Tweed River Regional Museum – Murwillumbah

Above: Some of the project participants at the DVD launch. Left to right at back: Jeet Singh, Neville Singh, Allen Togo, Jack Singh, David Togo. Left to right at front: Ellen Petrie, Sylvia Singh-Grewal, Diana Skinner.

The Tweed, being the northern-most coastal Shire in New South Wales, has seen a long and rich history of banana growing and sugar cane farming. Its labour history is intertwined with the arrival of several groups of migrants over time. In particular, the local South Sea Islander population and the Tweed’s Indian communities, have shaped and grown these industries alongside other local communities (including the local Aboriginal, Italian and Macedonian communities).

The banana and sugar industries continue to dominate in the Tweed.  The industries have undergone significant technological changes in the 20th century, which have impacted upon their respective workforces.

With the success of Migration To The Tweed and the resulting book The Other Side Of The World, the local Indian and South Sea Islander communities approached the Tweed River Regional Museum asking for help to tell their stories.

This Tweed River Regional Museum and NSW Migration Heritage Centre project explored through community engagement and archival, photographic, material heritage and oral history sources, the relationship of people to these industries, and how the industries shaped their working, social and cultural lives.

The project culminated in a moving 47 minute video documentary entitled Sweet Harvests which is hosted on the Centre’s website  more

The DVD was directed and edited by Magali McDuffie, Pandion Pictures - - the participants were  interviewed by Mary Lee Connery, who also did the research with the Tweed’s South Sea Islander and Indian communities, for the Tweed River Regional Museum’s affiliated local historical societies.

Sweet Harvests Steering Committee at Murwillumbah (Photo: John Petersen)

In 2012/13 the Centre and the Museum are recording additional oral histories with elders from local Indian, Islander and Aboriginal communities who were identifed during the original Sweet Harvests project. They will be added to the NSW Migration Heritage Centre’s website.



The Tweed River Regional Museum has a rich collection of objects related to the sugar and banana industries. These were identified and documented, through the Migration To The Tweed project with the NSW Migration Heritage Centre, and statements of cultural heritage significance were developed for these collections and added to the Centre’s Objects Through Time project. The statements of significance have been complemented by short film based oral histories describing the use and significance of these objects by people who have used them.

Read about the Migration To The Tweed project – Winner 2009 National Trust Heritage Award and Winner 2008 Museums and Galleries NSW IMAGinE Award.  more

Sweet Harvests Steering Committee at Murwillumbah (Photo: John Petersen)


Launch Photos