600 people attended a special ceremony at the Australian National Maritime Museum on Sunday 3 May to see 370 new names unveiled on our migrant Welcome Wall in honour of all those who have migrated from around the world by sea or air to live in Australia.
The ceremony, supported by the Professional Footballers Australia, featured guest speaker Simon Colosimo, formerly of A-League club the Melbourne Heart, who reflected on his own family’s migration from Italy. Three other guest speakers, who have placed names on the wall, also shared their families’ migration stories. Elizabeth Murphy shared the story of her parents who migrated from the Netherlands in 1947, Edward Thian shared the story of his father Nai Pow Thian who migrated from Malaysia in 1977 and Marilyn Ramage spoke about her great grandfather William Ellis who sailed from England to Brisbane in 1883.
The museum unveils new names on the Welcome Wall twice a year. This was the 35th unveiling ceremony bringing the total number of names on the wall to 27,414. More than 200 countries are now represented on the migrant Welcome Wall. Of these 7,512 are from England, 3,363 from Italy, 1,620 from The Netherlands, 1,615 from Germany, 1,535 from Scotland, 1,319 from Ireland and 959 from Greece.
As a multicultural nation with one in four of Australia’s 23 million people born outside Australia, the Welcome Wall is a celebration of diversity. It allows today’s Australians to pay tribute to migrant forebears, family members and friends by having their names inscribed on it. Located outdoors on the museum’s northern boundary, the wall faces Darling Harbour and Pyrmont Bay where some of the many new settlers arrived. Accessible all year-round, visitors can walk along the bronzed panels and learn more about the migration experience as well as reading the names engraved.
You can also explore the names on our virtual Welcome Wall. There are hundreds of fascinating migration stories – from involuntary migrants such as convicts from the First Fleet, unaccompanied migrant children in the Big Brother Movement, post-war refugees and migrants of more recent times who’ve chosen modern Australia as a place to settle.
We are now accepting names for the panel 73 to be unveiled at the end of 2015. If you would like to register yourself or a loved one and be part of this memorable event please visit our website and get in touch with the Welcome Wall team.
– Kim Brandner, Welcome Wall Project Assistant