Tribute Walls and Gardens

28 June, 2009

The western wall of Immigration Museum's Tribute Garden
The western wall of Immigration Museum's Tribute Garden
Image: Philip Thiel
Source: Museum Victoria

Question: I enjoyed my visit to Immigration Museum's Tribute Garden. Are there similar projects still  registering people's names?

Answer: Many visitors to the Immigration Discovery Centre enquire about adding their family name to a wall or garden similar to the Tribute Garden at Immigration Museum. There are a number of institutions in Victoria and across the country that offer this service as a reminder of the contributions made by immigrants to Australia.

In Canberra, a proposed Immigration Bridge will feature a “history handrail.” The names of 800 migrants will be engraved on the stainless steel handrail that will stretch across Lake Burley Griffin.

The Bonegilla Immigration Reception and Training Centre in Wodonga features a tribute wall. Over 300,000 people stayed at Bonegilla between 1947 and 1971 - now their names can be added to the Bonegilla tribute wall via its website.

The Shilling Wall and Garden is located at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre on Lonsdale street, Melbourne. It commemorates the original Shilling Fund from 1847 that was used to raise funds for the Queen Victoria Centre. You can add a woman’s name to this wall by making a donation at the centre’s website.

For those in New South Wales, a Welcome Wall is located at the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour, Sydney. In South Australia, the Migration Museum in Adelaide has a Settlement Square where visitors are invited to have the names of their ancestors engraved onto pavers that are laid in the courtyard.

The final wall to mention is Australia’s Virtual Immigration Wall of Honour.  This website gives families the opportunity to enter details online and is updated regularly.  This website not only allows you to honour and commemorate those who have migrated to Australia, but also gives users the opportunity to enter contact details in order to share genealogical information.

Meanwhile, at Immigration Museum, we continue to welcome visitors to our beautiful Tribute Garden, where the names of 7000 immigrants to Victoria are displayed. The names of those commemorated can be searched online. We also encourage visitors to share their migration story with us via the "Share a Story" database using computers located in the Immigration Discovery Centre. Entry to both the Tribute Garden and the Immigration Discovery Centre is free. 

Comments (25)

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Joseph Sensi 9 July, 2009 13:26
Can names still be added to this Wall at the Immigration Museum Melbourne - or is it now complete? My parents arrived on different ships to Station Pier. My father came first then a few years later, my Mother, myself and brother came out. My wife has copiled [in both Italian and English] a Family History with photos, from the oral stories of both my parents, collected over several years.
Discovery Centre 9 July, 2009 15:48

Hello Joseph. Immigration Museum's Tribute Garden is now complete, I'm afraid, but your family history sounds very interesting, and the other projects we mention in this article are still accepting names.

Agnes Soccio 8 August, 2009 10:48
I would also like to add my family's name to the immigration story, are there future commemorative projects such as the tribute wall planned
Discovery Centre 10 August, 2009 12:23

Hi Agnes. You would be welcome to contribute to the computer-based Share a Story database at the Immigration Discovery Centre, since there are no plans at Immigration Museum itself for another physical project like the Tribute Garden, at this stage. Thanks!

Mia 8 September, 2009 12:47
what resources does the museum have to reflects knowledge of the principles of equal employment opportunity, disability,race and similar legistion and thr implications for work for people new to the australia cultural?
Discovery Centre 8 September, 2009 15:23

Thanks for this enquiry, Mia. Information about Museum Victoria's corporate values have a strong focus on social inclusion and diversity upheld by the organisation. You would also be welcome to visit the Immigration Discovery Centre to discuss these issues in more depth. Hope this helps!

maria nunez 9 February, 2010 07:04
I am a child migrant that arrived at this camp in 1962 with my family, I would like to know if the names of the immigrants can still be added to the list, thank-you
Discovery Centre 10 February, 2010 14:40

Maria, are you referring to the Bonegilla Immigration Reception and Training Centre? If so, yes, you can still add your name to their Tribute Wall. Further information here.

Donnalee Cornell 10 April, 2010 21:46
I am trying to locate relatives of mine a Mrs Jean Mann (maiden name Gunn), Mr Pete Mann and their son Darren Mann. My father seems to think that they emigrated through the 10 pound pom system in the late 60/ early 70s. Their son darren would be in his early 40s, my dads sister almost 70.
Jay 10 May, 2010 18:28
Hi, I realise that the Tribute Garden wall is now complete and is no longer able to accept names but, out of interest, did you have to pay a fee at the time along with regsitration in order to get a place? And if so, how much was it? (I'm a university student writing about inclusive projects such as those listed in this article.)
Discovery Centre 12 May, 2010 10:38

Thanks for the question, Jay. The Tribute Garden was arranged by subcription, with payments of $100 and $200 received depending on the length of an inscription. This money contributed to the design and building of the Garden as well as administrative costs associated with the project. Hope this helps!  

