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Archive of Vietnamese Boat People Flemington, Victoria

Collecting documents relating the events of Vietnamese boat people from 1975 and the establishment of the Vietnamese Community in Victoria

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Flemington Victoria (map)
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+61 +61 403578467
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Flemington Victoria

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About Vietnamese Boat People event 1975 - 1996 after the collapse of the South Vietnam and ruled by Communist regime and the establishment of the Vietnamese Community in Victoria (and Australia)

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Mass grave of VBP in Cherang Ruku, Malaysia

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

This mass grave is to bury 139 Vietnamese boat people (VBP) in an escape boat of MT065. They arrived at the shore of Cherang Ruku, Kelantan state of Malaysia in the late afternoon of 31 Nov 1978, with the push-back policy, the boat was not allowed to unload a number of more than 300 boat people in the small boat. They had to anchore at a distance of about 200 metre away from the shore. In the early morning of 1-Dec-1978 a storm of the monsoon season quickly swept over the area. The boat was capsized. 139 + 49 boat people were killed. Bodies of 139 VBP were washed ashore into the beach of Cherang Ruku, were collected and buried in this mass grave. The remains of another 49 VBP were collected 4 days later and buried in Balai Bachok, about 30 km away from Cherang Ruku. The 5 grave stones with a name list of 123 VBP were built by the UN HCR with the names they could find. The man who was in charge of burying these VBP was interviewed in 2010, retold the story and confirmed he buried 139 bodies, not 123.

Inscriptions & Markings

Mass grave of VBP in Cherang Ruku, Malaysia

Inspection at a VBP cemetery in Kuala Terengganu (Dec 2005)

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Graveyard Zone F in Bidong refugee camp

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

The graveyard in Zone F had been cleaned up in 1991 before the Bidong refugee camp was closed down permanently in Nov 1991.

Historical information

This is the largest burial ground in Zone F, of Pulau Bidong Island in Malaysia. This photo was taken in May 2012

Inscriptions & Markings

Graveyard Zone F

Refugee ID Card of a refugee in Bidong

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Bidong Refugee ID

Historical information

Bidong Refugee ID issued in 1989.

Significance

All refugee had one of this card.

Inscriptions & Markings

Bidong Refugee ID

A crematorium at refugee camp, Site II, in Thailand

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

VN boat people in refugee camp at Kota Bharu

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

VN boat people in refugee camp at Kota Bharu, 1980. Former refugee camp in Kota Bharu, capital of the state of Kelantan, north of Malaysia. It was a temporary camp and was closed down in 1984 after all refugees had been moved to Pulau Bidong.

Mass grave of VBP in Balai Bachok

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

A VBP mass grave in Balai Bachok is where there were 49 VBP buried. Together with the mass grave in Cherang Ruku they were the vitims from the boat MT065. The grave was built on 4 Dec 1978.

Inscriptions & Markings

Mass grave of VBP in Balai Bachok

An ash container of a VBP, Sikiew, Thailand, Dec 2005

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Certificate of Recommendation of a refugee

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Revisit to the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Organized by the Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, a group of 48 overseas Vietnamese around the world came to visit the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku. The grave was found by the Archive of Vietnamese Boat People. It was the first overseas Vietnamese group ever came to this place.

Inscriptions & Markings

Revisit to the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku

Member Card of a social club in Sungei Besi refugee camp

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

5 grave stones of the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

This 5 grave stones of the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku were built by the UN-HCR. As told by the local old man, Mr Lim at 80 years old, in 2010, who was in charge of burying these victims from the first day, he confirmed that there were 139 bodies buried by himself. It can accepted that because the name list of the boat was lost during sinking, the name list angraved on the stones was collected by UN HCR member by interviewing the victims who could identified victims. Furthermore the dead bodies, as told by Mr Lim, were washed ashore not in one day. The local residents could not contact to report to the UN HCR many after the accident, what they could do was that they had to quicly bury the decomposed bodies. As told by vitims of the MT065, about 2 - 3 days after the accident, they were called to the beach to identify the bodies. No way they could identify the body because it was swollen and decomposed. Face and parts of the body was eaten by fish.

Inscriptions & Markings

5 grave stones of the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku

Remain of a worship place at refugee camp in Phnat Nikohm, Thailand

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Boats used by VBP to escape to Indonesia

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Vietnamese Boat People - Pulau Bidong

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Family portrait of a couple and first born child (son) in front of what look like their home at the time. This was taken at 1979 on the island called Pulau Bidong. It's a photo which has been laminated onto a light blue backing paper. The photo's corner has also been rounded with hand written label stating; 'Pulau - Bidong 1979'

Historical information

The couple from this photo has gone through great hardship in the period they spent as refugees. They fled Southern Vietnam (Ca Mau) after the Vietnam War in late 1979 when the chinese have invaded and settled in Vietnam. They came on the #91 boat called Minh Hai 375 and arrived at the island on 10/22/1978. Prior to that they were ambushed by pirates who tried to rob, rape and completely take advantage of the vulnerable state the refugee people in. They recall having to purposely sink the boat so that they can be allowed into the country.

