EXHIBITION: Immigrant Networks at CO-AS-IT

Museo Italiano CO.AS.IT., 199 Faraday Street, Carlton VIC 3053


An interdisciplinary team from The University of Melbourne, Deakin University, The University of Tasmania and The Australian National University have collaborated on the exhibition and a forthcoming book that explore how the urban and rural landscapes of the country were significantly transformed through nation-building programs in the postwar period of 1945 to 1979.

Case studies explored in the exhibition explore sites of postwar migrant labour including migrant camps (Benalla and Greta), key industrial sites (Snowy Hydro and BHP Steelworks) and associated streetscapes in Melbourne suburbs. The objects and stories on display in the exhibition emphasise the contribution non-Anglophone migrants and refugees to the modernisation of post-World War II Australia, by acknowledging the complex interplay of industry, architecture, migration and landscape.

The exhibition was made possible by the Australia Research Council Discovery Project DP190101531(2019-2022), Architecture and Industry: The migrant contribution to nation-building 1945-1979, with an interdisciplinary team from The University of Melbourne, Deakin University, The University of Tasmania and The Australian National University.

Case studies:

  • Migrant Camps – Alexandra Dellios, Australian National University
  • Snowy Hydro – Anoma Pieris, The University of Melbourne
  • Port Kembla Steelworks – Mirjana Lozanovska, Deakin University
  • Woomera – Andrew Saniga, The University of Melbourne
  • Melbourne Suburbs – David Beynon, University of Tasmania


David Beynon is an Associate Professor in Architecture at the University of Tasmania. His research involves investigating the social, cultural and compositional dimensions of architecture, and adaptations of architectural content and meaning in relation to migration and cultural change. His current work includes investigations into the multicultural and postcolonial manifestations of contemporary urban environments and the creative possibilities for post-industrial architecture in Australia and Asia.

Alexandra Dellios is a historian and senior lecturer in the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at the Australian National University. Her research considers the public and oral history of migrant and refugee communities, their experiences of settlement, and working and family life. She is Chair of the Editorial Board for Studies in Oral History, a founding member of the Australian Migration History Network, and Executive Committee member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.

Mirjana Lozanovska is Associate Professor in architecture and Director of the Architecture Vacancy Lab at Deakin University. Mirjana’s work investigates the creative ways that architecture mediates human dignity. Her books include Migrant Housing: Architecture, Dwelling, Migration (2019), Ethno-Architecture and the Politics of Migration (2016); and creative works (Venetian Blinds, 2021; Iconic Industry, 2017). Mirjana was co-editor of Fabrications 2018-2021.

Anoma Pieris is a Professor of Architecture at the Melbourne School of Design. Her most recent publications include the anthology Architecture on the Borderline: Boundary Politics and Built Space (2019) and The Architecture of Confinement: Incarceration Camps of the Pacific War (2022), co-authored with Lynne Horuchi.

Andrew Saniga is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. His research includes a history of landscape architecture in Australia and his book, Making Landscape Architecture in Australia (2012) documents and explains key designers and projects with an emphasis on the mid-twentieth century.

Image: Mark Strizic (b. 1928 Berlin - 2012), BHP Steel Mill, Port Kembla, 1959 (gelatin silver print, 35.7cm x 24.8cm). Courtesy of Monash Art Gallery. Copyright the Estate of Mark Strizic.