Judith Rayner 5 January, 2011 02:33
My family arrived from Holland in Nov '54 and spent time at The Gables, Daylesford, Vic, until my father gained employment. Is there any information available about this migrant hostel? Also about the history of the 'Pater Maas Sceme', a sponsorship scheme which helped Catholic, self funded migrants find employment.?
Discovery Centre 5 January, 2011 10:36
Hi Judith, the National Archives of Australia (NAA) are the repository for immigration records, including those from migrant hostels. You request records relating to your family or the hostel through their Making Australia Home scheme. We didn't find anything called the Peter Maas Scheme but did discover that there was something called the Catholic Emigration Foundation that was based in the Netherlands in the 60s that paid passage for immigrants. You may want to contact the Catholic Church in Australia, which might be able to give you further information or leads. You might also want to read some books on Dutch migration to Australia in your local or state library that may refer to the scheme.
Alec G. Wood 22 February, 2011 17:18
I have a copy of my mothers memoirs which cover the period 1906 to 1969.also a history of the Wood family who settled in the Yarram area 1855. Are you interested they are on CD.
Discovery Centre 27 February, 2011 14:25
Hi Alec, all donation offers can be made through our Ask the Experts Donations section.
Discovery Centre 27 March, 2011 10:19
Hi again Judith, just an update on your question. We've found a couple of references to the Pater Maas scheme for you. According to the Dutch Nationaal Archief, this seems to have been another name for the Netherlands Government Sponsorship Scheme, which ran from 1952 - 1957. As mentioned, the NAA should have information about this scheme. Further information on Pater Leo Maas can be found in James Jupp's book, The Australian People, pp261 - 264.
sue russell 5 January, 2012 02:05
Is the immigration museum in victoria just for people who settled in voctoria..Is there oen in Perth. My mother came over on the New Australia in 1952 and landed in perth.How do I find out more info about it or is there a wall in Perth somewhere? Thanks
Discovery Centre 5 January, 2012 12:07

Hi Sue,

The Immigration Museum explores the stories of real people from all over the world who have migrated to Victoria.

The Western Australian Museum in Perth may be of interest to you, particularly because they have completed a ‘Welcome Wall’ similar to our Tribute Garden and Wall paying tribute to those migrants who arrived by sea, landing at Fremantle or Albany. Their website has more information:

In regards to your mother’s arrival in Perth, 1952, the National Archives of Australia (NAA) may be of assistance. You can search their archives on their website (select the ‘search as a guest’ option),, for your mother’s name. Please note that not all records are yet listed individually on the web.

Tracy Dawson 7 May, 2012 08:44
My family came on an assisted migration scheme in 1972 when I was 8 years old. We flew Qantas. I am trying to find some documentation as the rules seem to have changed, my Mothere always told us we had permanent residency. I grew up, was educated, have worked all my life, voted, paid taxes and had 2 children here and now all of a sudden I have to prove that I am legally allowed to work in Australia. Can you help me with some information please?
Discovery Centre 7 May, 2012 12:40

Hi Tracy, you will need to contact the National Archives of Australia with a request for your family's arrival documents. Check out the Immigration Discovery Centre information sheet for more information about searching online for these records. We hope this helps!

melissa howarth 29 June, 2012 16:10
hello, i was wondering if we can still add family to a wall, my great great grandfather arrived in australia in jan 1853 on the john melhuish and is burried in a historical gravesite on the lake bolac foreshore. I would like to acknowledge this for our family. My nan also migrated over here in 1953 aboard the Roma just after world war two from germany and i would also like to do something special for her for her 80th birthday to acknowledge herself and her mother. If you could help me i would appriciate it, kind regards, melissa
Ruth Fuller 6 April, 2013 06:24
Could you please tell me where I would get information about the Migrant hostel in Matraville (Sydney) We came as on the Assisted passage Scheme ( 10 pound poms) in 1964 arriving by air.
Discovery Centre 12 April, 2013 15:40
Hi Ruth, thanks for the question!  We have sent you an email with some useful links.
Carmel Onderwater 18 October, 2014 21:26
My mother in law and her family came to Austrlaia in 1957 on the "Sibajak". They stayed at the "The Gables Migrant Hostel in Daylesford. Do you know anything about this hostel??? or the Sibajak???
Discovery Centre 26 October, 2014 10:27

Hi Carmel,

Regarding the Gables Migrant Hostel in Daylesford, the National Archives of Australia does hold an extensive list of records and information on migrant hostels.

I did find some information about Christianus Maas, the man who founded the Gables hostel in Daylesford, and how it came to be. It says that almost 300 Dutch families passed through the Gables during the years 1952 and 1958.

Peter Plowman’s book ‘Australian Migrant Ships 1946 – 1977’ has information and a photograph of the ship. The Sibajak is also mentioned in Plowman’s ‘Emigrant ships to luxury liners: passenger ships to Australia and New Zealand, 1945-1990’ as after the demand for passage to Australia declined the Sibajak was converted to become a cruise ship for holidaymakers.

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