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Australia's National Monument to Migration

by Christina Chia, Contributing Brilliant Member, The Brilliant Foundation

SYDNEY HARBOUR - On a beautiful autumn’s day at Australian National Maritime Museum’s stunning waterfront location in Sydney Harbour, I was excited and humbled to be added to the Australia’s National Monument to Migration, which celebrates and honours the contribution of migrants to Australian life, culture and diversity.

It was an honour as a guest speaker at the unveiling ceremony on Saturday 20 May at the Australian National Maritime Museum Wharf 7.

As part of the ceremony, 574 names were unveiled, representing 53 countries. Donations were made that contributed to the Migration Heritage Fund which supports the Museum’s work to celebrate Australian migration.

The Monument is a major Museum initiative which promotes Australia’s multicultural identity Australia-wide. The monument features more than 32,000 names engraved on a series of bronze panels which thread along our waterfront site at Sydney’s Darling Harbour. It is backed up by a database of migrant stories and we have exciting plans for this digital program in the future.

Migration is not just about crossing a border. It's about the courage to embrace new beginnings and contribute to a brighter future.
Australia truly welcomes those who dare to dream.
The impact of migration on Australia is a testament to the power of unity. People from different corners of the world come together to create a mosaic of opportunity, harmony, and shared prosperity.

My first memory of Australia was when I was an international student in 1991. It was a hot summer’s day in February & my Marketing Communications lecturer came into our class in a wrinkled shirt. I was speechless.

And after the initial culture shock of the lecturer presenting in a wrinkled un-ironed shirt, he casually said “Hello” and asked us to call him by his first name, Michael.

You see, in my home country Malaysia, this type of casual behaviour is contrary to what I was used to. In Malaysia, culturally, lecturers are presented in ties and crisply ironed shirts . We are expected to formally address them as “Mr or Mrs”.

It was years later that I found out that linen shirts, like the one worn by my Australian lecturer Michael are worn during summer & good quality linen is expensive.

I completed my undergraduate degree at RMIT University in 1995.

I got married and worked in Melbourne for University of Melbourne.

I gave birth to my two beautiful daughters, Zoe and Ashley.

After some years I moved to Malaysia for family reasons.

This sounds like a fairy tale - educated, married & a young family.

However, this was not the case. I migrated back to Melbourne in 2005 - I was a single mother, with 2 young daughters in tow, 2 suitcases, little finances & limited network. It was one of the toughest times of my life.

As a determined single mother and sort of ‘new’ migrant again, what I brought with me was loads of courage & hope to suc