Migration Museum, Adelaide

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 10 Reviews

82 Kintore Avenue, Adelaide 61-08 8207 7580

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    The Migration Museum

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jul 16, 2013

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    I seldom like museums, but this was a good one. It was basically about immigrants moving to Australia.

    One especially moving section displayed letters from Jewish people who applied to move here prior to and during World War II from various European countries. The display followed these people's lives telling of the successful future those who were admitted had; while those who were rejected normally disappeared, presumably into concentration camps. In some of the letters, you get the sense these people were pleading for their lives. It was very moving and distressing to read.

    One thing that amused me about the museum was that there was a board for comments about the museum near the exit. Most people had written things like: very moving, or my parents were immigrants who came from-----, but one person had completely missed the point and left a comment saying "I think you should keep your shops open later. I am from Singapore and I cannot believe how early your shops close." Oh well, takes all sorts, I suppose.

    Sorry, I did not take any photos.

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    27% of Australians born overseas

    by wabat Updated Jan 5, 2013

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    Migration into Australia has been, and continues to be, an emotive topic for many.

    A brief history of migration to Australia

    Migration to Australia began around 50,000 years ago when the ancestors of Australian Aborigines arrived on the continent via the islands of Maritime Southeast Asia and New Guinea.

    In terms of migration from other sources not much happened for the next 49,800 years. European sorties in the form of coastal landings began in the 17th Century and in 1788 permanent European settlement began with the establishment of the British Crown Colony of New South Wales. Having lost the United States, Britain needed a new penal colony to which it could dispatch its undesirables – the convicts. From about 1815, due to pressures exerted by free settlers who began arriving in increasing numbers from Britain and Ireland (sparked by the rapid expansion of the Australian wool industry) convict arrivals were phased out. South Australia, with Adelaide founded in 1839, had no convict settlers.

    The commencement of the 1851 Gold Rush saw a significant increase in arrivals - this time from not only Britain but also from other European countries, North America and China. The next decade saw the population of Australia rise from 400,000 to around 1.1million. The remaining decades of the 19th century saw subsidized or assisted passages offered to incoming migrants.

    Resistance to Chinese and other non-European immigration began in the 1890’s leading to the adoption of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, which has in later years been dubbed, The White Australia Policy , which basically excluded all non-European people from immigrating into Australia - the control mechanism being a dictation test in a European language selected by the immigration officer.

    This policy remained in placed to the 1950s, and elements of the policy survived until the 1970s. Post World War Two European immigration was stepped up – a safeguard against another Japanese invasion. Minister of Immigration Arthur Calwell stated in 1947, "We have 25 years at most to populate this country before the yellow races are down on us". Prime Minister Ben Chifley declared, ‘a powerful enemy looked hungrily toward Australia. In tomorrow’s gun flash that threat could come again. We must populate Australia as rapidly as we can before someone else decides to populate it for us.’ Calwell expressed a preference as to who should populate Australia by declaring, ‘It is my hope that for every foreign migrant there will be 10 people from the United Kingdom’ – essentially Australia must be kept British. Approximately 3 million Europeans settled in Australia between 1945 and the 1960s. This included 1 million British Subjects who arrived under the Assisted Migration Scheme, and who colloquially became known as Ten Pound Poms.

    In the 1970s Australia embraced a policy of multiculturalism. The Australian Citizenship Act of 1973 declared that all migrants were to be accorded equal treatment and in that decade and the next 120,000 South Asian refugees settled in Australia. This new multicultural approach and economic and humanitarian events around the world (the Vietnam War and the fall of Saigon, the takeover of East Timor by Indonesia, the increase in brutal dictatorships in Latin America and many others) triggered significant economic and refugee migration to Australia. In 1975 the first boat people arrived in Darwin – 38 years later boats are still arriving.

    The issue of immigration remains a political hot potato. In August 1988, John Howard, then opposition leader, launched the One Australia policy , stating that he believed the rate of Asian immigration into Australia should be slowed down for the sake of social cohesion. In 1996 Pauline Hanson was elected to the federal seat of Oxley. In her maiden speech in Parliament she expressed her concern that Australia "was in danger of being swamped by Asians".

