Issue 4 Migration Heritage Project Newsletter December 2004
In this issue:
- CAPAH Association Heritage Project
- Maltese Community Heritage Project
- National Library of Australia Multicultural Documentary Heritage
- At A Glance
- SPANISH SPEAKERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
- CAPAH Association Heritage Project
CAPAH Association Inc was created and established almost 25 years
ago by Dorys Hernandez. Its main objective was to support and
assist the Spanish speaking aged community in the Illawarra. On
Fridays each week a Spanish speaking respite care group meets
at the Anglican Church Market Street. It is called "Sol de
Otono". Older people are able to share their experiences
and seek help for issues encountered as immigrants in everyday
What are we doing: Tania Mastroianni, the MHP project officer,
was invited by Sol de Otono to explain about the Migration Heritage
projnect Inc. We found this project fascinating. We agreed to
create a small booklet consisting of short summaries of client's
experiences, during their departure from their country and arrival
in Australia - what they felt, how they began to accept their
new life. We can use this as a way of learning more about migration
experiences and cultural diversity. It can also be given as gifts
to their children or grandchildren. We got in contact with Community
Services students at Wollongong TAFE and asked if the Spanish
speaking students were interested in helping Sol de Otono with
the migration heritage project. We were lucky to have four students
interested in assisting with the project.
Where we are up to: We have collected interviews and are preparing
them for publication. This will be in Spanish and English. Much
of the work is supported by volunteers who have language skills,
equipment to scan pictures and help put it all into a presentable
What the project means to the group: It is a way of acknowledging
their existence in the history of Australia. Sol de Otono hopes
to raise awareness of migration heritage and encourage other community
groups to be involved. I believe TAFE students that have been
assisting us to make our dream become reality will benefit by
the opportunity to have met a variety of people from different
cultures, which have different points of view of their counties.
Estimated completion date: May-June 2005.
MALTESE COMMUNITY HERITAGE PROJECT
As the Maltese Community Development Officer for the Illawarra
Area, for the past five years, Lorraine Vargas (nee Sammut-Alessi)
came to realise that amongst the aging population of Maltese people
who immigrated to Wollongong, there were a vast wealth of memories
that were not being recorded and many objects were in a real danger
of being lost if no action was taken to preserve these stories
Lorraine , herself a daughter of Maltese immigrants and a Wollongong
resident for some 27 years, found that when people came in to
her office to fill out some forms, for example, they would stay
and talk about their life in Malta and their life in Wollongong
. Lorraine felt it was a shame that nothing was in place to make
sure that these stories were being recorded. Two years ago, with
the formation of the Migration Heritage Project (MHP) Lorraine
was given the opportunity to start documenting the Maltese migrant
history in a structured way.
So on 17 June 2004 members of the Migration Heritage Project ,
together with Lorraine , held a presentation at the George Cross
Falcons Club in Cringila and invited members of the Maltese community
in Wollongong . This was primarily an information night to let
them know that their stories were important and that if anyone
wanted to share their information Lorraine going to start collecting.
Following the presentation Lorraine list of participants grew.
Lorraine is now in the process of collecting stories or information
about objects, photographs or documents people may have at home.
Their stories are then recorded on audiotapes or be transcribed
directly onto the computer. Lorraine scans photographs and documents
and photograph objects, to record all this information. Lorraine
also gives them a questionnaire to fill out, either with her in
the office or to take away with them to do at home, which would
record all their important personal immigration history, once
again ensuring that their story is documented for history.
Lorraine never keeps any of these items as she does not want the
people participating in her project to feel that they relinquish
ownership of any objects, nor is any of the information or details
made known as everything remains anonymous unless written permission
is given by the owner. Lorraine , along with the MHP, feels very
strongly about respecting the privacy and the wishes of the individual.
So far Lorraine has recorded a lot of this information into files,
which she is archiving so that none of this information will be
lost. Lorraine hopes to put all this information together and
present it as part of the history of the Maltese community in
the Illawarra. She would also like to make the information available
to the Illawarra community as a whole, to be used as a means of
learning and understanding the hardships and joy that the Maltese
migrants in Wollongong experienced.
