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Immersed in immigration

Bells, balloons and a cardboard village


Still slightly bleary eyed from our night out (How much for a Jäger?) we spent yesterday sightseeing and we headed off to see the next place on our list, the Immigration Museum. Australia obviously has a rich history of immigration although as we were to discover bits of said history are not so glorious.

We pulled the trick of claiming we were students using our STA youth cards at the front desk and got the hugely discounted tickets whilst the friendly receptionist explained the exhibitions and the fact that it was a family weekend with special kids' events going on, including face painting! Setting out to explore we soon came across one of the child activities - building a cardboard town. Being the self respecting, responsible adults that we are we were soon hard at work building a mansion that would put all the kiddie efforts to shame.


Our beautiful house, resplendent with balcony and furniture, was sadly left, albeit in the fanciest neighbourhood, as we continued on our way to the second floor of the museum to try our hand at the model plane building (at which we sucked) but also to check out the exhibitions. In one hall there was a gigantic ship's bow with a walkthrough demonstration of what living quarters would have been like on passenger ships to Oz. It was really well thought out and meant that as opposed to stuff sealed in glass cases you could clamber about and experience what it would have been like through the ages.


There was also at this point facepainting, but Alex was suddenly too grown up to let Rach get a tiger face, so we set off in search of more history. Next we came across a heartfelt and well thought out set of rooms that held the story of the lost children. From early on in Australia's migrant history until relatively recently, orphans and institutionalised children were taken from the safety of the UK and put in special schools in Oz. It highlighted the horrible conditions many of them faced on a day-to-day basis and the traumatic experiences they went through. It then went on to show how it was only recently that any responsibility had been taken for these events by either the UK or Australian governments. The displays were then followed up by a short film that showed interviews with some of the taken children later on in their lives and gave a very harrowing first person account of the terrible conditions.

Sadly we had to rush around the rest of the museum but there were some interesting pieces on rascism and how the face of Australia has changed through the mix of peoples and cultures it contains. We both had a great day out, aside from the lack of facepaints, and would both quite happily go again.

Rex's Rules of the Road

  • Don't be afraid to flash even expired student IDs, you never know what you might get.
  • Watch out for special events at these kinds of places, even if they are meant for kids.
  • You can read Rach's full review of the Immigration Museum here.

Posted by rexontheroad 09:07 Archived in Australia

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