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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware this website contains images, voices and names of people who have died.

2. Imagining a conversation

<p><em>An emigrant’s thoughts of home</em> by Marshall Claxton,1859</p>

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Presented by the National Gallery Women's Association, 1974. This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation

<p><em>An emigrant’s thoughts of home</em> by Marshall Claxton,1859</p>

Imagine that you could speak to a migrant ancestor. They might be an ancestor of yours or of someone you know. What questions would you ask?

There are three main stages to immigration: the departure, the journey, and the arrival. List the questions that you would ask to explore each of these aspects.

When you have done this, you can compare your list with the list of suggested questions below. Use this to create your final set of questions, adding any to your list that you think should be included.

  • What was their name?
  • Where did they migrate from?
  • When did they migrate?
  • Why did they migrate to Australia? What were their expectations or hopes?
  • How did they come to Australia?
  • What happened when they arrived in Australia? What experiences, successes and failures did they have?
  • What factors made the experience successful or unsuccessful? (e.g. personality, geography, economic situation, social situation, attitudes/values)
  • How did the experience affect them:
    • socially
    • culturally
    • economically?

Once you have finished, you could use your questions to research the life story of a migrant ancestor. Are there any questions it might be difficult to answer? Why?

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