TU DO collection




A collection of approximately 100 items including the Vietnamese refugee boat TU DO, and personal effects donated by the Lu family, who escaped from Communist Vietnam to Australia on TU DO in 1977. The collection also includes photographs of the arrival of TU DO in Darwin on 21 November 1977 by photojournalist Michael Jensen, portraits of the Lu family in 2010 by ANMM photographer Andrew Frolows, and replica provisions such as clothing, bedding, crockery, toys and fittings purchased in Vietnam in 1998 with the help of TU DO's builder and navigator Tan Thanh Lu.

Store owner Tan Thanh Lu had fought with the South Vietnamese during the Vietnam War and believed his family faced a bleak future under the new Communist regime. In 1975 he pooled resources with several friends and built an escape boat named TU DO [Freedom]. To divert suspicion TU DO was constructed as a dragnet fishing boat typical of the region. Mr Lu sailed TU DO from Phu Quoc Island in southern Vietnam to Australia, arriving in Darwin on 21 November 1977 with 30 passengers including his pregnant wife Tuyet and three young children Dzung, Dao and Mo. The group was detained at Wacol Refugee Centre in Brisbane for six months before being granted asylum. The TU DO collection documents a key chapter in Australia's immigration history - the arrival of refugees who fled Vietnam following the fall of Saigon and embarked on perilous sea voyages as 'boat people.' The collection represents an Australian perspective on the global story of displaced people, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers - a story that continues to capture international attention today.

Some material included in this collection may be subject to copyright

By appointment only, please contact ANMM

Parts of this collection are digitised and available on the ANMM web site


1975-2010; Boat people; Fishing vessels; Immigrants; Immigration; Vietnamese refugees

Andrew Frowlows; Michael Jenson; Tan Than Lu

Bedding; Clothing; Photographs; Toys

Cooking utensils; Refugees

Coverage Spatial

United States; Malaysia; Vietnam; Australia; Brisbane, Australia; Darwin, Australia

Coverage Temporal



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2012-05-30 23:40