Migrant Hostels Anniversaries Featured

SHARE THE STORIESSHARE THE MEMORIES In Celebration of the Many People who Migrated to Australia Post World War 2Share your Stories and Memories of Coming to Wollongong and Life in the Migrant Hostels 2018 marked the beginning of many anniversaries associated with the construction and opening of migrant workers camps and hostels and the arrival of the first post World War 2 migrants to our region. To celebrate these significant anniversary years we are asking you to share your stories, or your family's stories. <More> MIGRANT HOSTELS IN WOLLONGONG In Celebration of the Migrant Hostels and Camps 70th Anniversaries The…

​A Museum of Human Migration for our region Featured

Feasibility Study​ Read Museum Feasibility Study <Download PDF here> Image Courtesy of National Archives of Australia A12111, 1/1947/3/6 The Illawarra Migration Heritage Project Inc. (MHP) and the Multicultural Communities Council of the Illawarra (MCCI) received funding from the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund to scope the feasibility and viability of a large and significant museum that will tell the story of our rich and diverse heritage through the lens of human migration. This study is now complete and available for download at the link above. The Concept Study for Establishing a Heritage Centre of Human Migration in the Illawarra illustrates…


COLLECTIONS OF HOPES AND DREAMS EXHIBITION Collections of Hopes and Dreams: objects and stories connecting generations of migrants was an exhibition by the Migration Heritage Project that was held in the Wollongong City Gallery from 19 November 2011 to 4 March 2012 and was Curated by Eva Castle The Collections of Hopes and Dreams Exhibition provided for many residents a significant personal reality, in a regional gallery exhibition – a life of dispossession and dislocation arising from World War 2, or growing up in families that experienced the Second World War in Europe. Porcelain, handicraft, poetry and biography, photographs, clothing,…

Celebrations Exhibition Featured

Celebrations: Spirit of Communities People have migrated to Australia from all over the world and brought with them their familiar celebrations to mark important public and private occasions. Mostly these are stages in human life that all of us go through: birth, puberty, adulthood, marriage, death. But in between these milestones fall other events: each village, town and city creates its own celebrations that announce to each other and to visitors: 'This occasion is what makes us unique'. Many communities in Wollongong have made celebrations. They have brought them from other places and changed them to fit with a new…


These people have been photographed where they first lived when they came to Wollongong after World War II. First generation migrants stayed in friends' garages, in boarding houses, government hostels or tents in Stuart Park and Towradgi. They often met others in a similar situation who became lifelong friends. Photographer Mayu Kanamori's work for First Generation was inspired by the MHP Migration Places Project. All photographs by © Mayu Kanamori 2009 unless otherwise stated as historical photo. © Mayu Kanamori 2009 / Wollongong City Council / MHP Nissen Huts, Berkeley Hostel, south-west view, early 1950’s, Illawarra Images, from the collections…

Public Program

In association with Viva La Gong Festival and in conjunction with the Celebrations: Spirit of Communities Exhibition a Public Program of singing, dancing, music and food celebrating the Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese and Greek traditions was held in the Wollongong City Gallery on Saturday 18 October 2003. Enjoy some of the images from this day in the images below. Spectators gather around the Celebrations: Spirit of Communities Exhibitionfor the start of the public program inside the Wollongong City Gallery Young children from the Wollongong VietnameseCommunity perform at the Public Program Greek Dancing Portuguese Dancing Italian Choir

Macedonian Bread Stamp

Macedonian Bread Stamp When the stamped bread is used in church it represents the body of Jesus Christ. The stamp has been blessed, and is used for different ceremonies including Patron Day. Each section of the stamp has a specific meaning and the divisions in the stamp help the priest divide up the bread among the congregation. "My contribution is through food. I always cook, every night. I think it keeps the family closer. I want them to cook too - I learned by looking, helping. I also make bread." Elena

Macedonian Dress

Macedonian Dress on display at the Celebrations Exhibition 'Many women that married in the villages before the 1950s would have been married in a dress they made themselves. This is not a wedding dress as such but a dress for special occasions. Many of these women would have brought their special dress when migrating to Australia.' Mendo

Macedonian Christening

Macedonian Christening Candles After the christening the candles are taken home and brought back to the church three times and lit. The third time they are left at the church. The lit candles signify everlasting life and as the flame rises so do the congregation's prayers. Parents can also choose to become closer to their friends by having their sons 'christened in the same water', like brothers - called pobratim.

