Virtual Museum of

ITALIAN IMMIGRATION IN THE ILLAWARRA

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Welcome to the Virtual Museum of ITALIAN IMMIGRATION IN THE ILLAWARRA. The aim of the Virtual Museum is to collect, protect and celebrate Italian heritage in the Illawarra. The Illawarra region, outside Sydney, has the highest concentration of population of Italian heritage. The 1966 ABS Census indicates that at the peak of Italian immigration, there were 5,809 Italian born persons living in the Illawarra. According to the 2011 ABS Census that number has reduced to 3,412 due to the inevitable ageing process.

The VMIII acknowledges the diversity and wealth of the Italian culture. It recognises the right to a dual-belonging. It also considers the Italian contribution to Australia’s national identity. This initiative will build awareness and understanding of the historical, cultural and societal factors which induced a person to leave their homeland. It will also create a venue to facilitate transmission between the generations as well as encounters between migrants and the host population. Listening to individual stories will assist to deconstruct stereotypes, enabling us to step back and consider the complete picture.

This project has been driven by the inclusive participation of the community, in particular those first generation Italians whose stories are the building blocks of our multicultural society. These are the people who own the memory and patrimony of Australian immigration. These memories and narrations can help to forge a better future for our nation.

- Giovanna Cardamone