Photo Identity card for Cuc Lam (Tran Thi Cuc) issued circa 1960. This type of card was standard issue prior to the fall of Saigon in Vietnam in 1975. Cuc brought the card with her when she fled Vietnam in May 1978 for Australia. Escaping Vietnam with her husband they spent weeks in a refugee camp in Malaysia, before obtaining refugee visas for Australia.

Physical Description

Plastic coated wallet sized identity card, green border with green ink stamps and photograph of Cuc Lam. Details recorded in Vietnamese on front: name, date of birth, birthplace, father's name, mother's name, address. Details recorded on back in Vietnamese: Physical features, height, weight, signature, place and date issued, official's title: (inspector chief). Inspector's name. The card also features two thumbprints.


Statement of Historical Significance:
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. Finally the collection traces a life beyond the immediate refugee and settlement experience to demonstrate how migrants find their way in a new country, establish lives and assume leadership roles in their local communities.

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