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Motor Fishing Vessel Hong Hai, which transported 38 Vietnamese refugees to Australia in 1978

Object type
Fishing boats

Object number
1985.0047.0001.001

Description
Vietnamese fishing boat F.V. 'HONG HAI', VNKG-0054 A/DC OF KIENGANG. The vessel is of all wood construction, heavily built. She is of traditional Vietnamese design with wall sides and hard chine, and a low wheel-house/cabin aft over the engine room. Underdeck space forward is divided into fish tanks with six bulkheads.

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.

Maker
Captain Van S. Truong

Place made
An-Hoa, Kien Gaing, Vietnam

Date made
1969 - 1970

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

Associated period
1969 - 1978

Materials
Wood, Paint - non specific, Bitumen, Lead

Dimensions
Length: 19900mm
Width: 3530mm
Height: 3700mm
Depth: 1670mm
Weight: 24000kg



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