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Crotched serviette ring

Date: 1960s
Dimensions:
Overall: 55 x 66 mm, 2 g
Medium: Fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Anu Mihkelson
Object Name: Serviette ring
Object No: 00053024
Related Place:Eesti, Tully, Sverige,

User Terms

    Description
    This item is part of a comprehensive collection of family heirlooms, clothing and photographs documenting the Mihkelson family’s migration from Estonia to Australia via Sweden after World War II. The collection includes material that Oskar and Magda Mihkelson packed when they fled Estonia in 1944, items relating to their life with their only daughter Anu as part of the vibrant Estonian exile community in Sweden, objects and images connected with their voyage to Australia on TOSCANA in 1948, and items relating to the family's early years working in the migrant communities of Tully and Mount Isa in Queensland from the 1940s to 1970s.
    SignificanceThe item is part of one of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s richest collections relating to Australia’s post-World War II migration history. The Mihkelson collection constitutes a virtually complete representation of what one family managed to pack when they left their homeland in Estonia in 1944. It also includes significant items from the family's life in Australia, providing an opportunity to explore the context and push/pull factors for post-war migration, the plight of new arrivals in rural migrant communities in northern Queensland, and their enduring links with homelands.
    HistoryWhen Russia invaded Estonia in 1944, Oskar and Magda Mihkelson packed their most cherished family possessions – the family silver, jewellery, monogrammed linen and photo albums – and fled to Sweden on a merchant ship. In Sweden they joined other Estonians who worked together to maintain a sense of community and nurture Estonian traditions and language. Magda gave birth to her only child, Anu, in Sweden in 1945.

    The Mihkelson family were sponsored to migrate to Australia by an Estonian family living in Sydney and embarked from Italy on TOSCANA in 1948. Upon arrival in Sydney they were advised to head north to the cane cutting communities in Queensland. Like many post-World War II migrants, Oskar was lured to the mines in Mount Isa, living in single men's barracks before sending for Magda and Anu. He worked as a carpenter for Mount Isa Mines and the family built a house with the assistance other Estonian migrants.

    After her parents’ death, Anu returned to Estonia to retrace her parent's lives and reunite with old family friends. She collected souvenirs during this trip and was given material connected with her family's past. In 1999 Anu published her family's story in the eloquent memoir Three Suitcases and a Three-year-old.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Crotched serviette ring

    Collection title: Mementos relating to the Mihkelson family's migration from Estonia to Australia

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