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Reproduced courtesy of Gina Sinozich

Our Lecture Room in the Ship Neptunia

Date: 2003
Dimensions:
Overall: 460 x 605 mm, 2 mm, 0.76 kg
Medium: Oil on wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gina Sinozich
Object Copyright: © Gina Sinozich
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00037909
Place Manufactured:Sydney

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    Description
    This painting by Gina Sinozich shows an English lesson being given to refugees on board the liner SS NEPTUNIA as it travels from Genoa, Italy to Melbourne, Australia in 1957. The artist, her husband Eugen and their two children Gina and Eugen, attended weekly English classes on board the steamship to prepare themselves for their new life in Australia. Here they are shown sitting in the class and are identifiable by the initials E and G.
    SignificanceThis painting represents one of the many challenges post World War II migrants and refugees faced on coming to Australia - learning the language of their new homeland. It is also a personal record of Gina Sinozich's story as a displaced Croatian refugee travelling to Australia on board SS NEPTUNIA in 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

    Primary title: Our Lecture Room in the Ship Neptunia

    Web title: Our Lecture Room in the Ship Neptunia

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