The journey of the Hong Hai

collections_Hong Hai

Copyright Education Services Australia

Resource title: The journey of the Hong Hai

Digital resource identifier: L779

Resource description
This learning object explores the journey of 38 refugees from Vietnam to Australia. These refugees were part of the first wave of boat people fleeing Vietnam.

Stage of schooling: Lower Primary

CCE focus: Historical Perspectives


'The journey of the Hong Hai’ provides students with the opportunity to understand the courage of asylum seekers and forms of government that do not support democratic rights. It also provides a platform for exploring the history of the Vietnamese community in Australia and the impact their culture has had on Australian identity.

It is important for the teacher to be aware of any students in the class who may have been refugees themselves or have family who have refugee backgrounds. This in itself could be a rich sharing experience or may require sensitive negotiation, as these students may be unwilling to revisit their experiences.

Opportunities for Civics and Citizenship learning

‘The journey of the Hong Hai’ provides opportunities for students to:

  • consider different types of government in different countries

  • recognise the impact that different forms of government can have on people’s lives

  • explore why people become asylum seekers, and what it means to be an asylum seeker

  • examine issues around settling into a new country.

Ideas for the classroom

  • Write the term ‘asylum seeker’ on the board or on a piece of paper and provide a definition. Provide students with some background information about Vietnamese ‘boat people’ and their flight from Vietnam in the late 1970s.

  • Ask students to complete the task associated with ‘The journey of the Hong Hai’.

  • Discuss what factors might lead people to flee their country for another. List these around the definition of ‘asylum seeker’.

  • Divide the class into two groups. One group will be made up of ‘Vietnamese refugees’ and the other group ‘Australian reporters’. Explain to students that the ‘Australian reporters’ will be interviewing the ‘Vietnamese refugees’. The purpose of the interview is to learn about the journey on the Hong Hai and why the Vietnamese refugees have fled their country to live in Australia. Provide time for each group to discuss their role. Explain to the interviewers that they will need to design five questions related to the topic.

  • Arrange the class into pairs and ask them to conduct their interviews.

  • After 10 minutes, bring the class back together and ask for class feedback to the questions. This can be recorded as a third layer of information around the term ‘asylum seeker’.

  • This activity could be completed with a discussion about the benefits of accepting refugees into Australia.