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Reproduced courtesy of Gina Sinozich

Different Sections of the Vessel NEPTUNIA

Date: 2003
Overall: 903 x 600 mm, 2 mm, 1.5 kg
Medium: Oil on wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gina Sinozich
Object Copyright: © Gina Sinozich
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00037911
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    After World War II many displaced persons and migrants from Europe travelled to Australia on board passenger ships. In 1956 the Sinozich family fled their Croatian homeland and travelled by boat to Melbourne, Australia to start a new life. This painting, by Gina Sinozich, depicts a cross section of the steamship NEPTUNIA showing its deck, dining room, cabins and dormitories. While first and second class cabins were for paying passengers, refugees such as Gina and her family slept in segregated dormitories beneath the cabins. In this painting the beds of the Sinozich family have been identified with the initials G, M J.
    SignificanceThis painting represents the personal experience of Croatian migrant Gina Sinozich and her family on board SS NEPTUNIA in 1957, as they travelled from Italy to Melbourne, Australia.
    HistoryGina Sinozich began painting in 2000, when she was 70 years old. In 2009 she continued to paint full-time at her home in south-western Sydney. In these paintings Gina gives a first hand account of daily life on board the passenger ship SS NEPTUNIA which left Genoa, Italy for Melbourne, Australia on 19 June 1957. Her works are largely chronological and concentrate on the ship's journey, offering an insight into the anticipation and apprehension she felt towards their destination Australia, of which little was known.

    In 1956 Gina Sinozich fled her hometown in Istria, Croatia with her husband and two children Michael and Jenny to start a new life. Their decision to leave was made because of the difficult conditions experienced by families living in post-war Croatia, then part of the Communist Republic of Yugoslavia and under the control of Marshall Josip Tito. Many Croatians feared for their safety and experienced hunger and poverty.

    After travelling overland to Italy the Sinozich family lived in a refugee camp for 18 months until they were accepted for assisted migration to Australia. The family of four arrived to Australia with only three small suitcases, having fled in secret without packing family keepsakes or mementoes.

    Their journey mirrored the passage taken by hundreds of thousands of post-World War II European migrants, one which changed not only their lives but also had a profound effect on Australian society. Gina returned to Croatia in 2004, reuniting with family members and mending rifts caused by her secret departure almost fifty years earlier.
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