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Reproduced courtesy of Gina Sinozich

We Arrive in Melbourne

Date: 2003
Overall: 603 x 900 mm, 2 mm, 1.54 kg
Medium: Oil on wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gina Sinozich
Object Copyright: © Gina Sinozich
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00037912
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    The Sinozich family left Italy on board SS NEPTUNIA as Croatian refugees on 19 June 1957 docking in Melbourne, Australia on 16 August 1957. On arrival they boarded a train for the Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre in rural Victoria, carrying their limited possessions - three suitcases and no personal family mementoes or photographs. This painting, by Gina Sinozich, shows passengers disembarking from the vessel, including the four members of the Sinozich family who are identified by their marked suitcases.
    SignificanceThis painting is representative of the arrival of European migrant ships to Australia during the 1950s and 1960s. It also provides an insight into the personal experiences of the artist Gina Sinozich, a Croatian migrant, on board SS NEPTUNIA as it docked in Melbourne on 16 August 1957.
    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.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: We Arrive in Melbourne

    Primary title: We Arrive in Melbourne

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