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Large rectangular corroded iron container bearing the insignia of the Royal Artillery Garrison, which was used on board the Vietnamese fishing vessel 'Hong Hai'

Object type
Water containers

Object number
1985.0047.0003

Description
Large rectangular corroded iron container used on board the Vietnamese fishing vessel, Hong Hai. It features the insignia of the Royal Artillery Garrison, the British Ordnance 'B O' and 'Broad Arrow', and the date 1836.

Collection name
Tran Thi Nga collection

Collection statement of significance
The Tran Thi Nga collection includes the fishing vessel 'Hong Hai', a pair of binoculars, the steering wheel, a large metal water container and an aluminium chair used by the captain. There is also a collection of archival documents that relate to the arrival of the vessel in 1978 and its restoration in 1988. The wooden fishing boat 'Hong Hai' was made by Truong Van Soi and his family in Kien Giang, Vietnam in 1969 to use for commercial trawling. In 1978 Mr Truong was informed that his property would be confiscated by the government on his return from his next fishing voyage. As the boat was stocked and prepared he elected not to return and instead embarked on a 51-day, 6000 kilometre trip to Darwin via Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia with 37 crew, friends and family, 12 of whom were less than 15 years of age.

The twentieth century saw rapid rises in immigration with notable numbers of refugees after conflicts around the world. Many Vietnamese people fled their homes after the fall of Saigon to North Vietnam in 1975. By 1982 about 54,000 Vietnamese refugees had made their homes in Australia, of which approximately 2000 arrived by boat. The arrivals prompted debate in Australia about immigration, refugees and the now ubiquitous term 'boat people'. The 'Hong Hai' is one of the most significant objects in the National Historical Collection representing the experiences of refugees in Australia.

Issuer
United Kingdom Department of Defence

Date made
1836

Captain
Captain Van S. Truong

Associated organisation
Vietnamese Veteran Navymen's Association

Associated organisation
Royal Australian Navy

Associated place
Vietnam
Departed Kien Giang on 24 September 1978

Associated place
Malaysia
Arrived Kuantan on 1 October 1978 and departed on 3 October 1978

Associated place
Singapore
Not allowed to land at Singapore on 5 October 1978

Associated place
Indonesia
Arrived Cirebon on 17 October 1978 and departed Kupang on 7 November 1978

Associated place
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Escorted into Darwin by RAN patrol boat on 13 November 1978

Period of use
1969 - 1978
On the 'Hong Hai'

Materials
Iron



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