    More recent world events in the Middle East and Africa have shifted the focus on Asian immigration to this new arena. Opponents remain as virulent in their opposition.

    In mid-2010 6 million of the Australian resident population were born outside Australia, representing 26.8% of the total Australian resident population. Add to this the number born to first generation immigrants and you begin to appreciate the impact of migration on Australia, even today.

    The Migration Museum

    Irrespective of why or from where they came, the Migration Museum promotes the preservation, understanding and enjoyment of South Australia’s diverse cultures through letting visitors discover the evolving story of migration to South Australia from colonial times to the present day.

    The exhibits and displays relay the stories of immigrants’ courage, heartbreaks, struggles and successes. The story is told through sight and sound to reveal: the early settlers in the 19th century and their impact
 on Indigenous Australians; post-war migrants and the ‘ten pound Poms’; the White Australia Policy of the 20th century; refugees, asylum seekers and the multicultural debate of recent years.

    Many of the stories are heart wrenching and gaining an awareness of why people came to Australia, their often horrific stories, and learning about who and what they had to leave behind can only be a good thing. In the main people came to Australia (some voluntarily, many not) seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Some certainly got this but one wonders if sacrifices made lead to dreams fulfilled for everyone.

    The Museum site was formerly a part of Adelaide’s Destitute Asylum housing the poor and homeless from 1852 until 1918. A display called Behind the Wall tells this often tragic story.

    Opening times
    The Museum is open daily with the exception of Christmas Day and Good Friday. Opening hours are 10am – 5pm Mon-Fri and weekends and public holidays 1pm to 5pm.

    Admission fee: Free (but gold coin contribution appreciated).

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    MIGRATION MUSEUM - MAIN GALLERIES

    by balhannah Updated Jul 13, 2012

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    So what can you expect to see in this Museum?

    Well, the Permanent Exhibitions walk you through immigration history in South Australia. In the 19th & 20th Centuries, it was the English who came to Australia, some as "10 pound Poms,' others on the "Nest Egg Scheme" and other ways you may not have heard of. A lot of Italians called S.A. their home. Information on the "White Australia" policy and its abolishment, all made for a very interested read, whether you are Australian or from Overseas.

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    MIGRATION MUSEUM - RECONCILIATION PLAQUE

    by balhannah Updated Jul 13, 2012

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    Before entering the Museum itself, I saw this Plaque in the courtyard.
    I remember hearing about this plaque, and now I have seen it for myself. The Plaque is a way of recognition and reconciliation between Aboriginal people and the many immigrant's who have settled in Australia.
    It's dedicated to the Kaurna people, the first inhabitants of the Adelaide plains who were dispossessed of their homelands by British settlers. The plaque can be seen beside the remains of the ‘Native School Establishment,' a boarding school for Kaurna children. It closed in 1852 and became part of the Destitute Asylum.

    OPEN...10am - 5pm Monday to Friday and 1pm - 5pm weekends and public holidays

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    MIGRATION MUSEUM - MEMORIAL WALL

    by balhannah Updated Jul 13, 2012

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    Before actually heading inside the Museum, I took the time to look at the Memorial Wall
    A feeling of sadness overtook me when I read quite a few of the plaques/memorials to people who have suffered terrible hardships in their own countries, and how they have come and made Australia their home.
    Plaques are from the Baltic, Slovenian, Vietnamese, Jewish, Ukrainian, Serbian, Tatar-Bashkurt, Polish and Hungarian communities. A plaque also acknowledges British Child Migrants sent to Australia.
    It is a reminder of the freedom and democracy that Australians enjoy.

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    MIGRATION MUSEUM - OTHER EXHIBITIONS

    by balhannah Updated Jul 13, 2012

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    The other Exhibitions I saw, are only here this year [2012], then they change, so it would be best to check the website to see if something interests you.

    What I saw, was 17 Centuries of Christianity in Armenia.
    Plenty of good displays about their culture, heritage, including religious artefacts, hand crafted textiles, jewellery and literature, quite interesting!

