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Celebrating Australia’s migrant heritage—the Welcome Wall

This guest post was written by the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Standing in honour of all those who have migrated to Australia is the Welcome Wall. Located at the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour in Sydney, the 100 metre bronze panelled wall currently has more than 25 000 names inscribed on it, representing 206 countries.

It is a powerful monument and a place to record personal data, share stories and create Australian social history. It is a national project and people who have arrived anywhere in Australia or live anywhere in Australia can have their name added. The Brown Family and the Semathini Family have recounted their migration story and shared their reasons for wanting their names inscribed on the Welcome Wall.

Twice a year the museum unveils the new names with a special ceremony. It’s an emotional event where you can learn about the migrants and their stories. Last year, 61 former British child migrants from the Fairbridge Farm school who served in the Australian Defence Force were honoured. The isolated, rural Fairbridge Farm school operated child migration schemes for underprivileged British children near Molong in New South Wales from 1938 until 1974, during which time about 1000 boys and girls attended the school. Parents were persuaded to sign over legal guardianship of their children, on the promise of a better life in Australia.

Since 1945, more than seven million people have travelled across the seas to live in Australia—making it one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. In Australia today, one in four people was born overseas or has a parent who was born overseas.

The Welcome Wall tells stories of people who struggled against poverty and those who struck it rich. There are stories of involuntary migrants such as convicts from the First Fleet, unaccompanied migrant children in the Big Brother Movement, post-war refugees and migrants of more recent arrivals choosing modern Australia as a place to settle.

To find out more about the Welcome Wall visit welcomewall.anmm.gov.au

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