In Literary & Arts

Victoria Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Nicholas Kotsiras

Piers Festival Celebrates Migration To Victoria

Victor P Taffa

Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Nicholas Kotsiras today joined with Victorians at the Piers Festival in Port Melbourne as part of Australia Day celebrations.

Speaking at the opening of the festival, Mr. Kotsiras said it was important to celebrate over a century of migration history at the piers precinct.

“What better place to reflect the importance of migration than to celebrate on the spot where so many sea voyages ended and where so many new lives began.” Mr. Kotsiras said.

Mr Kotsiras said Station Pier which opened in 1854, and Princes Pier, completed in 1916, both played pivotal roles in Victoria’s history.

“Station Pier was the arrival point for those who made their way here in the 1850s from every corner of the world to try their luck on the Victorian goldfields.” Mr. Kotsiras said.

“Station Pier is also associated with Melbourne’s vibrant multicultural make-up with many thousands of migrants arriving in Port Melbourne between 1949 and 1966 and the departure point for key military expeditions.”

“For many immigrants Station Pier symbolises the start of a new life.”

Mr. Kotsiras said Princes Pier had a substantial role in Victoria’s multicultural, wartime and maritime history.

The 1935 Princes Pier gatehouse is heritage listed and the Pier was recently restored for public use by the Victorian Government through Major Projects Victoria.

Mr. Kotsiras acknowledged the contribution migration has made to Victoria and said that Port Melbourne piers were historical repositories of great movements of human migration of past centuries.

“Imagine the history beneath us now formed by thousands of weary, anxious but hopeful and determined footprints as migrants disembarked from ships to begin a new life in Australia.” Mr. Kotsiras said.

The Piers Festival featured live music, dance, food stalls, historical displays, film screenings and cruises aboard the tall ship Enterprize.

The festival was organised by Multicultural Arts Victoria and supported by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, the Australia Day Committee (Vic), Major Projects Victoria, the City of Port Phillip and the Immigration Museum.

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