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Australia Immigration History
The Immigration Museum

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The Immigration History of Australia is housed in one of Melbourne's finest 19th Century Buildings, The Customs House.

It is conveniently situated just a short stroll from Flinders Street Station and central to more of Melbourne's wonderful city attractions.

As well as displaying an historical documentation of immigration, the museum also on accession will host exhibitions and provides excellent educational programs.

Enjoy an interactive and nostalgic display celebrating Victoria's Multicultural History.

From the early Wild Colonial Days of the 1800's through to this present day, migration to Australia is covered in a way that will educate and entertain at the same time.

The Australia Immigration History Museum is divided into several Permanent Exhibitions and Special, Educational and Specific Displays. 

Immigration Museum melbourne Australia compliments of http://www.flickr.com/photos/josema_a/2854428392/ Immigration Museum Melbourne Australia
Comical display of unwanted Rat Immigrants compliments of http://www.flickr.com/photos/76384935@N00/5147066/ Comical Display Of Unwanted Rat Immigrants

The Australia Immigration History Museum - Permanent Exhibitions

Customs House Display

The story of Customs House is brought to life using contemporary displays, memorabilia, moving images and interractive Computer Screens.

An Important part of Australian Immigration History is how Customs Officers...

  • Collected Import Duties
  • Inspected Ships for Smuggled Goods
  • Controlled Who entered Victoria/Australia
  • Prevented Importation of Illegal Drugs
  • Stopped Importation of Endangered and Contaminated Animal Products
  • Stopped the Illegal Trade of Banned Books and Films
Certificate of CitizenshipCertificate Of Naturalization As An Australian Citizen
Melbourne Docklands Pier circa 1800'sCirca 1800's Melbourne Dockland Pier

Journeys of a Lifetime Display

Young girl in early colonial attire

The Journey to a New Country, how Immigrants arrived, has seriously changed throughout the passing years.

In the early days their journey was a perilous sea voyage, this sometimes lasted up to 3 months.

The stories of their hardships on the sea will enlighten you as to how tough their Spirit was.In this day and age a journey can be up to 24 hours and this done by Air ... much more comfortable and more affordable.

Here in the Long Room you will find a 17 metre Replica Ship.

Experience what it could have been like on your way to a New Life, New Land and New Beginning."

Displays of what it would ook like on board an Immigration shipDisplays of the inside of an Immigration Ship

Immigration Stories and Timeline Display

In this section the Historical Aspect of settling into a New Country is expanded.

How Immigrants retained their Culture and Way of Life comes to life.

There have been issues to consider such as...

  • Adapting to a New Climate
  • Adaption to a New Landscape
  • The Language(Sometimes totally foreign)
Immigrant arriving at Station Pier in Melbourne AustraliaImmigrants arriving at the Melbourne Docklands

Each Story is Unique, some found it very difficult and others were able to assimilate really well.

Here we are able to explore...

  • Why they came
  • Where they settled
  • How they began their New Life in Victoria/Australia

Explore the Australia Immigration History Time Line that highlights key events in the History of Immigration.

Dutch Migrants arriving in Melbourne 1956Dutch migrants arrive in Melbourne in the 1950's

Leaving Home Display

This can be a very Emotional Study as some people have migrated to Australia for various reasons such as...

  • Fleeing the Ravages of War
  • Fleeing Famine
  • Fleeing Religious Persecution
  • Fleeing Political Persecution
English Immigration Poster

Others have followed their urges to see the world, lured by a sense of Adventure...

  • The Prospect of Owning Land
  • The prospect of a New Beginning
  • Making a Fortune or Finding and Re-uniting with Loved ones.

Memorabilia brought by these immigrants is displayed here for all to experience a trip back in time.

Cherished Articles etc that were brought from the Immigrant's Mother Country.

Small reminders of where these very Brave People had come from.


Getting into Australia Display

Immigration passport and stamps

This Section of Australian Immigration History documents the Immigration Policies that have made Victoria and Australia what it is today.

Australia's National Identity has been shaped since the 1800's. More than 9 Million people have migrated to Australia since 1788.

A very Dramatic and Confronting Exhibition using Images and Historical Objects.


Maltese Immigrants arriving in the late 1940's

Early Malteze Immigrants Arrive
In Port Phillip Bay 1940's

Computer Interactive Screens and Personal Stories and the Impact that These Policies had on the resulting Cultural Diversity, here in Victoria, is extensively explored.

  • What People went through to get into Australia
  • Who was accepted and Who wasn't
  • Why They were allowed in
  • Why They were not
  • The Effect that this had on Society

There are 4 Timeframes that outline the main threads in Australia's Immigration Policy

  • The Goldrush Days of the 1840's to the 1900's
  • Federation up till the end of the Second World War, 1901 to 1945
  • Post War to the Early Seventies
  • 1946 to 19721973 up to Present Day

Station Pier: Gateway to a New Life Display

Formally known as Railway Pier, Station Pier is one of Australia's Longest operating passenger piers. Victoria's Post War Immigrants arrived here to start their new life.

Station Pier circa 1800'sOld Photo of Station Pier 1800's
Migrant ship Austurias in Port Phillip BayMigrant Ship Austurias and The Port Tugs

The Memorial Tribute Garden

Tribute Garden at The Australia Immigration History Museum pays tribute to all the brave Immigrants that have shaped this nation.

Over 7000 who have made this journey are acknowledged in this Public Artwork.

Over 90 Countries from the 1800's to this present day are displayed here.

An extra display pays tribute to the Aboriginal heritage of this area.

The Names of Languages and Dialects spoken by this Region's Aboriginal Communities, the People of the Kulin Nation and Traditional Owners of the Land, are also recorded here.

How To Get To The Immigration Museum

The Australia Immigration History Museum is located in the Melbourne CBD.

For detailed Directions if you are driving into the City then just click onto the Google map below and follow directions to plan your route, please take note that there is no parking at the Museum so...

Public Transport could be your better option. You have some great choices with either Trains, Trams and Buses or a combination.

Some of these are free to use within the City Center.

  • Visit Metlink for a complete Timetable and Link up with Public Transport
  • Hop onto the Free City Circle Tram and ride it to the corner of Flinders and Market Streets
  • Catch Trams 48,55,70 or 75 to the corner of Flinders and Market Streets
  • Catch the Train to Flinders Street or Spencers Street Stations and then it is an easy walk down to the Australia Immigration History Museum
  • The Free Shuttle Bus does a drop off near-by as well

View Immigration Museum in a larger map

The Australian Flag

Australia Immigration History seen at the Immigration Museum is a great way of showing your Family how The Australian Identity has been formed.

A great way of instilling tolerance towards others by explaining the differences between the Cultures.

Education can be fun and this is a great way of showing that History does not need to be a Boring Study

Visit the official Melbourne Museum website for more detailed information

The Immigration Museum is open Daily from - 10:00am to 5:00pm

And is closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.

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