This winter, the Immigration Museum in Melbourne will come alive with untold stories about Australia’s past. By Anna Hager 
A perfect activity for kids during the school holidays, these exhibitions not only tell amazing stories about immigration and its contribution to Australia, but will also educate young and old alike about a very important and not well known part of our country’s history.

Australia’s Muslim Cameleers: Pioneers of the Inland 1860s – 1930s

This exhibition will introduce you to Australia’s first Muslim community. Immigrants from Afghanistan and British India came to Australia from the mid-1800s and, mostly as cameleers, made significant contributions to the settlement and discovery of Australia’s harsh outback country.

In 1860 Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills led what was to be the first of a number of inland expeditions, making their way from Melbourne all the way to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the North of Australia. To understand the significance and hardship of these inland explorations, it might be interesting to know that only one man out of a team of 19 survived this particular adventure.

The exhibition includes fascinating photographs, historic clothing, camel saddles, as well as textiles and original documents from the time of these explorations. It will be open to the public until September 19, 2010.

Survival of a Culture: Kurds in Australia

Through showing a number of objects like traditional costumes, instruments, hand-made carpets, hand-woven crafts and pewter ware, this exhibition explores the survival of the Kurdish culture through invasion and division of its traditional lands. Even in Australia today Kurds proudly maintain their culture and it is exactly this determination and belief in their tradition that has enabled this culture to survive extreme hardship and adversity. It will run until September 25, 2010.

Some of the other available exhibitions and activities include:

Winter School holiday program: Discover the history of Australia’s cameleers and find out how camels are able to travel through the desert for extended periods of times whilst making your own toy camel or joining a treasure hunt. Learn more about prayer rugs by colouring on in and hearing about their significance and how they are used. These activities will be available from June 26 – July 11, 2010.

Talking faiths: A documentation including photographs, multi media representations, photographs and art works of young people, this exhibition shows the exploration of interfaith issues by students from a range of faith-based and secular Government schools. The exhibition will be open til May 28, 2010.

For more information on programs and activities including the Museum Victoria Fellowship for Talking Difference project, through which the Museum Victoria is offering a $5,000 award for up to two young emerging new media artists, visit the Museum Victoria website.

Details // Exhibitions and activities at the Immigration Museum
Where // 400 Flinders St, Melbourne.
When // From May – July, 2010
Contact // www.museumvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum