Catch A Ticket to Paradise? exhibition at Newcastle Museum

24 Feb 2017

A Greek girl, sent across the world to marry a man she’d never met; an African journalist fleeing for his life; and a stateless baby born in India to Iranian parents, are just some of the human stories that feature in A Ticket to Paradise?, opening 6 March 2017 at Newcastle Museum.

The new touring exhibition, from the National Archives of Australia, examines the rich diversity of Australian immigrants and the government’s ambitious plans after World War II to encourage mass migration.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes says the exhibition will resonate with the Newcastle community because we are an official refugee welcome zone.

"Novocastrians have welcomed refugees because they understand that ethnic, religious and cultural diversity contributes to our city's strength and vitality," Councillor Nelmes said.

"The individual stories shared in the exhibition are quite compelling, and they remind us of the many difficulties that refugees face, including our most recent immigrants to Newcastle from Syria. As a community, we must continue to provide support to our refugee families as they transition to their new lives in Australia."

Newcastle Museum Manager Julie Baird said the exhibition illustrates how Australia's immigration history transformed the nation socially, economically and culturally, resulting in a nation where, today, one quarter of our population was born overseas, and nearly half of us have at least one parent born elsewhere.

"While most people are aware of this aspect of our cultural heritage, many don’t realise the wealth of immigration history held by the National Archives, from personal and family stories to government campaigns and policies," she said.

"A Ticket to Paradise? shows that the migrant experience is as diverse as the 7 million people who have arrived in Australia from more than 200 different countries."

The exhibition also examines promotional campaigns which presented a utopian view of Australia as a welcoming country full of opportunity.

"The government-run campaigns emphasised Australia’s climate, beaches, jobs and housing – a safe home after the atrocities of war," said Baird. "But they also aimed to allay fears that might arise on the home front."

As well as film footage and audio recordings, the exhibition features many images of migrants taken by government photographers between the 1940s and 1990s to enhance and drive the campaigns.

The National Archives has partnered with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to enable the exhibition to tour throughout Australia.

The National Archives and Newcastle Museum are encouraging other post-war immigrants and their families to contribute their personal memories on iPads provided in the exhibition or online at .

A Ticket to Paradise? is on display at Newcastle Museum from 6 March to 6 June 2017.

NOTE TO MEDIA: High-res images from the exhibition can be downloaded from