Video portraits tell stories of Dutch migration to Australia

Media release: Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Five moving video portraits of Dutch immigrants, illuminated with archival records of their migration journey, are now available on the National Archives' Destination: Australia website.

The videos feature first-generation Dutch migrants Sherry Wright, entertainer and now community worker; Gerard van Wezel, who worked on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme; Petronella Wensing, lace maker/teacher and community worker in migrant welfare; Cess Huig, his wife Ina and children; and second-generation Dutch migrant and media personality Stephanie Brantz.

Reflections on migrating to Australia, the ever-present emotional ties to the Netherlands and the role of the National Archives in preserving their immigration records are common themes raised by the interviewees.

'I've had such a fantastic life in Australia so I can't be anything but really happy that Mum and Dad chose to move here and have their children here. Part of me loves Europe and I'm really glad we've got that connection and we continue some Dutch cultural traditions… The Archives gave us all a copy of the paperwork that Mum and Dad had needed during their migration, and I realised I knew nothing about the process by which they came to be in Australia,' says Stephanie Brantz.

The National Archives of Australia commissioned the videos as part of the Dutch–Australian Shared Cultural Heritage Project, in partnership with the Dutch Archives (Nationaal Archief). Following the success of the project, the Archives welcomes the National Film and Sound Archives to join this partnership to extend project work into a second stage.

Archives Director-General David Fricker said, 'I am very proud of the Dutch–Australian Shared Cultural Heritage Project as it really shows the significant value of the National Archives and its collection. These immigration records represent the start of a journey in a new country to build a life, a family, and a community for so many.

'Under this shared histories project, we plan to undertake further research to unlock our paper and AV collections, to digitise material, and to develop new and interesting ways to share our collections for access and use by anyone, anywhere, at any time. We are delighted to be collaborating with the National Film and Sound Archives and the Dutch Nationaal Archief on this next stage of the project.'

Members of the public can research the migration records of their own ancestors and friends, and add information and photographs to profiles on the Destination: Australia website to enrich this important resource.

The videos can be viewed at destinationaustralia.gov.au.

Contact information

  • Sophia McDonald (Senior Communications Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3697 m 0417 247 157 e media@naa.gov.au

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