Philippine Embassy, Canberra
1 Moonah Place, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
www.philembassy.org.au *Tel. No. 02-6273-2535*
PH Embassy website to launch Manilamen virtual exhibit
19 December 2023, CANBERRA – A virtual exhibition based on the book, “Re-imagining Australia: Voices of Indigenous Australians of Filipino descent,” by Filipino-Australian Dr. Deborah Ruiz-Wall will be launched at Mabuhay Straya of the official website of the Embassy of the Philippines in Canberra on 20 December 2023.
The “Beyond Borders: Voices of Indigenous Australians of Filipino Descent”, curated by the National Museum of the Philippines, through Dr. Marrianne Ubalde from the Ethnology Division, is produced by the Embassy of the Philippines and the National Museum of the Philippines with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs. It features the stories of Manilamen as told and retold by their descendants, retracing the early connections of the Philippines and Australia.
Most of the first Filipinos who arrived in northern Australia in the 1870’s worked in the pearl-shell and maritime industry and were referred to as Manilamen. Some of them settled in Australia and married Indigenous Australians. Their descendants have shared their remarkable stories as Filipinos and Indigenous Australians. As the Embassy of the Philippines celebrates 2023 with the establishment of the Strategic Partnership of the Philippines and Australia, the Embassy offers an online exhibition that focuses on the early foundation of the people to people links of the two countries, our indigenous culture and shared maritime heritage.
Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega travelled to Broome, Western Australia in July during the National Aborigines’ and Islanders’ Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week and met the Manilamen descendants. “The book of Dr. Wall is an important resource to both Governments of Australia and the Philippines and the Embassy of the Philippines would like the stories of the Manilamen to be known and appreciated by the wider public. I hope that the virtual exhibition will generate more interest and encourage further study on the historic and cultural ties of the Philippines and Australia,” the Ambassador said.
The Embassy worked with Dr. Wall in developing the virtual exhibition and in gathering new materials. According to Dr. Wall, “The presence of over 400,000 Filipinos in Australia has a fascinating backstory. The story of Manilamen revealed social and economic contributions of Filipinos as Australia is being established as a nation. We continue to gather new material on the early presence of Filipinos in Australia.”
On 8 September 2023, the Philippines and Australia elevated its relations to a Strategic Partnership in recognition of the strength and dynamism of our long-standing bilateral ties and to mark a new chapter in our relations.
The virtual exhibition will be a permanent display in Mabuhay Straya. The Embassy conveys its profound appreciation to the families of Manilamen featured in the exhibition for their continued support and collaboration. -- END