At its most basic, people coming to Immigration Place leave home and cross a metaphorical divide between there and Australia. They arrive at the ‘island’ landscape our team has created, pass over its boundary and ‘from this time forward’ begin the process of becoming.
‘Lifelines’, the lines of the materials running through the site, represent multiple lives and journeys. A timeless ebb and flow embeds us within the place. Along the way, lives intersect and we come to understand the lyrics of an Ani DiFranco song:
I know there is strength in the differences between us.
I know there is comfort, where we overlap.
Inevitably we are drawn to the centre via multiple pathways. The ritual circle at the core of the site represents becoming Australian. It is the place where we pay respect to our forbears, meet, celebrate, pledge our connection and share experiences. It is a liminal space between a previous identity and one reformed through ritual and living in place and structured by our connections to one another. The imagery and text on the framing walls either side suggest this transition from one state to another.
Overhead there is shelter, but above there is sky. The reflective plane of the shelter’s ceiling invites self-reflection about the meaning of immigration to each person. The embrace of the wall and the terracing of the landform provide for our coming together, to unite and become Australian.
Leaving, crossing, arriving, becoming. A history all immigrants share.