This red vinyl suitcase was used by Cuc Lam, on her journey from Vietnam to Melbourne in 1978. In it she carried the few possessions brought to Australia by herself and her husband. Cuc and her husband escaped from Vietnam in May 1978. They spent time in a refugee camp in Malaysia before being granted refugee status by the Australian Government.

Physical Description

"Camel" brand, red vinyl suitcase with zipper. Hand written cloth label tied to handle with string. Small Qantas tag attached to handle with string. Hand written inscriptions on the suitcase outlining name, destination, flight number, boat number and refugee camp. Interior lined with red material.


This collection demonstrates the risk and desperation involved in the refugee experience. It is extremely rare to acquire objects from refugees, as by the very nature of the experience, people carry little if anything with them, and what they do is usually lost or thrown away. It helps tell the story of Vietnamese immigration, which has played a significant part in the history of immigration to Australia, and assists in representing the period post 1975, when Australia's new political and social policies of multiculturalism were being implemented. This collection also provides further insights into life in one of Melbourne's principal migrant hostels - Midway in Maribyrnong.

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