Vietnamese Doll

Vietnamese Doll

Vietnamese Doll 1968

Title: Vietnamese Doll

Date: 1968

Dimensions: 423mm x 10mm x 13mm

Material: Plastic, satin cloth, rope, metal, paint

Provenance: Made in Vietnam, donated to the museum by Amanda Mawson who received as a gift form her brother, Lt. Bob Cooper serving a 12 month tour of duty with the Australian Army in Vietnam

Description: Vietnamese Doll of female, wearing cosmetics, a satin a teal satin cloth, sandals and a conical hat known as a nón lá; which has become a symbol of Vietnam. The figure is standing on a platform, secured with metal nails.

Significance: Dolls like this were made exclusively during the late 1960s for foreign servicemen in Vietnam.

Fighting in the Vietnam war disrupted the country for over a decade (1960-1975). Hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced Vietnamese migrated to other countries fleeing persecution after the fall of Saigon. The Vietnamese were the first refugees to arrive in Australia aboard fishing vessels unsuited for the journey. Today refugees from various parts of Asia continue to arrive in Australia in the same manner.

This object represents the transnational relation between Vietnam and Australia. It was created during the crisis which lead western nations to change their immigration policies, particularly for Australia, the arrival of Vietnamese refugees re-established Asian migration.

The second World War produced millions of displaced persons and refugees, over 2 million migrants arrived in Australia in the post war period. Civil and global conflicts like those in Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan  continue to produce refugees and asylum seekers, who flee political and religious persecution in their homelands to resettle in peaceful areas such as Western Europe, North America and Australia.

Related links:

Follow this link to discover the story of the Hong Hai, the very first Vietnamese refugee vessel to arrive in Australia.

Or this link to learn more about the Tu Do, on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum;

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