To Set Fire to the Sea

  • Signage for Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre removed and painted over, though the centre is still in operation.

  • Visitors to detention centres are given a numbered wristband upon entry. This is reminiscent of how codes are used throughout the detention system. Asylum seekers who arrived by boat were given a boat number for identification purposes, and detention centre staff have been known to call asylum seekers by this number, instead of their actual names. As a result, children have also begun to use this code as their name.

  • Moorthy was in detention for over five years. He would joke about his nickname being ‘More Tea’ as he would always make everyone tea during visits. We estimated that he made 21,840 cups of tea in his time in detention.

  • Paari spent the first years of his life inside Villawood detention centre. For his third birthday he wanted a key.

  • Visits were especially quiet during Ramadan. People were too tired and too sad to come to visits.

  • A counsellor in a Perth detention centre would tell people to blow up a balloon, and when it burst, he would say to them, ‘this is life.’

  • 'This is how tired we are, this action will prove how exhausted we are. I cannot take it anymore.’ Omid Masoumali, a 23 year old man from Iran, had been living in an Australian run detention centre on Nauru for three years. On 26 April 2016, during a visit from UN Officials, he set himself on fire. It was two hours before he received medical attention and eight hours before he received morphine. It was 24 hours before he was airlifted to Australia. He died two days later in a hospital in Brisbane.

  • Ismail and I laugh about his ordeals sharing bunk beds; heavy roommates and wobbly frames, loud snorers and hitting his head on the ceiling when he wakes up. Times when Ismail’s roommates woke him up because he was crying in his sleep.

  • Nima and I are the same age. He has four qualifications and likes to play the violin. The first time we met, he had our whole table entertained with magic tricks. He has been in detention for five years. His processing began last November.

  • Ismail used to have beautiful hair. He says his appearance has completely changed in his four years in detention. Stress has diminished his appetite and he now takes medication to sustain his energy. Today Ismail eats just two slices of toast a day.

  • Rujul’s old towel hanger. In August 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced a new visa called Final Departure Bridging Visa E. This new visa applied to those in community detention who had been brought to Australia from offshore centres for medical treatment. Within three weeks of the announcement welfare ceased and people were evicted from community housing. They were required to find a job, a place to live, and make arrangements to return to offshore detention or their home country within six months, by 28th February. Rujul was so worried in the lead up to this date he couldn’t eat or sleep. On February 28th, people on this visa were called into the Immigration office. They were again put on the six month Final Departure Bridging Visa E. Rujul said he was relieved, but knew this relief was only temporary.

  • Guards in some detention centres are required to carry a Hoffman knife. These are used to cut down detainees found hanging.

  • Rujul and his son, Deeran, first met when Deeran was four. They were able to spend thirteen days together.

  • In detention centres, lighters are built into poles in communal areas for security reasons. Occasionally Maj would find himself with his own handheld lighter. He said that this was freedom.

  • When I first started visiting Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, the visiting room was always lively and full of people. People would write their names and contact details on scraps of paper for you to visit again and keep in touch in the meantime.

