68 matches for themes: 'aboriginal culture','immigrants and emigrants'Diverse state (198) Aboriginal culture (38) Built environment (45) Creative life (66) Family histories (9) Gold rush (11) Immigrants and emigrants (36) Kelly country (3) Land and ecology (34) Local stories (63) Service and sacrifice (18) Sporting life (8)
Savoy Ladies Group
The Italian community of Myrtleford, in the picturesque Ovens Valley in alpine North Eastern Victoria, arrived mainly to work in the tobacco industry which once thrived in the area. The region now has a distinctive Italian-Australian culture with settled second, third and fourth generation Italian families.
Tobacco farming was a lonely experience for many of the Italian women who migrated to Myrtleford. Unlike their husbands, the women stayed largely on the farms and lacked social contact outside of their immediate circle. Once their children grew up and mechanisation changed the labour requirements on the farms, women were frequently on their own.
The Myrtleford Savoy Ladies Group was founded in 1983 by nuns concerned about the social isolation of women in the area. It has been a great success, forming a network of companionship amongst women of Italian heritage to this day.
Cultural Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users of this website are warned that this story contains images of deceased persons and places that could cause sorrow.
Images of Melbourne
Explore Melbourne through selected works from the National Gallery of Victoria.
These artworks capture phases of the city's development, and offer a portrait of the people, places and streetscapes that define it.
Collingwood Technical School
For over 140 years, the site of the former Collingwood Technical School on Johnston Street, Melbourne, has played an integral role in the well being of the local community.
It has been a civic hub, including courthouse (1853), Council Chambers (1860) and the Collingwood Artisans’ School of Design (1871). The school opened in 1912 when its first principal, Matthew Richmond, rang a bell on the street to attract new students. Collingwood was a poor and industrial suburb, and as a trade school, young boys were offered the opportunity to gain industrial employment skills.
Throughout the twentieth century, Collingwood Technical School supported the local and broader community. From training schemes for ex-servicemen who were suffering from post traumatic stress following World War I (1914-1918), to extra classes during the Great Depression, and the development of chrome and electroplating for machine parts for the Australian Army and Air Force during World War II (1939-1945).
The precinct between Johnston, Perry and Wellington Streets has transformed over time, including expansion with new buildings and school departments, and the change in the demographic of students as Collingwood evolved from an industrial centre to eventual gentrification. And in 1984, New York street artist, Keith Haring (1958-1990), painted a large mural onsite.
Collingwood Technical College closed in 1987 when it amalgamated with the Preston TAFE (Technical and Further Education) campus. Education classes continued until 2005 and the site sat empty for more than a decade, before a section was redeveloped for Circus Oz in 2013.
The former school now has a new identity as Collingwood Arts Precinct, and is being developed into an independent space for small and medium creative organisations. The heritage buildings will house the next generation of thinkers and makers, and will become a permanent home to the arts in Collingwood.
“The social impact it has is huge, but the footy club survives," says Charlie Gillingham, mixed farmer from Murrabit.
In this story the community talks about drought: its social impact, resilience, changes to farming practises, changing weather patterns and water trading.
The median annual rainfall of the Wimmera and northern plains of Victoria is 420mm. But this median does not convey the deluges that sometimes double the figure, or the dry spells that can halve it. Like semi-arid places elsewhere, the climate cycle of this region is variable.
Aboriginal people have had thousands of years to adapt to the fluctuations, whilst recent settlers are still learning.
The introduction of the Land Act of 1869 accompanied by the high rainfall La Niña years of the early 1870s brought selectors to northern Victoria and the Wimmera. A series of dry years in the 1880s initiated storage and channel projects to assist them to stay.
Irrigation was introduced in 1886 to settle the northern plains and was expanded under closer settlement legislation. The drought years from 1895 to 1902 came to be known as the Federation Drought. Water supplies dried up completely in the El Niño years of 1914 and 1915 and people took the opportunity to picnic in the empty bed of the River Murray.
Drought hit again during World War Two, and then in the period 1965-8. The drought of 1982-3 was short but devastating. Our most recent drought, lasting more than a decade, broke late in 2010 with extensive flooding.
Policy responses have changed over the years and with the recent onset of human induced climate change, continual adaptation will be required.
