The Sigalas family's immigration story is a rich narrative, told by over 80 objects, which relates to a number of themes in the social and immigration history of Melbourne. The curtain and collar represent the precious items brought by immigrants to Australia - in this case symbolising Lili's connections to Istanbul and the family left behind. The wedding dress is an evocative symbol of a key immigration motivation for many young European women - being brought out to Australia to marry men from similar cultural backgrounds, islands and villages. The 'flapper' dress represents the more affluent social life of some people in Melbourne during the 1920s, the kinds of functions people attended as well as a taste for French couture which could be obtained in select Melbourne stores. The documents represent both Lili's life before immigrating and after settlement.
The Sigalas family story explores migration as a continuous experience for some people: of shifting from country to country until finding the right place to settle; of the strong ties to homelands which draw some people back again and again; of chain migration whereby one family member (usually male) established himself before sending for the rest of the family; and of finding brides in home countries in order to establish families in the new.Related Stories
Iakovos (James) Sigalas, Greek Migrant, circa 1890s
Lili Sigalas, Greek Migrant, 1922