From across the sea - the museum's migration program explores our cultural heritage.

The arrival of waves of more than ten million migrants by boat and plane is one of the major themes in Australia’s history, and a foundation narrative of modern Australia, infusing our country with more than 200 different cultural and linguistic traditions. Was your family among them? 

Nearly half of all Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. Migrants have contributed enormously to the making of modern Australia - we believe museums sharing their stories can increase our understanding of the unique challenges many migrants face.

Image: Group of migrants on the deck of MV Castel Verde, Italy, 1950–1957. ANMM Collection Gift from Barbara Alysen. Reproduced courtesy International Organisation for Migration. ANMM Collection ANMS02014[024]

Explore their stories:

Learn more about our migration activities

Past exhibitions and events (.pdf 181kb)

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Migration Achievements Report (.pdf 3MB)

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Migration Blogs

Discover our shared histories through these compelling migration stories.

5.	Jim Stone, his daughter Penelope and grandsons Liam and Ryan at the Sydney memorial to British child migrants, Coming and Going, at the ANMM, 2015. Photographer Kim Tao/ANMM.

The Barnardo boy from Liverpool

20 Jan 2019

During the 20th century, thousands of unaccompanied British children were sent to far-flung parts of the Commonwealth as part of government-sponsored child migration schemes. One of these was Jim Stone, whose childhood hardships in a farm training institution did not prevent him from coming to love his adopted country.

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Klaas and Aafke Woldring on their wedding day, the Netherlands, 1959. Reproduced courtesy Klaas and Aafke Woldring.

To Australia via the Cape

19 Jan 2019

Teenaged sweethearts Klaas and Aafke Woldring have been together for more than 60 years, with their union taking them from the Netherlands to Australia via South Africa and Zambia.

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Magdalena (Leni) Janic, aged 15, Katscher, Germany, 1940. Reproduced courtesy Annette Janic.

War child

18 Jan 2019

In November 1949, 24-year-old Leni Janic left her German homeland with her husband and baby son, hoping a new life in Australia would help to heal the scars of a childhood plagued by poverty, hardship and the devastating legacy of war.

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Maie Talmet (second from left) at Woodside Hostel with the doll her father gave her on arrival in Adelaide, 1949. Reproduced courtesy Maie Barrow.

As far from Europe as possible

17 Jan 2019

In the aftermath of World War II, many displaced Europeans migrated to far-flung nations, including Australia, in search of a better future. The Talmet family feld Soviet rule to settle in Adelaide, building a new life from very little.

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Going away party for the wedding of Maria and Lorenzo Roder’s daughter, Mary (front row, holding handbag), c 1921. Maria and Lorenzo are in the back row, third and fourth from right. Reproduced courtesy Pauline Lovitt.

La Cella Venezia

16 Jan 2019

Long before the era of mass migration in the 1950s and 60s, a pioneering group of farmers from northern Italy sought a better life in the South Pacific. This is the story of the ill-fated Marquis de Rays expedition in 1880, which would lead to the creation of a prosperous Italian community out of misfortune and adversity.

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Passengers watch from the deck of City of Sydney as Skaubryn burns in the Indian Ocean, 1958. ANMM Collection Gift from Barbara Alysen ANMS0214[005]. Reproduced courtesy International Organisation for Migration

Four ships, one lifeboat

15 Jan 2019

The Norwegian liner Skaubryn was the only vessel lost at sea during the era of post-war migration to Australia, when it caught fire in 1958 with 1,288 people on board, including more than 200 children.

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Passengers become amateur navigators as they trace their vessel’s progress on a long 19th century sea voyage. From ‘Scenes on board an Australian emigrant ship’, The Illustrated London News, 1848.  ANMM Collection 00003594

Of stars and jellyfish

15 Jan 2019

Volunteer researcher Alex Murtazaeva has been looking through the museum’s library and collection for stories of the sometimes strange things people got up to on long sea voyages in the past.

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Marie and Michel Nehme at Fairlane Farm, Nehme vineyard, Yenda, 1988. All images reproduced courtesy Julie Nehme

Wine and poetry

10 Jan 2019

Hailing from a Lebanese region known for its grapes, it is fitting that Michel and Marie Nehme established a thriving vineyard in the heart of the Riverina district of New South Wales, which they lovingly tended by hand while raising a young family.

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Lace

Lace and the displaced

09 Nov 2018

Today marks 80 years since Kristallnacht (‘Crystal Night’), the night when the Nazis targeted, arrested and murdered Jews across Germany and parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia.

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