Migrant Mothers of Australia: Part Three

24 / 08 / 2015

This is our third and final installment of Sevim Dogan’s photographic project “Migrant Mothers of Australia.” Dogan’s project involves women over 80 from diverse backgrounds. The aim of this project is to honour their many sacrifices and commitments in their journey to call Australia home.

Dogan says of the project:

“Departing from a sense of belonging in a new place, I wanted to build this photographic study of a long forgotten generation. Their children have been born here, studied here and help build our very own multicultural society and the mothers’ role in this is undeniably prominent.

I’ve had to adopt many ways to locate and approach these women for a photo shoot. I have discovered a mass appreciation for the idea of this project and it wasn’t too long until I found my treasures. The project has found its soul when notions of ‘belonging’ and ‘ identity’ vocalised itself in the stories of these women.”

The Migrant Mothers of Australia will be exhibited at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre throughout September 2015. The exhibition opens on September 3rd 5:30-7:30pm. It will run from Monday -Friday, 9:00-5:00pm until the end of September. 

We graciously thank Sevim for letting us exhibit her heartfelt photography project in Sheilas. 


At the age of 81, Nhung Le still is a very active member of the Vietnamese community here in Melbourne. When visiting Nhung in her Richmond home, she is an extremely friendly and hospitable woman, who spoils me with tea and some Vietnamese treats.

Nhung migrated to Australia because of her children. Her son was granted the Colombo Scholarship and arrived in Australia in 1971. Nhung and her daughter followed him here in 1980 and they chose to settle in Richmond because of its dense Vietnamese population.

Nhung is the leader of AVA’s Richmond Senior Citizens group and a board member of the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association. She celebrates and cherishes life and shares this with anyone around her. Nhung Le is a woman who has changed my perspective completely on the capabilities of this age group of women.


Rosa has been in Australia for more than sixty years after she migrated in 1955, following a thirty-day journey from Malta on a ship. She was pregnant on her way to Australia, and describes her morning sickness on top of her seasickness being far from the best time of her life.

Rosa had an auntie living here and lucky for her, never had feelings of homesickness and never looked back. She says ‘the people were very friendly and my auntie treated me as one of her own’.

Rosa was a dressmaker and made a substantial income for the family working from home. She showed the dresses which she made fifty years ago, and giggled as she described the dresses not fitting her anymore. She’s a happy and chatty lady, who you feel you could talk to forever.

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