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16 Photos Of Boat People Arriving In Australia, Then And Now

Australia is a nation of immigrants, but how has our perception of new arrivals changed?

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1. Immigrants looking out to their destination in 1948.

Courtesy of the State Library of NSW / Via

Men, women and children sailing from Glasgow crowd the passageway of the Empire Brent as they arrive in Australia after a month-long journey in 1948.

3. Immigrants en route to Australia in 1874.

Courtesy of the State Library of NSW / Via

"Migrants from England to Australia aboard the Eaton Hall (circa 1874). One representative of each family was below decks cooking or arranging a meal, all the others and some crew are on deck." - taken from caption on back of photo.


4. Asylum seekers are escorted to be detained in 2011.

Josh Jerga / AAP Image

Australian authorities take a group of asylum seekers to the Christmas Island Immigration, Reception and Processing Centre in 2011, after their boat was intercepted by HMAS Bundaberg.

5. Immigrants soak in the Australian sun on the deck of a ship in 1961.

Courtesy of the State Library of NSW / Via

Greek migrants pose by a deck on The Patris ocean liner as they await their arrival at Circular Quay in 1961.

6. Asylum seekers attempt to stay dry on the bow of a boat in 2001.

Australian Defence / AAP Image

Asylum seekers are wrapped in blankets on board HMAS Adelaide in 2001, after their boat was intercepted and sank.

7. Assisted immigrants arriving by boat in 1909.

Courtesy of the State Library of NSW / Via

Immigrants whose voyage was subsidised by the United Kingdom disembark the S.S. Pericles upon her arrival in Sydney in 1909.


11. Migrants excitedly await their Australian arrival in 1959.

Courtesy of the State Library of NSW / Via

Immigrants, mostly from England, stand on the deck of RMS Strathaird as they approach their destination in Pyrmont in 1959.


12. Iranian asylum seekers are shuttled away to an offshore processing centre in 2013.

Eoin Blackwell / AAP Image

Asylum seekers from Iran hold up their identity cards as they are escorted to the Manus Regional Processing Centre in 2013.

16. Asylum seekers embark a plane in 2014.

Brad Waugh / AAP Image

Asylum seekers prepare to board a plane headed for Curtin detention centre in Western Australia after their boat was intercepted off the coast of Christmas Island in 2014.

Anna Mendoza is a photo editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Anna Mendoza at

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