Albury LibraryMuseum, Hurstville Museum and Library, Port Macquarie Glasshouse


Above: Albury LibraryMuseum

Moving: migration memories in modern Australia is a multimedia exhibition that documents post-‘White Australia’ migration in poignant video clips. Former refugees and migrants – who now call New South Wales home – share their experiences and special memorabilia, in their own words. Based on the successful online pilot Leaving Cambodia: stories of Sydney’s Pol Pot survivors, interviews for the collaboration with Hurstville City Museum and Library commenced in May 2012. 

Moving video histories will also be produced with AlburyCity Museum and Library and Port Macquarie-Hastings Glasshouse. Millions of people have migrated to Australia since 1975. Some fled war-torn countries or faced discrimination in their former homelands. Others arrived on family reunion visas or sought a more prosperous and stable future.

New South Wales ‘opened up’ to its Asian neighbours and other newcomers across the world when the ‘White Australia’ immigration policy was dismantled. Regime change in nearby East Timor and Vietnam and the ensuing refugees in 1975 became symbols of this new era. Following on from the success of the multi-award winning Belongings: post-WW2 migration memories & journeys, the NSW Migration Heritage Centre is video-documenting the migration and settlement of people who arrived from 1975 onwards.

Similar to Belongings, participants’ memories are triggered by special mementos and old photographs shared online in the form of quick facts, text and images. More intangible cultural traditions such as food, music, song and dance are passed on through video footage.  

Participant selection will be based on associations with a world history theme (ie push factors) or partnership initiatives with local councils (and representative of local communities) and museums across New South Wales.

Now living in Western Sydney, survivors of the Khmer Rouge Pol Pot regime from Cambodia have been interviewed by the NSW Migration Heritage Centre for the first pilot project. Participants reminisce vividly about family loss and separation, freedom and safety through keepsakes and family photos in compelling video histories. The first chapter of this pilot is publicly available on the NSW Migration Heritage Centre’s homepage as an online exhibition entitled ‘Leaving Cambodia’.