Animating Country: Nora Abbott, Rhonda Sharpe, Doris Thomas, Joanne Wheeler

In a series of short films, artists from Mparntwe (Alice Springs) animate their paintings and soft-sculpture works to tell personal, historical and ancestral stories. Painters Nora Abbott, Joanne Wheeler and Doris Thomas, from Tangentyere Artists, create a series of enchanting scenes that share wisdom and experience, while Rhonda Sharpe, from Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, relates episodes from her life. Together, their ‘olden days’ stories activate memory, culture and Country.

Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with Principal Partner BHP and support from the Government of South Australia


Image: Joanne Wheeler with her work in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) in 2021, Courtesy the artist and Tangentyere Artists

British Migrants: Instant Australians?

Between 1947 and 1981 nearly 1.5 million Britons migrated to Australia, seduced by promises of sun, surf and a better life. Most of the newcomers came on assisted passages, part of the Australian Government’s pursuit of a white, British, nation. This group of migrants were simultaneously everywhere and invisible, expected to become ‘instant Australians’. But the reality of migration is never that simple.

This exhibition, developed by Museums Victoria, explores the personal experiences and historical and contemporary impacts of British migrants in the postwar decades. The exhibition features stories told by  children, teenagers and families, labourers, adventurers, returnees, musicians, and even a snake dancer – brought to life through compelling digital animation. The exhibition’s historical and personal narrative threads are drawn together with contributions by multicultural and Indigenous commentators and academics to provide the basis for a conversation about British migration and its contemporary meanings, relevance and ongoing impacts.

Exhibition opened 22 February 2020 and has been extended to 6 December 2020.

Museums Victoria and the History Trust of South Australia wish to acknowledge that this exhibition was developed on the lands of the Boonwurrung and Woi Wurrung peoples and is shown on the lands of the Kaurna people. We recognise First People’s continuation of cultures and connections to Country, in the face of over two centuries of migration.

In Our Own Voices: stories of Journey and Resettlement from the Middle East to Australia

An exhibition of photographic portraits of members of the Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, Syrian, Kurdish and Lebanese communities, reflecting migration journeys and contributions to our multicultural society.

This project was developed by the Middle Eastern Communities Council of SA and the Australian Migrant Resource Centre.

School of Hope: Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre, Indonesia

In the town of Cisarua, just outside Jakarta, is a small school, run and staffed by Hazara refugees from Afghanistan. Unable to return to their war-torn homeland, these refugees spend years in Indonesia, waiting to start new lives in safety. Education brings them together and gives them a purpose.

Come and meet a special community who are determined to make a difference.

SUPERDIVERSITY: Twenty-first century migration

Over the last few decades migration to Australia has changed in fundamental ways.  We have moved from the settler-society model of the post-Second World War period to a two-step system in which an ever-growing number of migrants are allocated temporary visas in order to meet changing economic and labour market needs.  Temporary migration is uncapped and currently accounts for two-thirds of new arrivals. Most temporary migrants are fee-paying international students and sponsored skilled migrants, and most arrive with the hope of eventually becoming permanent residents in Australia.

The countries from which we draw migrants, both temporary and permanent, have also changed, with India, China and the United Kingdom now our major source countries.

Recent geopolitical events have impacted on Australia’s response to and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, and have also resulted in the arrival of people from a range of countries including Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq.

Migration pathways have also become much more complex, and there are now over sixty visa types that determine people’s migration status, entitlements, restrictions, obligations, living conditions, and future possibilities.

This gallery highlights these twenty-first century changes through the personal stories of people who arrived in South Australia since 2000.

Barangaroo Ngangamay

The Barangaroo Ngangamay exhibition honours the Old Lady Barangaroo and celebrates the strength, diversity and creativity of Aboriginal women of the Sydney region:

‘damulayun ngangara buranggalyun 

we exchange names so the Old Lady sleeps peacefully, we mark the space to honour the namesake’

By coming together for ceremony, we pay respect to the Ancestors, acknowledge the connections between us, and strengthen pathways for future generations.

Download ‘Barangaroo Ngangamay‘ from the App store or google play before you visit for an immersive experience.

Presented by Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Stella Stories.

This exhibition is part of Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.

image: Gadigal sisters Lillie and Maddy Madden prepare for ceremony; photo: Bonnie Elliott 2017

1976: the Italian Festival is Born

Come and see how it all began, and discover why the 1976 Italian Festival was so groundbreaking. As the most comprehensive presentation of Italian music, art and theatre ever held in Australia, the Italian Festival inspired many subsequent events in Adelaide, including Carnevale, as well as around Australia. Using memorabilia, photos and newspaper clippings, the exhibition explores how the innovations of the 1970s have contributed to our multicultural society today.

Presented by the Coordinating Italian Committee (CIC) and the Migration Museum.

SALA Festival: Colour my World

Part of the SALA Festival, the Southern Cross Care ‘Colour my World’ exhibition is a riot of colour presented in a number of mediums. It celebrates the expression of creative talent, shared stories from around the world and the community spirit that is embraced at Southern Cross Care.

The Southern Cross Care (SA&NT) SALA art projects, is a celebration of art and creative expression at any age, encouraging a more positive image of residential care and aged care in general within our South Australian community.

Why colour?

Southern Cross Care workforce is made up of 52 cultures and diverse backgrounds, bringing into our homes the language of colour through a very multicultural experience.

The Colour my World theme is set to inspire and ignite as the selected theme for 2017.

Everyone has an opinion about colour; from the colour of our skin, to the tone of our clothes. You’ll never see a dark cloud; there is only blue sky, because everything we touch is turned to gold…

Immigration in the 20th Century

In this gallery you will learn about the rapid changes in South Australia, and Australia, through the twentieth century when mass migration schemes made us the multicultural country we are today.

You can explore a large graphic timeline, a continue your chronological journey through South Australia’s migration history in the twentieth century. Using personal stories and artefacts the displays highlight how changing government policies affected the lives of ordinary people. Some of the topics looked at include people living as ‘aliens’ under the ‘White Australia’ policy, juvenile migration schemes, displaced persons migrating post Second World War, British migration schemes, migrant hostels, and the gradual shift from a policy of assimilation to the realities of integration and then multiculturalism.


This art exhibition provides an introduction to the Migration Museum galleries. Accomplished local artist Darryl Pfitzner Milika gives his own unique take on South Australian history, illustrating what immigration and colonisation has meant for Aboriginal people.

Darryl’s work is well known and perhaps best summed up by his statement about his values:

I refuse to be assimilated or appropriated, allocated or intimidated; to have my intellectual or emotional faculties severed from my physical and spiritual being: my Aboriginality (and ultimately my humanity) will always find a campsite.

Find out more about Darryl Pfitzner Milika at