The Australian National Maritime Museum’s iconic roofline, evoking sails and waves, was the canvas for a dynamic new light show exploring migration to Australia.
Watch the light show
An Indigenous fisherman in a nawi (Sydney region bark canoe).
1768: Lieutenant James Cook leads an expedition from Plymouth on Endeavour to view the 1769 transit of Venus and search for the legendary Great South Land.
1787: the First Fleet, including Charlotte, one of six convict transports, sets sail from Portsmouth to establish the penal colony of New South Wales.
1787: the cramped interior of a convict transport ship.
1857: a father farewells his family from the clipper ship Young America in Hong Kong, bound for the goldfields of Australia.
1901: the steamship Changsha struggles to land non-European migrants in Australia during the period of the White Australia policy.
1939: a Jewish woman recalls locking the front door to her home in Austria for the last time before escaping to Australia prior to the outbreak of World War 2.
1947: the deck of Castel Felice fills with migrants headed for a new life away from war-torn Europe in the years after World War 2.
1957: A Yugoslav refugee remembers the precious things she has left behind – her family, her village and all her possessions.
Suitcases and trunks – evocative symbols of the migrant journey – represent Australia’s post-war migration agreements with countries including Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Malta, Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey.
1961: Ten Pound Poms enjoy the sunshine on the deck of Canberra.
1977: a South Vietnamese family uses a simple compass and map to navigate thousands of kilometres to Darwin on their fishing boat Tu Do.
2009: Afghan asylum seekers huddle together as their Indonesian fishing boat deteriorates and their hopes of reaching Australia fade.
A boy stands at the bow of the boat with his mother’s wedding ring in his hand. The sky fills with the boy’s memories of his escape from Afghanistan.
The asylum seeker boat slows down and moves out of frame.
2013: the museum’s Endeavour replica arrives in Sydney Harbour.
Watercraft from the museum’s collection, including Endeavour, nawi and Tu Do, are revealed in a vivid night-time scene of Sydney Harbour.