After the fall of Saigon and the aftermath of the Vietnam War, more than 1.4 million Vietnamese refugees sought freedom by undertaking a perilous journey on overcrowded and unseaworthy boats, hoping to reach neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Refugees faced violent storms, brutal pirates, hunger and dehydration in their desperate quest for freedom. Many boats were lost at sea for months and between 400,000 - 600,000 Vietnamese refugees perished at sea.
Through Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser's leadership, Australia accepted more than 110,000 Vietnamese refugees between 1975 and 1995.
Every Vietnamese Australian who arrived here as a refugee has a story to tell.
Collectively, our stories highlight the human tragedy that unfolded after the Vietnam War when more than 1.4million people fled our homeland to escape the oppression of the communist regime.
Individually, each story sheds light on the deeply personal trauma that affects the Vietnamese refugees who eventually found a home in Australia.
We must not lose our refugee history to the passing of time. The Vietnamese Museum Australia will preserve and tell our stories so future generations understand the sacrifices their ancestors made and why they made them.
A HISTORY OF GIVING BACK
The Vietnamese community has greatly benefited from Australia's generosity, with many first and second generation Vietnamese-Australians becoming leaders in business, politics, education and the arts.
We have worked hard over the last 45 years to advance multiculturalism, social cohesion and the cultural richness of Victoria and the nation. Through substantial fundraising efforts over the past decades, our community have always committed to giving back to those in need.
The Vietnamese Museum Australia will be a culmination of all our respect, gratitude and appreciation to Australia and the opportunities that it has provided to our community.
Vietnamese Australians continue to express our gratitude at being welcomed into this country in many ways.
In 2009, the Vietnamese community (VCA) raised more than $1.1m for the National Bushfire Appeal after the Black Saturday bushfires
In 2015, the VCA raised more than $500,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal as part of our 40th anniversary commemorations
In 2016, the VCA raised more than $300,000 for the UNHCR as part of their annual fundraising campaign for refugees
In 2018, the VCA raised more than $100,000 for the Rohingya refugees by partnering with emerging migrant communities for a multicultural walkathon
In 2020, the VCA assisted more than 400 families impacted by COVID-19 by providing emergency food relief and welfare assistance