About The Undesirables
This online exhibition is the expansion of The Undesirables, an exhibit currently on display at the museum. It showcases objects from the museum's Immigration collections to tell the story of post 1788 non-European migration. Museum objects are complimented by the use of objects from the National Archives of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales to provide a comprehensive overview of the complex history of non-European migration.
The exhibit's objects place an emphasis on the events and circumstances which lead to restrictive immigration policy in Australia. Beginning with the immigration influx of the mid 19th century gold rush era, it then explores the way in which established communities were affected by the new legislation. Since the abolition of racially discriminatory immigration legislation in the 1970s, prejudicial attitudes towards migrants and refugees persist in Australia today, these are explored through cartoons and recent political party flyers. The exhibit concludes with symbols of Australian multiculturalism and examples of notable non-European Australian migrants.
As a small University museum the Australian History Museum's limited display space places restrictions on exhibition content, particularly regarding text. The online exhibition was developed to provide greater access to exhibit objects and information while also inviting users to engage with the exhibits contents.
Gwen Bourgon, museum intern and The Undesirables exhibit curator is a recent Australian migrant. Since arriving in Australia Gwen has completed a Master of Museum Studies at the University of Sydney, her current research interests are in the representation of migration history.
Would you like to get involved?
If you or someone you know have migrated to Australia from a non-European nation and would like to share their story or images of significant objects contact the Australian History Museum.
The Undesirables is on display until May 2015