The Western Australian Museum today thanked the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service for donating the wooden asylum seeker boat that arrived into Geraldton in April 2013, to its collection. WA Museum CEO Alec Coles said the vessel and its story were part of contemporary Australian history, and the Museum was committed to documenting the historical record through the collection of significant objects that explored the history of WA and connected people to its past, present and future.
“Of the criteria that define what contemporary material any museum should collect, one tries to imagine how significant that material might be viewed in 100 years’ time,” Mr Coles said.
The WA Museum joins a number of Australian museums that have asylum seeker vessels as part of their collections, including the National Museum, the National Maritime Museum, and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
An assessment of the vessel is being conducted with a view to transporting it from its current location in Geraldton to Perth, for conservation, storage and preparation for eventual display.
Exploring Western Australia is one of the WA Museum’s key themes, now and into the future, as the $428.3 million redeveloped New Museum for Western Australia takes shape. This includes exploring our relationship with the Indian Ocean and how that has contributed to the development of the State.
The WA Museum already houses the most significant collection of excavated maritime archaeological material in the world today, collected off the WA coast. The acquisition of this vessel represents the latest chapter in centuries of documented Indian Ocean history.