Macedonian Name Day

'Villages have two Patron Days, one in winter and one in summer, on which visitors, friends and relatives come to the village and celebrate with music, dancing and food. There is also a special celebration at church, during which the priest blesses a large, elaborately decorated bread (kolak) and the 'hosts' of the Patron Day receive a portion of the loaf. The rest is distributed to the congregation. In Wollongong all of us from the village of Velusina still celebrate St George's Day because St George is our most important village patron. Each year a different family hosts the event.…

Macedonian Dance

'There is a large Macedonian community in Wollongong concentrated around Port Kembla, Warrawong and more recently Barrack Heights. You gravitate towards your own people. You live with your people, you shop with your people, you go to your own activities and that's celebrations. I pity the ones who have no support from their community here. Our first celebrations in Wollongong were mainly men only, who often lived in one house, sponsored each other to emigrate, went guarantor for bank loans and helped each other with employment. All Macedonian celebrations need to have the oro - the traditional Macedonian dance. The…

Macedonian Wedding

'Traditionally weddings were only Sunday things but now, because of work commitments, they do it Friday or Saturday night, so they are changing. And people want to get married at Christmas time because they are on holidays.' Elena 'We were married three times. Once at the registry office in Velusina, my village in Macedonia, with my few remaining relatives there; once in Skopje with Elena's parents because they missed out on the first wedding; and a church wedding at St Dimitrija, the Macedonian Orthodox Church in Stewart St Wollongong, with 400 guests all from my side of the family. On…

Portuguese Christmas

1. Baby Jesus in Crib 2. Christmas table 3. Fifty year old Baby Jesus 'The baby Jesus is from my mum and is over 50 years old. It has a crown but one of the arms is broken. The baby Jesus' dress is made originally from my mother's wedding gown. First my mum made my christening dress from it. They leave extra material in the seams so that later on they can repair or remodel the dress and it can be used when the child is bigger. The first time you wear it, it has to be a special gathering…

Portuguese Christmas Eve

At midnight you would carry the baby Jesus, the oldest child first, to the tree and put it into the crib. 'Christmas is a Catholic celebration. On Christmas Eve we eat around 5pm - Portuguese bread, olives and cheese, and bacalhau (salted cod) - then we go to church for midnight mass.' Grace 'We light candles to bless my family, and for me.' Rose Mary 'After church we come home and eat chicken soup - it's cold in Portugal, so it's traditional here - and open our presents. We eat the soup out of coffee cups - in Portugal there…

Portuguese Flower Arches

Portuguese Flower Arches on display the at Celebrations Exhibition 'In Portugal the marchas celebrate the festival of Santo Antoninho (St Anthony) and fresh flowers are used to make the arches. In Lisbon the capital city of Portugal, there are hundreds of dancers competing with each other for prizes.' 'The Association has eight flower arches. All the paper flowers are made by volunteers. The flowers have to be colourful and catch the eye.' Grace

Portuguese Flower Marches

We want to teach the children the traditions that the events come from - the meaning of things and why they are held 'The (South Coast Portuguese Association) club is important for the community and it is a big responsibility to run it. There are about 3000 Portuguese people in this area. Name Days and Saints Days are celebrated in the club. Easter and Christmas are celebrated at home.' Angie 'In Portugal the main community events were the festivals and everyone went. People from one town would go to the celebrations held in other towns. We want to teach the…

Italian Chestnut Roaster

Fred Romano (above) using his home-made chestnut roaster on the BBQ. It is based on a traditional roaster called a spaèla. 'There was always a lot of discussion about how impossible it was to find chestnuts in Australia . We also heard gruesome stories about children who pricked themselves on the spiky outer husk. They used to say that the prickle was so fine they couldn't see it and it got infected and they had to chop a finger off to save the child. So chestnuts have a colourful history in my heritage.' Franca 'We make chestnuts under the griller.…

Italian Chestnut Day

Viva La Castagne Chestnuts have a special place in Italian culture and are mentioned in the writings of the Roman Pliny (23-79 AD). During and after World War II many people in Italy survived on chestnut flour and chestnuts. The corn and grain fields had all been bombed. 'We used to live on chestnut bread - breakfast, afternoon tea (merenda) was dried figs and chestnut bread. I can't stand it now.' Turo 'Chestnuts evoke such nostalgia for my parents and their friends. Nostalgia for the old days, for the changing seasons, for the lost flavours, and memories of poverty and…

Italian 'La Sbandierata"

Sienese flags La Sbandierata (flag-waving) began in Wollongong 22 years ago, when permission was obtained from the city of Siena to bring to Australia some Sienese flags and costumes. Wollongong is the only place outside Siena to have these authentic flags. The Alfieri, a group of children from the Italian Language and Culture Program, perform the flag-waving during Italian Week. The flags represent the 17 Contrade (districts) of Siena and date back to the Middle Ages. Each district is symbolised by an animal, either real or mythical.

Italian Cake

An example of a cake made by Tonitto's displayed at the exhibition This cake was made by Laurence Tonitto, who began working as a pastry chef in 1986 and joined his father Vince in the family business in 1988. Laurence's mother Adalgisa made all the bomboniere (the special decorations for the cakes). The family has made cakes for all kinds of special events in the Italian community. 'We have made a few cakes for the Fraternity Club including one in the shape of Italy , showing all the provinces and islands.' Laurence
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