is an exhibition about women from the western suburbs of Melbourne who
have made contributions to their community on issues that have been
important to them.
women in 'Hear Our Voices' who have shared their stories are:
Kerry, Annette Sassano, Joan Kirner, Mrs. Morley, Lorna Cameron, Sadie
Stevens, Tammy Capocchi, Natalie Gatt, Pat Pettit, Gwen Goedecke, Helen
Rodd, Mrs. Tremlett, Marion Martin, Lynne Kosky, Daisy Serong, Donna
Jackson, Margaret Haggart, Joan Ridley, Iris Whitehurst, Joyce Apap,
Mai Ho, Amna Maleken, Joan Carstairs, Tan Le, Samira Farag, Kym Jowett
and Betty Butcher.
This exhibition looks at the issues that are significant
for women who live in an area that is highly industrialised and has
a diverse ethnic population.
The contribution of women in the community is vital and important. The
needs of women who live in and with a diverse ethnic population include
support in establishing life in a new country, access to information,
and acknowledgement of their experiences by others, to name a few. In
other similar areas elsewhere in Australia, women will recognise many
Womens role in society has changed and shifted over time. Society
has had different expectations of how women should be and what they
should do with their time. In the midst of these changing values, women
have struggled to survive, often, in harsh conditions and been determined
in their work to improve the quality of life for themselves and their
women in this exhibition represent a sample of the many who work within
the western community to be part of the decision making processes on
areas important to them and others.
We extend our appreciation to all those other women who have made similar
contributions. We hope that women who read these stories feel encouraged
to make a stand about issues that stir them.
'Hear Our Voices' has been designed to function as a travelling exhibition.
It is comprised of 10 panels which attach to a free-standing support
which can be arranged in a various ways to accomodate different venues.
The approximate size of each free-standing panel is 2 m (h) x 1.2 m
Melbournes Living Museum of the West would like to thank Enza
Gandolfo for use of her material from her unpublished manuscript about
women of the western suburbs of Melbourne Not A Working Class
Hero - Women from the West of Melbourne'.
The exhibition has been researched and curated by Helen Laffin.
Exhibition design by Helen Laffin, Robert Celeste and Joe Guario.
brief extracts from 'Hear Our Voices'...
I have always felt comfortable living in the west, guess it goes back
to my parents involvement in the community. There was sort of a community
atmosphere in Footscray ... home deliveries had a personal touch ...
the butcher delivered and stayed for a cup of tea.
I love the feeling of vitality around the west ... its a melting
pot of many cultures ... that gives a whole richness to the area. Everyone
turns up their nose if theyre not from here. Its based on
that real working class structure that was here when all the industry
was here. There is a reality about the people here ... they dont
feel they need to put on a facade. (Gandolfo manuscript)
The west means many things ... diversity ... energy ... respect for
who you are, not what you do ... youre treated just as a person.
The west is a coherent community that has come from a certain background
of providing wealth for the community ... providing wealth for Australia
and Victoria through manufacturing and industry and not necessarily
getting its fair share back. The west never got its entitlements but
you dont get resources by describing yourself as disadvantaged.
Footscray is struggling hard to grow, because of the harsh climate,
the poor economy, the recession. The voices of migrants should be heard.
We are all people if you remove all the cells you have the bones ...
we are all the same skeletons.
Now if you look at the skeleton can you tell which is the Vietnamese
and which is the Australian and does it matter? (Gandolfo manuscript)
Our community lives in the west as it is the area we have come to know
when we arrived in Australia. With the hostel in Kensington, we moved
into local houses near our friends. We were familiar with the services.
We chose Australia as we thought it had good weather, friendly people
and good services for migrants.
The west is able to give people space to breath. Others view the west
as poor and violent but the reality is a vibrant and positive future.
Youth should have a respected and legitimate place in the community.
Some youth in the west have to grow up before their time. They are courageous
and mature.HEAR OUR VOICES recognises that the concerns of women in
the community are state wide, Australia wide and world wide.