A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published July 17th 2021
Commemorating the opportunity for a safe and better future
The Adelaide Vietnamese Boat People Monument is a landmark created to capture the stories of the Vietnamese Boat People. The monument is described as a legacy for all generations and depicts the hopelessness and desperation of being on the seas in boats for days on a perilous journey to a land of peace and safety.
Memorialising the Journey and those Lost to the Sea The monument celebrates Vietnamese culture, journey and success in South Australia. The setting is designed to tell the story of the journey through the eyes of two young Australian Vietnamese children. Both figures are surprisingly lifelike, as the viewer walks around them, it feels almost an intrusion at times to be standing there.
The young boy and older girl stand on either side of a boat, the surface has a rippled effect to depict the ocean, and the boy is shown releasing a lotus into this vast sea, symbolising the start of the long and hazardous journey to be taken. The talented artists are Tony Rosella and Ash Badios who have created a memorial that is both affecting and beautiful.
Symbolism of the Lotus Flower – the National Flower of Vietnam There are six lotus flowers on the boat representing the Southern Cross, the six flowers are symbolic of their new home in Australia. The lotus flower is described as a metaphor for rising above adversity, commitment and optimism for the future and it is also the national flower of Vietnam. They provide a beautiful counterpoint to the boat and the symbolic expanse of the vast sea. The lotus flowers are a point for reflection and remembrance.
The Beacon A tall beacon has been placed at the pathway's end, designed to depict the nautical way-finders guiding vessels to safely. Around the base of are the words Freedom, Future, Resilience and Gratitude, which are the themes of the boat journey.
Vietnamese Boat People Monuments Vietnamese Boat People Monuments have been erected in many places around Australia. The aim is to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives on their deadly journeys to freedom, to pay homage to the Australian people and to the Australian Government for welcoming Vietnamese refugees.
The History of Resettlement Before being resettled in western countries including Australia, America, Canada, France and Italy, most Vietnamese Boat People stayed in refugee camps around South East Asia. The names of these large refugee camps, where hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees stayed, are paved on the Monument.
Stories of the Journey Many inscriptions around the monument tell the stories of perilous journeys. Such as: "Under the cover of night, our boat sailed into the unknown" and "Our perilous journey brought us to Australia – a country we now call home."
"Our perilous journey brought us to Australia – a country we now call home"