Much of the work Lorraine has achieved thus far is as a result
of funding received from the Community Relations Commission of
N.S.W. and with the support of the George Cross Falcons Club and
its president, George Bajjada, who was very supportive and welcomed
the idea of getting the Maltese community history together. To
Lorraine ’s surprise her endeavours have achieved special
attention both here and overseas.
Above all, Lorraine has found that members of the Maltese community
who are participating in this project have found an opportunity
to share their stories with other community members. Lorraine
is also very pleased to know that her efforts have provided them
an interest and is bonding the Maltese community as a whole.
If you too would like to participate, please contact Lorraine
Vargas (Sammut-Alessi), whose details appear below.
Lorraine Vargas (nee Sammut-Alessi) is currently employed as the
Maltese Community Development Officer for the Illawarra Area.
Her office is located at: George Cross Falcons Club, 25-27 Lake
Avenue, Cringila Office hours: 9:00am-4:00pm Tuesdays and Thursdays
Phone & Fax: 4274 6121 Email: email@example.com
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA MULTICULTURAL DOCUMENTARY
Fidelia Pontarolo of the Migration Heritage Project recently
took part in a workshop for multicultural communities to learn
to how to organise and preserve their heritage records.
The workshop held on 9-10 June at the National Library of Australia
in Canberra as part of the Library’s Multicultural Documentary
Heritage Project, was organised in collaboration with the National
Archives of Australia.
The event brought together 45 representatives of culturally diverse
community organisations from all states and territories with 29
different language or ethnic groups represented.
Working together, the participants learned new skills to help
them manage their organisation’s archives and will also
be able to pass on this information to assist other communities
or organisations, who are undertaking the collection of documentation,
photographs, tapes or objects to preserve their history, to ensure
that the lifespan of any collection is increased by reducing damage
and deterioration from improper storage and care.
Sir James Gobbo, Chairman of the National Library of Australia
Council, said, “By offering ethnic community organisations
participation in the workshop the National Library aims to assist
in the development and maintenance of community archives. Materials
such as photographs, letters videos, oral history, newsletters,
reports, minutes of meetings collected by ethnic communities are
an important part of Australia’s heritage. These items need
to be preserved for future generations because they document migrants’
experiences of settling in Australia and their significant contribution
to Australian life. A truly beneficial part of attending the workshop
was that the participants could establish a network with people
from similar organisations to their own. In addition, they made
contact with experts in collection management and preservation
from institutions such as the National Library, National Archives
and State Libraries” he said.
To further help ethnic communities the National Library has recently
published Preserving Australia’s Multicultural Heritage
– a practical and easy guide to starting and maintaining
an archival collection. The kit is available at www.nla.gov.au/multicultural/
For further information contact the Migration Heritage Project
PO Box 1589
South Coast Mail Centre 2521 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
AT A GLANCE
As you can see from the articles in this newsletter, the Migration
Heritage Project is making steady progress in its aim to highlight
the wonderfully diverse heritage of the population living in the
Illawarra. Most notably the Maltese and the Spanish speaking communities
have initiated new activities in the last few months but I am
confident that many more communities are recording their own histories
in many different ways across the area and it would be great to
see more of this work on display.
At the Annual General Meeting in November, the MHP presented a
report on progress against its strategic plan and it was pleasing
to note the range and breadth of activities that have taken place
over the year. A copy of the report is available if people are
interested in finding out more.
To continue to further our activities, the MHP has submitted 2
grant applications in the last weeks. One to the Community Relations
Commission for a heritage exhibition in 2005 and another to the
Area Assistance Scheme to purchase equipment for groups to use
to facilitate the recording of heritage projects. Hopefully we
will know of the outcomes soon.
The MHP has also supported an application by the Illawarra Ethnic
Communities for a film project, which will have a heritage component.
It is pleasing to see that groups are making connections with
the MHP and keen to work in partnership on projects with similar
We hope to launch our website in coming months, to distribute
our new brochure and begin the long road to securing sponsorship
for some of our activities.
If anyhone is interested in any element of the MHP please do not
hesitate to contact us through our email address: email@example.com
Become a member
If Illawarra’s cultural heritage matters to you, you may want to
stay in touch with MHP and become a member.
For further information:
Migration Heritage Project
PO Box 1589
South Coast Mail Centre
Wollongong NSW 2521