Migration to Illawarra Exhibition


A collaborative exhibition between the Migration Heritage Project and the University of Wollongong

The exhibition celebrated 15 years since the Migration Heritage Project was formed in 2001 and took a retrospective look at MHP’s exhibitions, publications, research and other work together with content from the University of Wollongong Archives.

Migration to the Illawarra, was curated by Eva Castle and Gregor Cullen for the Migration Heritage Project and Phillippa Webb for UOW Archives.

The exhibition was opened to everyone from 12 October 2016 until 22 January 2017.

Migration heritage is the legacy of people’s experiences of leaving one country and culture, travelling, adjusting to a new place, and becoming familiar with it and its people and continuing and adapting traditional culture. The legacy of migration can be found in many aspects of life such as personal belongings, language, beliefs and traditions, food and music – aspects of life that have continued or adapted in Australia. These are the things which have significance for individuals or groups. The stories of migration are fundamental to understanding communities in Australia.


About the Exhibition

The Illawarra Migration Heritage Project (MHP) is a community initiative designed to protect and promote the heritage of Illawarra’s diverse cultural communities. Since our start in 2001, the MHP group has undertaken a wide range of projects which have received support from local and state institutions: IMB Community Foundation, Wollongong City Council Community and Cultural Services and the University of Wollongong, the NSW Migration Heritage Centre at the Powerhouse Museum, the Heritage Council of NSW and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. MHP has promoted the recording and appreciation of migration heritage through: workshops to help groups and individuals document their heritage records, photographs and objects; exhibitions including Celebrations: Spirit of Communities at Wollongong City Gallery and other locations in 2003; George Cross Falcons Club: Maltese Australians in The Illawarra in 2006; and Collections of Hopes and Dreams in 2012 at the Wollongong City Gallery; and mini book Stamina: Aspiration and Capability in 2011 on migration heritage and the textile, clothing and footwear industry in Wollongong 1940s to 1970s; working with the University of Wollongong to help save the remaining Nissan huts from the Balgownie Hostel at Fairy Meadow, now on the State Heritage Register; researching Wollongong’s migration heritage places: compiling home movies that document the lifestyles and experiences of migrants who settled in the Illawarra; and undertaking ground breaking historical research on Early Migrant Pioneers of the Illawarra 1830s-1920s and the John Radecki Stained Glass Artist Walking Trail. MHP collaborators include WCC Strategic Planning/Heritage, National Trust (Illawarra and Shoalhaven Branch), University of Wollongong Creative Arts, History, and University Archives, Wollongong City Gallery, Multicultural Communities council of Illawarra and individuals, community workers and heritage specialists who helped found the MHP and continue to support its projects.

During the exhibition two events were held one being a panel discussion "How Wollongong Changed the Nation" on 26 November 2016 and the other being a workshop "Telling your Migration Story" on 21 January 2017. Both of these events were facilitated by the MHP and hosted by the University of Wollongong.






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