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.

Waves of migration returns on Australia Day

23 Jan 2014

The museum’s award-winning digital projection Waves of migration returns this Sunday, Australia Day, to once again illuminate the museum’s iconic roofline with a rich tapestry of migration stories drawn from our collection.

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Suitcases, boats and bridges

09 Aug 2013

Last week I was invited to speak about the museum’s work at the Suitcases, boats and bridges: telling migrant stories in Australian museums workshop, organised by Dr Nina Parish from the University of Bath and Dr Chiara O’Reilly from the University of Sydney.

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History and knitting

27 Jun 2013

Over the past few weeks I have been working my way through a wonderful collection of textiles, handcrafts, photographs and family heirlooms donated by Anu Mihkelson, who as a toddler migrated from Sweden to Australia with her Estonian parents Oskar and Magda in 1948.

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Forgotten stories of Indian servants heard 200 years on

31 May 2013

I recently had the privilege of meeting a group of talented voice actors, some professional others amateur, but all great performers. They were hard at work in a recording studio for an audio component of our East of India – Forgotten trade with Australia exhibition.

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A chance encounter in Albury

28 Feb 2013

Last week I went to Albury to install our travelling exhibition On their own – Britain’s child migrants at Albury Library Museum. This lively venue is the only regional stop in our national tour, which has so far taken in Adelaide, Melbourne, Fremantle and Canberra.

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The Molong Historical Museum

22 Feb 2013

These are all words I scribbled down as I read and listened to the oral histories of people who had come to Australia as child migrants. The topic is intriguing and compelling and I was particularly drawn to the history of Fairbridge Farm School in Molong, NSW, as this child migrant school is not far from my childhood home.

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Restoring hope and a fishing boat called ‘Freedom’

14 Jun 2012

With all the rain in Sydney recently, you could be forgiven for forgetting what blue sky looks like. But for the Lu family, who arrived in Australia in 1977 on the Vietnamese refugee boat Tu Do, the colour sky blue is forever etched in their memories as the colour of freedom.

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