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The Museum reopens on 29 Oct 21. See Plan your visit

Australia is a nation of diverse cultures and nationalities, strongly shaped by migration. People have journeyed to and from this continent for thousands of years.

The suitcase symbolises our nation’s migrant history and heritage. Millions of people have packed their belongings, leaving family and friends behind to start a new life on the other side of the world. Many embarked on the journey with hope and optimism. Some left their homes reluctantly; others had no choice.

The suitcase also represents the many Australians who travel across the world for adventure and work.

More on migration to Australia

Postwar immigration drive

The arrival of more than two million immigrants after the Second World War helped transform Australian society.

Port Hedland detention centre

This 1991 defining moment was a key step in the policy of mandatory detention for people arriving in Australia without a visa.

Vietnamese refugees boat arrival

The arrival of the first refugees fleeing Vietnam in 1976 heralded the start of what has become a thriving community in Australia.

Migration learning resources

Digital Classroom games, videos, quizzes, images and activities based on migration.

In our collection

Brown leather suitcaseBrown leather suitcase. Top has six ripped travel stickers, and one ripped sticker on left side.
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