Cuc Lam left her whole family behind when she fled from Vietnam in 1978 with her husband Minh.
They escaped in a fruit and vegetable boat down the Mekong Delta, disguised as fishermen. Cuc was able to take very few belongings with her: a watch from her sister, her wedding ring, her mother's earrings.
After 8 days at sea, they were finally picked up by a Malaysian ship. It was whilst in a Malaysian refugee camp that she heard she had been accepted into Australia, and sold her wedding ring to buy a red vinyl suitcase, so that she would not arrive in her new country empty handed. Cuc and Minh stayed in a Maribyrnong hostel in Melbourne until 1979, when Cuc had her first baby.
A former Maribyrnong City councillor, Cuc now works at Centrelink and continues supporting her family in Vietnam.
Story education resources
Education Museum Victoria: Passport Education Kit
These resources focus on the history and experience of immigration to Victoria. It guides students through their visit to the Immigration Museum and provides activities for them to complete during their visit. The story of Cuc Lam is among a number of case studies provided. Designed for years 5 - 6, 7 - 8: (VELS) Levels 4 & 5.