Collection Online

Migrants arriving in Sydney

gelatin silver photograph
26.7 × 40.4 cm
Accession Number
Australian Photography
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1991
© Estate of David Moore
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Daryl and Anne Whinney
Gallery location
Not on display
About the work

When he took this photograph, David Moore was Australia's best-known photojournalist. Having recently returned to Australia after working in Britain for seven years, Moore continued to produce photo essays for international magazines. This photograph, originally produced in colour, was commissioned for a National Geographic photo-essay about contemporary life in New South Wales.

Moore's photograph shows a group of passengers aboard the ship Galileo Galilei as it docked in Sydney. The tightly framed faces of this group of southern European migrants are marked by the mixed emotions of trepidation, anticipation, joy and recognition as they embark on a new life in Australia.


David Moore was Australia’s pre-eminent photojournalist of the 1960s. His work was regularly seen in leading local and international magazines. Moore’s Migrants arriving in Sydney, was commissioned and published by National Geographic in 1966. This now iconic image shows the climactic moment when a ship carrying migrants to Australia docks at Sydney harbour. The tightly framed photograph reveals a range of emotions on the faces of a group of people about to disembark and begin a new life. “We must do more than record the sensational, the bizarre, and the tragic. The lens of the camera must probe, with absolute sincerity, deep into the lives of ordinary men and women and show how we work and play.”
David Moore, 1953