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.

Left to right: Monga Khan AUSSIE and Gladys Sym Choon AUSSIE posters by Peter Drew, 2020. National Maritime Collection, reproduced courtesy the artist

The art of making: New immigration acquisitions

12 Oct 2020

There are more than 10,000 objects in the museum’s collection relating to Australia’s rich immigration history. But the museum is also committed to contemporary collecting about immigration. Curator Kim Tao discusses three new acquisitions that explore the art of making through activism and sustainable socially engaged design.  

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Henry Lippmann (centre, with hand on chin) during a lesson at the Jewish ORT school in Berlin, Germany, c 1939. ANMM Collection ANMS0219[007], gift from Henry Lippmann

Behind barbed wire: Remembering the Dunera boys

07 Sep 2020

Yesterday marked 80 years since the hired military transport Dunera sailed into Pyrmont, Sydney. To mark the 80th anniversary, we look at the story of the late Henry Lippmann OAM and his journey on this infamous voyage. 

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One of the Las Balsas rafts at sea, with the other two rafts in the background, 1973. Photograph by John Carnemolla. Image reproduced courtesy Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum

Las Balsas: The world's longest raft journey

16 Jul 2020

Twelve men, seven nationalities, three rafts, six months and one epic 14,000-kilometre trans-Pacific voyage. Curator Kim Tao interviews Luis Guevara from the 1973 Las Balsas expedition, which completed a record-breaking crossing of the Pacific Ocean from Ecuador to Australia on three balsa-wood rafts.

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June and Herbert Edelman

Love and migration

24 Feb 2020

Explore the relationship between love and migration through the stories of Japanese and Australian war brides.

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Gina Sinozich, We are sailing the Suez Canal on our way to Australia, 2003. ANMM Collection Gift from Gina Sinozich 00037916

Sail, steam and Suez views

17 Nov 2019

This week marks the 150th anniversary of a great historic coincidence – the opening of the Suez Canal and the launch of the British tea clipper Cutty Sark.

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Coming and Going, the Sydney memorial to British child migrants by Sasha Reid, located outside the museum in Darling Harbour

Reflecting on the child migrant apology

16 Nov 2019

Ten years ago today, the Australian government made a long-awaited national apology to the thousands of former child migrants whose lives were impacted by government-sponsored child migration schemes.

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Workers place concrete reinforcement steel in the Tooma–Tumut Tunnel, part of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, 1960. Photographer Don Edwards. ANMM Collection Gift from Barbara Alysen ANMS0215[016]

Snowy stories

17 Oct 2019

Seventy years ago today, the first blast was fired in the town of Adaminaby in southern New South Wales, officially marking the start of construction on Australia’s largest engineering project – the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.

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José Coelho is farewelled by his teaching colleagues in Ponta do Sol, Madeira, prior to his departure for Australia, 1956.

Love and sacrifice: From Madeira Island to the Snowy Mountains

28 Sep 2019

Seventy years ago this October, work began on Australia’s largest engineering project – the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. Curator Kim Tao shares the story of Portuguese newlyweds José and Maria Coelho, who swapped sunny Madeira Island for the isolation of the Snowy Mountains.

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