Significance

This photo is great evidence to the family value Vietnamese refugees hold in the period of the period of fleeing the poor conditions that exists back in their country. People put their life online just to HOPE for a better life.

A gravestone of VBP in a cemetery in Kuantan, Malaysia

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

A mass grave of 3 VBP in Besut, Terengganu

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Demolishment of Bidong refugee camp in 1991

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Bidong refugee camp located in Bidong Island, Terengganu state, Malaysia, was established in Oct 1978 and closed down in Nov 1991. In 13 years it provided accomodatation to a number of nearly 250,000 Vietnamese boat people, with the topmost crowded period of time in 1980 it housed over 40,000 boat people at one time in a small area of one square kilometre.

Inscriptions & Markings

Demolishment of Bidong refugee camp in 1991

A mass grave of 33 VBP in a cemetery in Kuala Terengganu

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Inspecting the VBP cemetery in Besut, Dec 2005

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Ash container of a VBP at Sikiew, Thailand (Dec 2005)

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Close-up of a grave stone of the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Praying at the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

In Aug-2006 a group of 48 overseas Vietnamese came back to visit and pray at the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku and at many other cemeteries along the eastern coast of Malaysia. The trip was organized by the Archive of Vietnamese Boat People. It was the first group of the overseas Vietnamese coming to visit since the end of the wave of VBP in Malaysia in 1996. The grave was found by the Archive of Vietnamese Boat People.

Inscriptions & Markings

Praying at the VBP mass grave in Cherang Ruku

Certificate of Activities of a refugee in Bidong

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Certificate of Activities of a refugee in Bidong

Inscriptions & Markings

Certificate of Activities of a refugee in Bidong

Vietnamese boat people in Air Raya, 1978

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Vietnamese boat people in Air Raya, 1978. Air Raya is the name of a former refugee camp located in Jemayah Island (Anambas Islands), Riau Province, Indonesia, established for Vietnamese boat people.

A mass grave of 33 VBP in a cemetery in Kuala Terengganu

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

VBP Refugee's mass grave at Balai Bachok

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Vietnamese cemetery in Bataan (Philippines) - Cemetery of Vietnamese refugees at Bataan Processing Centre in Philippines

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

There are about 300 graves found in this cemetery. Bataan was a Processing Centre established in 1980 and closed down in 1994, now called Bataan Technology Park, in Subic Bay area (Philippines), 2 hours drive from Manilla.

Historical information

This cemetery is situated in the former Bataan Processing Centre (Manilla, Philippines). Record showed there were about 300 refugees were buried in this cemetery. The Centre was closed down in 1996. Cemetery was left deserted. This Processing Centre was the place where it was been used as a temporary stop-over from 1978 - 1996 for those who had been accepted to be resettled in USA. They stayed here for 6 months to be trained for English and Living in USA.

Significance

This photograph is significant because it represents the high death rate at a Processing Centre The cemetery is linked with many other refugee cemeteries in the South East Asia. It is the evidence of the cost for Freedom, cost to escape from Communism in the world, during the 21-year event of Vietnamese boat people, where there were more than 500,000 Vietnamese lost their lives. The place should be well maintained as one of the heritage sites of this event.

3 VBP graves at Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Vietnamese boat people in Philippines - Refugees in Philippines

Archive of Vietnamese Boat People, Flemington

Black and whilte picture taken at Lubang Island, Philippines, 1978. A group about 50 Vietnamese refugees landing in Lubang Island, Philippines, 1978. Pictures taken on a beach of the island, in front of 2 huts covered with coco-palm leaves as temporary shelter, together with two nuns and government workers coming to pick up and transfer to a refugee camp.

Historical information

Vietnamese boat people landing in Philippines during the first years of the events (1975 - 1996). They were grouped up from many different islands and transferred to the refugee camp in Palawan Island. There they were interviewed and waited for decision from UNHCR to be granted settlement approval. Then they would be transferred to Bataan Processing Centre in Manilla waiting for flight to a third country.

Significance

It is one of the very rare black and white photographs collected during the first years of the Vietnamese boat people in Philippines.

Inscriptions & Markings

Nguoi Viet ty nan tai Lubang, Philippines, 1978.