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What impacts has immigration had on Australia?

In this unit of work students investigate stories of immigration and the impact migrants have had on Australian society over time. This unit of work uses the objects and displays from the National Museum of Australia's previous Horizons gallery (now replaced by the Australian Journeys gallery) and other Museum exhibitions ...

Interactive resource

A walk through 'White Australia' at the National Museum of Australia, 1850-2010

In this unit of work students explore how the National Museum of Australia (NMA) exhibitions represent 'White Australia' attitudes and policies in Australian history from 1850 to the present day. The unit uses objects and displays to help students investigate key issues around the development of a multicultural Australia.

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Hmong banner

This is a banner made by Hmong women from Laos consisting of an embroidered design on blue background, inside a border of blue, grey and white fabric. The embroidery depicts scenes of a farming community and shows men and women, sometimes with children, performing the tasks of sowing, reaping and processing various crops ...

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Banner depicting a Hmong migration story, c1985-92

This is a banner consisting of an embroidered design on a blue background, inside a border. The embroidery depicts the migration of the Hmong people from their homeland. It shows a village scene with one soldier about to set fire to the huts and others pointing guns at the Hmong. There are scenes depicting work and the ...

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Boys in front of Nissen huts at Nunawading Migrant Hostel, 1958-59

This is a black-and-white photograph showing teenager Michael Clarke and a friend leaning against a tree in front of Nissen huts at the Nunawading Migrant Hostel.

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Todorce Spasevski preparing to emigrate from Macedonia to Australia, 1964

This is a black-and-white photograph showing Todorce Spasevski walking off a ship's gangplank to a pier in Macedonia. According to his family, Spasevski was getting ready to board the ship that would take him from Macedonia to Melbourne, Australia.

Video

Immigration: fill it or lose it, 1992

This video clip looks at the political forces and propaganda campaigns that tried to fill Australia with 'pure white' immigrants. 'Immigration: fill it or lose it' is an excerpt from the documentary 'Admission impossible' (54 min), produced in 1992. For much of the 20th century, successive Australian governments pursued ...

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Postcard with poem entitled 'Doors', 1939

This poem, entitled 'Doors', was written by Arthur Lederer shortly before he and his family departed England on board SS Orama in 1939. The Lederers had fled Austria to escape Nazi persecution of the Jews and had travelled via Czechoslovakia and Great Britain before joining their ship to Australia. The poem uses a door ...

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Parliamentary paper: summary of Chinese arriving in Victoria, 1885

This parliamentary paper documents information such as ship details, taxation and numbers of Chinese immigrants who arrived in the Colony of Victoria during 1885 and follows on from the earlier Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 (Victoria). The lure of economic prosperity had attracted large numbers of Chinese during the gold ...

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'Race to the gold diggings of Australia' board game, 1850-69

This is a 'Race to the gold diggings of Australia' board game made in England between 1850 and 1869. The game board is a hand-coloured lithograph mounted on linen. There is a printed rule card, six painted ship pieces with stands and a cardboard teetotum, all of which would have been stored in a wooden case with an illustrated ...

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'Kurdish refugees of the Gulf War', 1992

This is a work of art by Hasan Bagdas that uses paper collage and oil paint to depict Kurdish refugees fleeing chemical warfare during the Gulf War. Paper has been folded and manipulated to create four figures carrying bundles against an arid background. One figure with stick in hand dominates the foreground and there are ...

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'Metamorphosis of a saz', c1990-95

This is a mixed media sculpture by Hasan Bagdas, constructed in wood, paper and found objects. The piece represents a kangaroo made from a saz (a Turkish musical instrument), a vacuum cleaner head and leather. Various international images and images from the artist's paintings have been stuck to the body of the sculpture. Found ...

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Weaving shuttle with rollers

This is a wooden 'boat' shuttle used for weaving. It has a simple wooden roller at each end of the shuttle that enables it to pass more smoothly through the 'shed', the space between the warp threads. The dimensions of the shuttle are: length 4.0 cm, width 2.5 cm, height 30.5 cm.

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'My life', 1996

This is a wooden panel carved in bas-relief by Eva Schubert in 1996, depicting her life. The bottom left-hand corner shows children playing and singing, woods and fish in a river. There is a scene of refugees dated 1945, a town scene, and a ship on the ocean, dated 1955. The top part of the carving shows Melbourne, eucalypts, ...

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Latvian fabric, 1995

This is a length of red-coloured fabric, woven in the traditional colours and patterns of the Nica region on the west coast of Latvia. Dimensions: 27.06 cm x 72.5 cm.

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Countermarch floor loom, 1945-50

This is a loom made from recycled timber. The loom is fitted together with wooden pegs and steel bolts, and is made up of many pieces, which allow it to be dismantled and reconstructed. Its dimensions are: 1.43 m (length) x 1.70 m (width) x 1.88 m (height).

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Latvian belt, c1970

This is a woven belt, using traditional Latvian patterns symbolising the morning star. The ornate design indicates it is part of a woman's costume. The dimensions of the belt are 268 cm x 5 cm.

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John Ellerbock smoking cigarette on boat, with family, Mordialloc, 1960

This is a black-and-white photograph showing the Ellerbock family on a boat at Mordialloc. John Ellerbock is smoking a cigarette while surrounded by his children Ingrid, Herb, Anna and John Jr. The photograph was taken in 1960. The image is a digital scan of the original photograph.

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Family sharing chocolate Easter eggs, 1963 or 1964

This is a black-and-white photograph showing the Ellerbock family sharing chocolate Easter eggs outside their house in Ringwood East on Easter Sunday in 1963 or 1964. The image is a digital scan of the original photograph.

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Family reunited at Essendon Airport, 1948

This is a black-and-white photograph of Marjorie, Bill and Suzanne Cruttenden being met by Dorcas Brown, Marjorie's mother, at Essendon Airport in December 1948. The image is a digital scan of the original photograph.