    The other exhibition was "Tomono Wynn's story"

    This is a true story that happened in the 1970's. A young Japanese Woman named "Tomono Tadakuma" rebelled against her traditional, patriarchal Japanese family and escaped to Adelaide to study print-making and painting.
    The exhibition takes you on "her" journey, and I got to see two beautiful Kimonos and her art and other objects.
    Why did she choose Australia?
    Tomono first saw an image of a remote desert Aboriginal man lighting a fire. To Tomono, who had been brought up with lots of restrictions, Australia came to symbolise freedom.
    In 1972 she secretly came to Australia and so loved the place and people that she returned in 1973 on a student visa. Now, 38 years later, she has a career and family of her own, she still lives in South Australia but travels back to Japan several times a year.

    Quite a story, and this is what appeals at the Migration Museum.

    OPEN...10am - 5pm Monday to Friday AND 1pm - 5pm weekends and public holidays
    Closed...... Christmas Day and Good Friday

    ADMISSION IS FREE, BUT DONATIONS ARE GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED

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    MIGRATION MUSEUM

    by balhannah Updated Jul 13, 2012

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    The Migration Museum sounded like an interesting Museum, so I made sure I found it!
    It was very easy to find, just a short walk from North Terrace and down Kintore Terrace, and there it was located on the RH side of the road.

    I found it interesting before going inside, as it is housed in what remains of Adelaide’s Destitute Asylum. "Behind the Wall" tells the stories of Adelaide’s destitute, homeless, sick and aged, women and children who lived and sometimes died here, from the early 1850s until 1918. It is a chance to read a little about what their lives were like.

    Before the Destitute Asylum, a ‘Native School’ was located here. Aboriginal children were boarded and educated by the colonial government.

    There are a few interesting sculptures in the courtyard

    OPEN...10am - 5pm Monday to Friday AND 1pm - 5pm weekends and public holidays
    Closed...... Christmas Day and Good Friday

    ADMISSION IS FREE, BUT DONATIONS ARE GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED

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    Migration Museum

    by kelyeah Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Migration Museum

    The Museum houses a number of permanent exhibitions on the immigration and settlement history of South Australia and an exhibition on the history of the site, Adelaide's former 'Destitute Asylum' and 'Native School'. The Museum hosts and develops a number of changing exhibitions and public programs.

    For more information click here.

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    Migration Museum

    by SWFC_Fan Updated Aug 29, 2006

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    Migration Museum, Adelaide
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    I visited the Migration Museum during my visit to Adelaide in April 2006.

    I had something of a vested interest in visiting this museum as my grandparents (along with my dad and his two brothers) emigrated to Adelaide in the early 1960s, before returning to the UK a couple of years later.

    The museum is housed in a former Destitute Asylum in the centre of Adelaide.

    The exhibits chart the history of those people who have chosen to make Adelaide and South Australia their home throughout the years. This includes the first wave of British migrants in the 1830s, those fleeing from Europe during the two World Wars and those who have sought asylum in the region as a result of subsequent conflicts such as wars in the Balkans, Vietnam and East Timor and Russia's occupation of the Baltic States.

    The museum includes many interesting, and moving, personal accounts and photographs from people who have resettled in Southern Australia. You can read about their relief at finding asylum there and the cultural difficulties and discrimination they faced in doing so.

    There is a large notice board on which visitors can write their views on a number of topical immigration issues. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, many visitors have used this opportunity to vent their racist sentiments about foreigners entering the country.

    There is one particularly poignant interactive exhibition which highlights the harshness of South Australia's immigration policies in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Visitors are able to press buttons to describe themselves and to find out whether they would have met the criteria to be allowed to live in the state. As an able-bodied, white Brit, I would have passed the test and been allowed to stay. Had I been black...or Asian...or any number of other races, then I would have been forced to sit an exam in a language that I didn't have any comprehension of (for example, Hungarian). I would, of course, have failed the exam and been denied entry. Thankfully, times have changed!

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    An interesting contrast

    by SPW Updated Nov 3, 2004

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    The former lying-in hospital

    Continuing our wander around the complex of buildings behind the wonderful series of public buildings fronting North Terrace eg Library, gallery and Museum we came across the Migration Museum. It celebrates the contributions of the different nationalities to South Australian life. The Museum is housed in buildings which once formed the Destitute Asylum, all of which are labelled according to use, from the chapel to the cells!
    The modern reflective wall of the courtyard gives an intereting contrast with the modern city.

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