The DAHC gives the general community an opportunity to learn about Dutch and former Dutch East Indies culture and language and shows how families moved to Victoria and lived and worked in the post World War II migration period.
The Dutch Australian Heritage Centre compiles and displays the history of Dutch migration to Australia after the war. At festivals the DAHC exhibits items from the culture and traditions that the Dutch migrants brought with them to Australia. The younger generations can learn about the country of origin of their Dutch parents and grandparents. Australia’s cultural treasure is enriched by the Dutch traditions.
The DAHC was created as a sub-committee by the Associated Netherlands Societies in Victoria. It was initially named the Dutch Australian Centre, but was soon changed to include the word ‘Heritage’ to emphasise the culture and traditions that are inherited from migrant parents and grandparents.
The Dutch/Dutch East Indies migration began with the arrival and settlement of migrants throughout Victoria. Various Dutch social clubs and organizations were soon established and the Associated Netherlands Societies in Victoria was formed as their umbrella organization. Aged care facilities such as Beatrix Village, Margriet Lodge and Avondrust were established to take care of retirement, and nursing of the elderly within the Dutch Community. Hence the now excellent MiCare facilities.
A Heritage Centre was the logical next step undertaken by the Association. We basically collect everything that the migrants brought with them, which enables us to research the motives of their migration so that we can write the history of it. We are confident that the next generation will know and understand where their parents came from and why. It is not only descendants of the Dutch who will be interested, our committee included the word Australia in our name because we are very much a part of Australia’s multiculturalism.
The DAHC has plans for a website for cultural and heritage information, promotion of Dutch community events, and to maintain a register of pioneer Dutch and former Dutch East Indies families.
In 2009 we started building our own home which was completed in 2011. We now have a 2 storey building at the back of the Dutch Club Abel Tasman. The challenge ahead is to keep building the bridge between the generation which has left such a rich heritage and the new Dutch-Australian generation. We aim to preserve this heritage for our children and grandchildren and aim to engage them in the Dutch-Australian history and culture by planning special Dutch language and history classes in cooperation with the Dutch Teachers Association of Victoria.
We work with Museums Australia and are on their Victorian collections website. See: https://victoriancollections.net.au/organisations/dutch-australia-heritage-centre.