and so forth.

• Various organisations have tracing services that may, in certain circumstances, be able to locate missing family members.

Got a question? Ask us!

Links:

Post World War II Immigration in Photographs

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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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