Share a Story database

04 October, 2009

Passengers On Deck of SS Ballarat Arriving at Station Pier, Port Melbourne, 1925.
Passengers On Deck of SS Ballarat Arriving at Station Pier, Port Melbourne, 1925.
Source: Museum Victoria

Question: What kinds of stories are contained in the Share a Story database?

Answer: The Share a Story database is an interactive program allowing visitors to Immigration Museum to write their own immigration story. Visitors can submit their stories either by directly typing them into the computer database or by providing a written copy. The stories are then made available for members of the public to read.

Each brief story focuses on immigration to Victoria, particularly the reasons that migrants leave their home country, the experiences they have during the voyage, and the thoughts and feelings they experience as they first settle in Australia. The database can be accessed by all visitors to Immigration Museum, either in the Station Pier Exhibition or the Immigration Discovery Centre.

The diversity of the migrant stories added to the Share a Story database express how personal the experience of migration is. However, key themes do emerge. Some contributions are written by newly arrived migrants sharing their thoughts on settling into the broader Victorian community: “we find Australia a lot different to England. The weather, the shops, the schools, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.”

Other stories are written by second or third generation Australians paying tribute to the lives of their ancestors: “he and my grandmother were model Australian citizens who worked their way up, from simple beginnings, to contribute solidly to our way of life. Their courage and generosity should never be forgotten or go unnoticed.”

Many migrants describe the twin ties they feel to their newly adopted home and the country of their birth: “I am grateful for the opportunities that Australia has given our family although we will never forget tropical Mauritius with its Casuarina trees and golden sandy beaches.”

Others, however, recall the hardships they encountered in making the journey to a new country: “migration rips out your heart and soul. There were hard times in Holland, but times were terrible in Australia when we first came, and there was no family support.”

The stories shared by migrants and their families through the Share a Story database highlight the multi-faceted journey that immigrants to Australia experience travelling to and settling in their new country; and, with several new contributions submitted each week, the collection of stories is constantly expanding. What’s yours?

Comments (13)

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Irene Zalstein 30 December, 2009 11:31
I am writing the story of my family's arrival at Station Pier in November 1960 on the Roma. I would like some information about any specific requirements you may have in order to make the story eligible for you consideration.
Discovery Centre 31 December, 2009 12:56

Hi Irene. Thanks for your interest in the share a story database. Stories should focus on the stories of immigrants or their families and the personal experience of leaving home, the journey and arrival. Stories must be under 350 words and will be edited. To submit your story, please email the Immigration Discovery Centre at to request a form.

Alfred Tauscher 14 May, 2010 08:13
I was nine years old when I immigrated to Canada on the Fairsea from Bremerhaven and arrived in Quebec on June 2, 1953. How and where could I find a passenger list or manifest of the journey to our new land. I arrived with my two sisters and my mother and father. I give my thanks often to my parents for coming to this great country. Your help would be greately appreciated. Thank you in advance for any reply. Alfred Tauscher
Discovery Centre 15 May, 2010 12:32

Hi Alfred - the best place to confirm the departure and arrival dates of your migration journey is via the National Archives of Australia (NAA). The NAA hold the passenger and shipping lists for migrant arrivals to Australia. You can search for records online via the NAA’s RecordSearch tool. For additional information you can contact the NAA directly.   

Agnes Karlik 27 May, 2010 15:48
When the Immigration Museum opened we lent a video of the film my father made of our journey on the Anna Salen to Fremantle in 1950. Anna Margorcewitz used sequences at the entrance displays upstairs. I am wondering if you still have the video.
Discovery Centre 29 May, 2010 11:00

Hi Agnes – I have forwarded your query to the Senior Curator for migration. We will contact you personally as soon as we have any information regarding the whereabouts of the film your father made.  

agnes Karlik 4 June, 2010 22:01
Thank you for your answer "Discovery Centre. The film is now at the National Film Archives and the copy we lent is a documentary we made of it. we have a website of the explaining our migration story. The Karlik Family is in the Tribute Garden.
agnes karlik 5 July, 2010 20:53
I sent in our family story recently but have not heard what happened to it. Can I look it up anywhere? Please let me know. We sent back the form we received at the Library.
Discovery Centre 7 July, 2010 11:04

Warm thanks for your contribution to the Share a Story database, Agnes. It has been uploaded by our staff and can now be read by visitors to the Immigration Museum using the public computers in the Discovery Centre, located on the ground floor. 

SUZANNE 7 February, 2011 11:10
My mum boarded the castel Felice on the 25/6/67 from Southampton to W.Australia.I believe she met an Italian steward on the boat and conceived me. She then met my step-dad and arrived in Scotland on the 12/9/69.My mum was known as Carol Fleckney or by her middle name Toni,if anyone remembers her plz leave a msg,Thankyou
Stoodley Family 1 August, 2014 13:05
My Parents and family of 8,Children arrived at Station Pier Melbourne on the 06th March 1961,on the Liner P&O SS Orontes (20,000 Tons)from England to make a better life. None of us did not returned to England.
Marie Goldsworthy 9 January, 2016 14:58
Is it too late to "Share A Story"? I have good notes from voyages of various of my ancestors in the 1850s and would enjoy writing them up to fit the criteria for this project but wonder if it is completed already.
Discovery Centre 12 January, 2016 16:08

Hi Marie,

You may visit the Immigration Musuem Discovery Centre to submit your own story to the Share a Story database. Our public computers have a link to the database which invites visitors to leave their story and you can spend some time reading through accounts left by other visitors. 

Our museum is located at 400 Flinders Street and we are open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday. 

We hope to see you at the Museum soon!

Thanks, Catherine 

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