by Jude Timms
A much-awaited special ceremony happens at the Australian National Maritime Museum this Sunday, 4th November, when three hundred new names are unveiled on the Museum’s Migrant Welcome Wall with around 1000 people expected in attendance. The Welcome Wall stands in honour of all those who have migrated from around the world to live in Australia.
Australian National Maritime Museum Welcome Wall.
The guest speaker is SBS newsreader Kathy Novak, who will reflect on her Filipino and Polish heritage and her own migrant experience. She will be followed by two speakers, Natasha Trajovski and Marjo Carter, who have added names to the wall and who will share their families’ migrant stories.
Australia is a multicultural nation with 44 per cent of its 22 million people born overseas or with a parent who was born overseas. Over 260 languages are spoken and more than 270 ancestries are identified with. The museum’s Welcome Wall is a celebration of this diversity.
Today’s Australians are invited to pay tribute to migrant family members and friends by having their names inscribed on the bronze panelled wall. They can reflect on a new life down under by adding their own names.
Guests at previous Australian National Maritime Museum Welcome Wall's special ceremony - Australian National Maritime Museum
For each name, people can contribute a brief (50-word) story about the person being honoured to describe their journey. Only the name appears on the wall but the brief biographical note is available on a kiosk at the museum and on the Welcome Wall website.
The National Maritime Museum considers the arrival of waves of migrants on these shores to be one of the major themes in Australia’s maritime history. It has built the Welcome Wall on its northern boundary, facing Darling Harbour and Pyrmont Bay where many new settlers arrived.
The 300 new names will bring the total number of names on the wall to 25,086. Of these 7078 are from England, 3157 from Italy, 1569 from the Netherlands, 1499 from Germany, 1448 from Scotland, 1254 from Ireland and 893 from Greece. In all, more than 206 countries are represented.
For further information on the Welcome Wall or to register a name, phone (02) 9298 3667 or visit the Welcome Wall website.