In 2009, the History Council of Victoria captured resident’s experiences in the project titled Drought Stories: a spoken and visual history of the current drought in Victoria. There were two aims to the project: to create a historic record of the experience, and to strengthen community capacity in rural and regional areas through telling and listening to local stories.
Two types of collections were produced: Drought Stories Local Collections, held by historical societies, and the Drought Stories Central Archive, a selection of interviews held by the State Library of Victoria.
The History Council of Victoria believes that the project material provides a rich resource to assist researchers understand Australian society at a crucial and revealing stage of adjustment to the Australian environment.
Legislation and other land records are held at the Public Record Office Victoria.
History Teachers Association Victoria / Heide Museum of Modern Art
Yingabeal: Indigenous geography at Heide
Yingabeal is the name of a scarred tree in the grounds of Heide Museum of Modern Art in the suburb of Bulleen, Victoria.
Before Heide became an art gallery, it was the home of John and Sunday Reed. They were patrons of the arts who arrived at the property in 1934 and created a place where artists could come to work. After they died, their house became the Heide Museum of Modern Art, a gallery that displays Australian art, including the collection that the Reeds built up in their lifetime.
But for thousands of years before the arrival of the Reeds, the land belonged to the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. Scarred trees are those that have been permanently marked by Indigenous communities using their bark to make tools or equipment.
Lorraine Northey Connelly
Once a symbol of cultural survival, traditional crafts have in recent years become a means of reaffirming cultural identity.
In the hands of Waradgerie artist Lorraine Northey Connelly, this rich tradition undergoes further reinterpretation. She transforms woven string baskets and coolamons into contemporary colonial artefacts, using rustic materials, synthetic paint, ochre painted on sheets of corrugated iron, scrap metals and wire netting: expressive of a shared history and her own heritage of mixed cultures.
Over the past fourteen years Lorraine has been re-discovering her childhood environments, namely the mallee and riverine, acquiring a knowledge of local native and introduced plants and their cultural uses. Lorraine's personal interest in the protection of the environment and equality for all is represented in her art, through the use of recycled materials and symbols of reconciliation.
Contemporary Artists Honour Barak
During the 1860s, at the time of the NGV’s founding, William Barak (1863–1903) was a Wurundjeri leader and artist of great renown, working for his people at Coranderrk, near Healesville. In honour of the NGV’s 150th anniversary, the Felton Bequest commissioned three contemporary artists to create installations that honour Barak’s art and life.
Vernon Ah Kee’s Ideas of Barak, consists of three parts in different media. Jonathan Jones’s untitled (muyan) is an installation of five light boxes that pulse with LED geometric designs. Brook Andrew’s Marks and witness is a dizzying wall drawing of Wiradjuri designs of zigzag and diamond that reference Barak’s possum skin cloak designs.
These works are on display in the multimedia room of the Indigenous Galleries, above the escalator and in the stairwell of The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square.
In this story, Vernon Ah Kee and Jonathan Jones talk about their creative process and Auntie Joy Murphy-Wandin talks about Barak, and the artists’ engagement with him, and about Barak’s work at Coranderrk.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users of this website are warned that this story contains images of deceased persons and places that could cause sorrow.
Goldfields Stories: Dai gum san, big gold mountain
It may come as a surprise to some that the oldest Imperial Dragon in the world, Loong, is to be found in Bendigo, Victoria.
In 1851 gold was found in the Bendigo region. News reached China and by 1853 Chinese miners started to arrive at Dai Gum San (Big Gold Mountain). By 1855 there were up to 4000 Chinese in the Bendigo goldfields, about one fifth of the population.
By the 1860s, Bendigo was becoming a wealthy and established town, and in 1869 The Bendigo Easter Fair and Procession was initiated to raise funds for the Bendigo Benevolent Asylum and Hospital. By 1871, the Chinese, keen to support the wider community, joined the procession, providing music, theatre and acrobatic displays. Their position as the main attraction at the Fair was confirmed by 1879.
All of the costumes, flags and musical instruments were imported from China, with no expense spared. For the 1882 Fair, 100 cases of processional regalia were imported. In 1892 a further 200 cases arrived, along with Loong, the Imperial five-clawed dragon, who made his first appearance that year.
