Melbourne Immigration Museum and NGV

After our usual breakfast at the hostel we decided to check out a few more of the museums around town. We’ve lined up the Immigration museum and National Gallery of Victoria for today. Let’s see how much we manage to fit in!

The Immigration Museum is on Flinders Street near the train station and next to the Yarra River. The museum offers student tickets which always helps with our budgeting.

The museum begins with the colonisation of Australia and the settlements that were set up. From the influx of POMS, Prisoner of Her Majesty’s Service, to the call for new settlers with the promise of land and money on arrival. The exhibition explores the effects colonisation had on Aboriginal people who lived in Australia from having their land stolen to the dehumanisation they suffered by the colonisers and their struggle to be recognised as people. This section also explores the political changes now happening and the efforts being made in removing laws which dehumanise or degrade Aboriginal people.

There are rooms filled with people’s stories who had immigrated to Australia and a mock test which you can take to see if you would qualify for residency. We were two answers off, not a bad first attempt. There is an interactive section where you can see and hear different examples of people’s applications to live in Australia so the student, the teacher or a medical person. A video is projected onto a wall of a arrivals hall where you are faced with different groups of people reacting to your arrival in different ways. So joyous or judgemental, welcoming or unwelcoming. It was quite an evocative piece.

Upstairs they have a exhibition on Australian football and how it is currently being used to tackle the lack of diversity in their teams and in Australia. The exhibition was great for learning about the sport for anyone who likes watching different types of sports. We are hoping to watch a match while we’re out here at some point.

After the Immigration Museum we moved on to the NGV for the last couple of hours before it closed. The Gallery is free to the public but has paid exhibitions as well. Unfortunately for us the paid for exhibitions look more appealing than the permanent exhibition. But as the NGV is Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited gallery we thought we’d give it a shot. The Gallery is also split across two venues, we visited the one on St Kilda Road. Free guided tours are offered twice a day but sadly we missed the last one.

We were impressed by the permanent exhibition and enjoyed spending the rest of our afternoon there. There is a fun waterfall between glass as you enter the Gallery which makes for a lovely photo spot.

We would definitely suggest both museums to anyone visiting Melbourne.

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