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A Trip to the Immigration Museum

Home > Melbourne > Family | Museums | Rainy Day
by Brad English (subscribe)
I've always been passionate about reading and writing. I really enjoy learning more creative ways to articulate my thoughs. This is my first foray into writing. I am looking forward to the challenges it presents. I currently live in Adelaide.
Published September 10th 2012
Picture this scenario, you are on a steamboat liner travelling on the long journey from Europe to Australia, you are tired, seasick, missing home and so are your wife and children, you are even beginning to doubt whether the decision you made to migrate to Australia was the right one. Luckily for you, you don't have to confront this terrible predicament which many past migrants had to whilst making the long and treacherous journey to this country, you are merely getting a taste of what it was like for them, the terrible reality they had to face, leaving their home country and never returning again. You are at the Melbourne Immigration Museum.

Image from Immigration Museum website.

Simulations such as these are a fantastic feature of the Melbourne Immigration Museum. Not only will you get an idea of the length of various journeys over the decades to Australia from Europe and other regions around the world, and the various different perils confronting these new citizens, you will also gain an impression of the sights, sounds and smells which these people experienced by walking through a replica of a Square Rigger from the 1840s. This is just one of many fantastic interactive experiences you get at the Immigration Museum. In another section you have the opportunity to test potential new migrants from different eras. These range from a Greek family in the 1920s to an Iraqi man in 2002. You will hear them answer various different questions and have to make the extremely difficult decision on whether or not they are suitable to migrate to Australia.

Walking around you get an insight into how difficult it must have been and still is, for many people living in Australia. On the second floor you will learn about the subject of identity and how we take for granted what for some people is extremely difficult. You will learn about various different accents, how people are perceived in this country and even how we perceive ourselves. I found this to be the most eye opening experience during my visit.

There are so many great things to see and experience at the Melbourne Immigration museum. In terms of learning about the history of Australia and Australian culture, I couldn't recommend it more highly.
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Why? For a history lesson about Australia and Australian culture.
When: Open daily 10am to 5pm
Where: Old Customs House, 400 Flinders St Melbourne
Cost: Adults $10, Concession and children free.
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