The traditions established in the 1860s by the Bendigo Chinese community continue to this day. As well as providing the main attraction in the Bendigo Easter Festival, ceremonies such as the Awakening of the Dragon are conducted. These traditions reflect uniquely preserved traditions, many of which were lost or discontinued in mainland China. They also reflect traditions, such as the main celebration taking place at Easter rather than Chinese New Year, that trace the history of the Chinese in Victoria.
The remarkable collection of 19th Century processional regalia that has been preserved by the Chinese community in Bendigo is held in the Golden Dragon Museum. It is not only a collection of world significance but, importantly, it contextualises and preserves the living heritage of both Victoria and China.
Cuc Lam left her whole family behind when she fled from Vietnam in 1978 with her husband Minh.
They escaped in a fruit and vegetable boat down the Mekong Delta, disguised as fishermen. Cuc was able to take very few belongings with her: a watch from her sister, her wedding ring, her mother's earrings.
After 8 days at sea, they were finally picked up by a Malaysian ship. It was whilst in a Malaysian refugee camp that she heard she had been accepted into Australia, and sold her wedding ring to buy a red vinyl suitcase, so that she would not arrive in her new country empty handed. Cuc and Minh stayed in a Maribyrnong hostel in Melbourne until 1979, when Cuc had her first baby.
A former Maribyrnong City councillor, Cuc now works at Centrelink and continues supporting her family in Vietnam.
Rippon Lea Estate
"Do you remember the garden in which you grew up, or the part the backyard played in your family life? Imagine if you had actually grown up in one of Australia's finest gardens.
Created in the English-landscape tradition which traces its roots back to Capability Brown and Humphry Repton, Rippon Lea is one of Australia's most important historic homes, exemplifying the lifestyle of wealthy families living in 19th and 20th century Australian cities. Although its architecture and that of its outbuildings is impressive, it is the mansion’s gardens, which are truly remarkable, both for their landscape qualities and because they have survived many threats and changes in the past 130 years.
Today, the amenities offered by a typical garden are still greatly valued: a safe place for children to play, somewhere to dry the washing, a plot for vegetables and a flower garden that adds colour and produces blooms for the home. Today as then, the scale differs but the experience of owning a garden - with its balance of utility and ornament - is essentially the same.
The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) now runs Rippon Lea as a museum, conserving the architecture and the landscape, and presenting the social history of the owners and their servants. Visitors to Rippon Lea enter a mansion preserved as the Jones family lived in it after their 1938 modernisation. In the pleasure garden the Sargood era is evoked by the staging of a range of performing arts events including opera, theatre, chamber music and outdoor activities."
The text above has been abstracted from an essay Solid Joys and Lasting Treasure: families and gardens written by Richard Heathcote for the publication The Australian Family: Images and Essays. The entire text of the essay is available as part of this story.
This story is part of The Australian Family project, which involved 20 Victorian museums and galleries. The full series of essays and images are available in The Australian Family: Images and Essays published by Scribe Publications, Melbourne 1998, edited by Anna Epstein. The book comprises specially commissioned and carefully researched essays with accompanying artworks and illustrations from each participating institution.
What’s Going On!
What’s Going On! was a groundbreaking exhibition presenting contemporary indigenous artists from the Murray Darling basin.
Taking Mildura as the centre, at the confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers, the exhibition ranges from Menindee, Wilcannia and Broken Hill to the north and north east, Berri in the south west and Swan Hill to the east, dissolving State boundaries that fragment this distinct region. Uniting the artists in the exhibition are extended family networks and connections to country.
There is a much-loved story told by Aboriginal people on the Murray, that when you open out the swim bladder of a Murray cod, the tree-like forms of its skin reveal the place where the fish was born. Aboriginal children are sometimes told that this is the very same tree under which they were born. These various skin stories reveal the connection of people to the Murray Darling river system, where ‘everyone has a place under the tree’.
Digital Stories of Young Adults
Being a teenage mother, expressing the power of music and defining identity and sexuality are just some of the stories shared by the young people who have taken part in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) Digital Storytelling program.
Inside each story is a profusion of ideas and emotions that are edited together as an illuminating way for the young storytellers to evoke memories, places and events that inspire them. Digital Storytelling provides a powerful multimodal learning tool that allows young people to tap into their creativity and critical awareness while allowing for a fluid manipulation and construction of technical and storytelling knowledge.
