Photograph of a wooden boat, VT017, lying aground at the water's edge at Kuantan, East Malaysia in December, 1978. There are three adults and three small children on the beach alongside. The photograph is one of a series taken by PT Penkonindo employee Tim Baker. Another boat, PK 1867, arrived with refugees from Vietnam around the time this photograph was taken. They are believed to be the first refugees to arrive there from Vietnam.

Description of Content

Photograph of a wooden boat, VT017, lying aground on a beach. The boat has an unpainted planked hull and cabin with a short foresail mast. Its number is painted in white on the side of the cabin. There are three adults and three small children on the beach alongside the beached ship. A wooded hill is visible across the water.

Physical Description

Colour photograph printed on paper.


Statement of Historical Significance:
This collection enhances a significant collection of holdings by the Museum relating to refugee camp life and management. The Museum now holds photographs documenting refugee camp experiences from post-World War II Germany to Indonesia and Malaysia after the Vietnam War. This particular collection also demonstrates the early lack of infrastructure to manage refugee boat arrivals, in this case requiring harbour engineering workers to assist.

These photographs show a boatload of Vietnamese people who came as refugees by sea on what is believed to have been one of the first small boats to arrive on the Malaysian coast after the end of the Vietnam War with the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese on 30 April 1975. An estimated 800,000 Viernamese refugees left by boat between 1975 and 1995. Exodus by small boats to neighbouring South-East Asian countries began in about September 1978 and increased until in June 1979 neighbouring countries declared they would not take any more. A United Nations Conference in July 1979 brokered an Orderly Departure Program which increased the intake to Australia and other countries and decreased the exodus by boat..

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