They came from all corners of the world to start a new life in Australia.
Now, Frassati Hall has been transformed into a Migration Museum, showcasing the coming-to-Australia journeys of students’ families.
Primary Teacher John Niedzwiecki tasked his and Henry Vo’s Year 6 students with creating displays that reflected their families’ migration experiences – whether that be in recent times or in years long gone.
The boys chatted to family members and sourced pictures and documents to tell the migrant story, which were this week displayed in suitcases, in Frassati Hall, to reflect those journeys to Australia.
Student Keyan Ashna shared the touching story of his father, Jawad, who came to Australia from Afghanistan, in 2002.
“There was war in Afghanistan … the Taliban had taken over,” Keyan said of his dad’s decision to leave the country of his birth for a better life in Australia.
Mr Ashna’s decision to leave Afghanistan was not easy; Keyan’s mum, Sakina, was unable to make the journey to Australia with her husband.
“Because she couldn’t get a passport or visa, they were apart for five years … then my dad was able to fix that,” said Keyan, who speaks Dari at home.
Cheng Jun Han’s dad, Longji, left Heilongjiang, in northern China, in 2005 to pursue educational opportunities.
He already had a master’s degree in Chemistry, and planned to complete a PhD in Australia.
Instead, he gained a second master’s degree, this time in Oenology (the study of wine and winemaking). He went on to work in the wine industry in Clare and McLaren Vale.
Included in Cheng Jun’s display was a traditional Chinese fan, which had been in his family for generations.
Education was also the driving force behind the decision of Manav Agheda’s father, Varun, to leave India, in 2004.
Mr Agheda went on to gain a master’s degree in Engineering from the University of South Australia, and now works for BP.
Manav, who speaks Gujarati at home, said his father’s home village was quite poor.
Jacob Macrae spoke with his great-aunt Helene to learn more about her migration journey and that of her sister, Amelia, Jacob’s late grandmother.
The sisters spent four weeks on a boat travelling from Germany to Australia in 1952.
Jacob said the family came to Australia because there were “more opportunities for them” than in post-World War II Germany.
“It was very hard for them there,” Jacob said.
Before taking on the Migration project, Jacob thought his grandma and great-aunt had been born in Ukraine, where the family was originally from.
“She (Helene) said when she came to Australia, the kids (at school) were very welcoming and kind,” he said.
Nagi Moukachar’s father, Danny, came to Australia from Lebanon in 1996, when he was 24.
Back in Lebanon, Mr Moukachar was a boxer and a soccer coach, but, today, he and his wife own their own food businesses.
Nagi, who speaks Lebanese at home, said his dad was pleased to have made a new life for himself in Australia.
The boys, who were all able to recount their relatives’ migration journeys with amazing detail, said they had learnt a lot about their families’ backgrounds during their research.