In 1975, with the invasion of South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese Communist Forces and the "Fall of Saigon", families were torn apart and millions persecuted. More than 1.5 million Vietnamese escaped the bloodshed and turmoil and fleeing on boats, they became known as the Vietnamese Boat people.
We cannot fathom the experiences these people went through. Braving the treacherous seas in small, crowded and unseaworthy vessels, these people suffered hunger, dehydration and pirate attacks and many did not survive.
The monument pays respect to South Australia's first Vietnamese asylum seekers. It features sculptures of two children and a boat with six lotus flowers forming the Southern Cross to represent their new home. Engraved on the pavements were inscriptions telling of their horrendous ordeal. They read:
"Exhaustion, hunger and thirst battered us day by day".
"In the darkest hours of fear, we could only close our eyes and pray".
"The cries of sorrow on the boat turned to cries of joy once we saw land".
The monument also pays homage to the Government and the people of Australia for welcoming the asylum seekers and giving them the opportunity to re-start their lives in Australia. It is a sacred symbol of heritage, gratitude and dreams coming true.