For more information visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image website
Diplomat, artist, story-teller and leader, Wurundjeri (Woiwurung) man William Barak worked all his life to protect the rights and culture of his people, and to bridge the gap between settlers and the land’s original custodians.
Barak was educated at the Yarra Mission School in Narrm (Melbourne), and was a tracker in the Native Police as his father had been, before becoming ngurungaeta (clan leader). Energetic, charismatic and mild mannered, he spent much of his life at Coranderrk Reserve - a self-sufficient Aboriginal farming community in Healesville.
Barak campaigned to protect Coranderrk, worked to improve cross-cultural understanding and created many unique artworks and artifacts, leaving a rich cultural legacy for future generations.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that this material may contain images and voices of deceased persons, and images of places that could cause sorrow.
Further information on William Barak can be found at the State Library of Victoria's Ergo site.
Wind & Sky Productions
Many Roads: Stories of the Chinese on the goldfields
In the 1850s tens of thousands of Chinese people flocked to Victoria, joining people from nations around the world who came here chasing the lure of gold.
Fleeing violence, famine and poverty in their homeland Chinese goldseekers sought fortune for their families in the place they called ‘New Gold Mountain’. Chinese gold miners were discriminated against and often shunned by Europeans. Despite this they carved out lives in this strange new land.
The Chinese took many roads to the goldfields. They left markers, gardens, wells and place names, some which still remain in the landscape today. After a punitive tax was laid on ships to Victoria carrying Chinese passengers, ship captains dropped their passengers off in far away ports, leaving Chinese voyagers to walk the long way hundreds of kilometres overland to the goldfields. After 1857 the sea port of Robe in South Australia became the most popular landing point. It’s estimated 17,000 Chinese, mostly men, predominantly from Southern China, walked to Victoria from Robe following over 400kms of tracks.
At the peak migration point of the late 1850s the Chinese made up one in five of the male population in fabled gold mining towns of Victoria such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Beechworth and Ararat. It was not just miners who took the perilous journey. Doctors, gardeners, artisans and business people voyaged here and contributed to Victoria’s economy, health and cultural life. As the nineteenth century wore on and successful miners and entrepreneurs returned home, the Chinese Victorian population dwindled. However some chose to settle here and Chinese culture, family life, ceremony and work ethic became a distinctive feature of many regional Victorian towns well into the twentieth century.
By the later twentieth century many of the Chinese relics, landscapes and legacy of the goldrush era were hidden or forgotten. Today we are beginning to unearth and celebrate the extent of the Chinese influence in the making of Victoria, which reaches farther back than many have realised.
The Apinis Loom
When Latvian refugees Anna and Ervins Apinis arrived in Australia in 1950 they brought with them a loom built of wood salvaged from bombed out German ruins, along with Anna's precious notebooks full of traditional fabric designs.
Anna Strauss was born in 1913 in Latvia. She attended weaving lessons in Leipaja from 1930 to 1933 and spent hours at the nearby Ethnographic Museum recording traditional fabric designs in her notebooks.
She married Ervins Apinis, an engineer, in 1938 and they had a son but soon World War II changed their lives. Ervins was conscripted into the German army while Anna fled Latvia, finally ending up in Memmingen Displaced Persons camp in Germany in 1945. There, they were finally reunited, remaining in the camp for five years until they migrated to Australia in 1950.
When they arrived at Parkes Holding Centre in New South Wales, they were so exhausted from their long journey, they slept on a huge wooden crate containing the traditional Latvian loom they had brought with them, built of wood scavenged from bombed German ruins. This loom is now at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne.
Anna continued her weaving traditions, passing her knowledge to her daughter Anita.
Try to imagine yourself on board a sailing ship in the 19th century...
Approaching the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, which is known to be a particularly dangerous harbour entrance, being very narrow (only 2 and a half kilometers across), fringed with rocky reefs, and turbulent because of the tides meeting the ocean swells of Bass Strait.
If you were the Captain you needed an accurate chart showing sea-depths, the coastline and its hazards, but also the navigational aids such as lighthouses and beacons which would guide you into port. You would also have needed a book of sailing directions...
Judy Scurfield, librarian at the State Library of Victoria, asks us to imagine the entry through the most hazardous Port Phillip Heads.
Further material can be found at the State Library of Victoria's Ergo site: Thomas Pierson (Diaries of an early arrival chronicle first impressions of Melbourne).