Pink silk pouch used by Cuc Lam when she escaped from Vietnam in May 1978. Cuc used this pouch to keep the few personal mementos she brought with her safe during the boat ride from Vietnam to Malaysia. In it she stored a negative of her family photo, passport photos of her mother, a watch and her wedding ring. After their escape from Vietnam Cuc and her husband spent time in a refugee camp in Malaysia before gaining a visa for Australia.

Physical Description

Floral pale pink silk pouch edged with red ribbon and closed with one metal button.


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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