Can a building carry the weight of stories?

Vietnamese Museum of Australia

STATUSPlanning Submission
LOCATIONFootscray, Melbourne
PROGRAMMemorial, Museum and Community Learning Centre

“I believe that if I don’t tell my story now and if nobody else does either, then no one will know our story; and our future generations will grow up missing out the little pieces of history that make them who they are.”

Thanh Tran
First Generation Vietnamese Australian



A defining time in the history of Vietnam and Australia, the Vietnam war and its legacy is still felt today – the experiences live through stories, memories and recollections of powerful imagery and emotions from survivors who were cast into a struggle for freedom.

These memories of a generation are precious and should not be forgotten. The Museum represents a physical emblem of this legacy, re-expressed in an experiential journey capturing these stories of tremendous hope amidst dire adversity.


The Museum’s design draws inspiration from several key symbols:


Towering Waves
Waves symbolise a crucial element of the journey to freedom. A symbol of great uncertainty, turmoil, pain, and heaviness – it stands for the very element which has led to hope, carrying the people to a new land.


Land – Red Earth
The warm hues of the Australian Red Earth set the tone for the Vietnamese Museum of Australia as it commemorates the Land of Australia as the destination of freedom – a Land of Hope.


Bamboo plays an important part of the culture of Vietnam. It serves as a key construction material in Vietnamese Architecture, and symbolises the Vietnamese hometown and Vietnamese soul; the gentlemanlike, straightforwardness, hardworking, optimism, unity, and adaptability.


The Egg Sac
Expressed as a golden crown atop the Museum, the Egg Sac form represents a crucial element of the journey – a strong cultural reference to a new beginning, the inclusive gathering of people from the same origin, and a spirit of unity in the Vietnamese community.