Matthew Nagas

Matthew Nagas

Matthew is of Pacific Island heritage. His family history is bound up in the impact of the immigration policies on these groups. His grandfather William Nagas, was born in Canna Island in Vanuatu. William was 13 or 14 years old when he came to Australia. But after laws were passed to deport Islanders, he jumped a departing ship.

The deportations split up families, and for some years the sugar cane workers had to work at night to avoid being caught. Local white farmers would often help them avoid detection because they wanted to keep their good workers. Matthew’s ancestors managed to cling on their place in Australia and now Matthew is among 400 family members who make their homes in North Queensland.

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Interactive

Explore the stories and lives of dozens of remarkable immigrants -- and their descendants -- in this immersive interactive documentary about the building of multicultural Australia.