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As a result, children have also begun to use this code as their name.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228322,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgemzx4ad3980df4.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 22:40:46","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:40:46"},"story_block":null},{"id":118697,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228273,"position":2,"created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:48","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:59:23","caption":"Moorthy was in detention for over five years. He would joke about his nickname being \u2018More Tea\u2019 as he would always make everyone tea during visits. We estimated that he made 21,840 cups of tea in his time in detention.","caption_raw":"Moorthy was in detention for over five years. He would joke about his nickname being \u2018More Tea\u2019 as he would always make everyone tea during visits. 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For his third birthday he wanted a key.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228267,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgeku757fd7fb993.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:08","updated_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:08"},"story_block":null},{"id":118696,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228272,"position":4,"created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:41","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:59:23","caption":"Visits were especially quiet during Ramadan. People were too tired and too sad to come to visits.","caption_raw":"Visits were especially quiet during Ramadan. People were too tired and too sad to come to visits.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228272,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgekv5683ccc9492.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:41","updated_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:41"},"story_block":null},{"id":118692,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228268,"position":5,"created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:09","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:59:23","caption":"A counsellor in a Perth detention centre would tell people to blow up a balloon, and when it burst, he would say to them, \u2018this is life.\u2019","caption_raw":"A counsellor in a Perth detention centre would tell people to blow up a balloon, and when it burst, he would say to them, \u2018this is life.\u2019","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228268,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgeku92e8d52e88a.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:09","updated_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:09"},"story_block":null},{"id":118695,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228271,"position":7,"created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:23","updated_at":"2018-10-10 23:24:01","caption":"'This is how tired we are, this action will prove how exhausted we are. 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Times when Ismail\u2019s roommates woke him up because he was crying in his sleep.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228262,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgektj0c2dc502be.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 21:53:43","updated_at":"2018-10-10 21:53:43"},"story_block":null},{"id":118690,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228266,"position":9,"created_at":"2018-10-10 21:53:46","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:59:23","caption":"Nima and I are the same age. He has four qualifications and likes to play the violin. The first time we met, he had our whole table entertained with magic tricks. He has been in detention for five years. His processing began last November.","caption_raw":"Nima and I are the same age. He has four qualifications and likes to play the violin. The first time we met, he had our whole table entertained with magic tricks. He has been in detention for five years. His processing began last November.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228266,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgektmb859867c85.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 21:53:46","updated_at":"2018-10-10 21:53:46"},"story_block":null},{"id":118693,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228269,"position":10,"created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:18","updated_at":"2018-10-10 23:24:01","caption":"Ismail used to have beautiful hair.\r\n\r\nHe says his appearance has completely changed in his four years in detention. Stress has diminished his appetite and he now takes medication to sustain his energy. Today Ismail eats just two slices of toast a day.","caption_raw":"Ismail used to have beautiful hair.\r\n\r\nHe says his appearance has completely changed in his four years in detention. Stress has diminished his appetite and he now takes medication to sustain his energy. Today Ismail eats just two slices of toast a day.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228269,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgekuha5e1cc8b78.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:18","updated_at":"2018-10-10 21:54:18"},"story_block":null},{"id":118739,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228317,"position":11,"created_at":"2018-10-10 22:24:47","updated_at":"2018-10-10 23:11:43","caption":"Rujul\u2019s old towel hanger.\r\n\r\nIn August 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced a new visa called Final Departure Bridging Visa E. This new visa applied to those in community detention who had been brought to Australia from offshore centres for medical treatment.\r\n\r\nWithin three weeks of the announcement welfare ceased and people were evicted from community housing. 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These are used to cut down detainees found hanging.","caption_raw":"Guards in some detention centres are required to carry a Hoffman knife. These are used to cut down detainees found hanging.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228316,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgem925612698dbf.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 22:24:39","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:24:39"},"story_block":null},{"id":118743,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228321,"position":13,"created_at":"2018-10-10 22:34:14","updated_at":"2018-10-10 23:24:01","caption":"Rujul and his son, Deeran, first met when Deeran was four. They were able to spend thirteen days together.","caption_raw":"Rujul and his son, Deeran, first met when Deeran was four. They were able to spend thirteen days together.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228321,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgemp10fcb93185b.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 22:34:14","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:34:14"},"story_block":null},{"id":118745,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228323,"position":14,"created_at":"2018-10-10 22:42:47","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:59:23","caption":"In detention centres, lighters are built into poles in communal areas for security reasons. Occasionally Maj would find himself with his own handheld lighter. He said that this was freedom.","caption_raw":"In detention centres, lighters are built into poles in communal areas for security reasons. Occasionally Maj would find himself with his own handheld lighter. He said that this was freedom.","deleted_at":null,"image":{"id":228323,"filename":"\/users\/33020\/grant-submissions\/10750\/pgen3be5a3220985.jpg","created_at":"2018-10-10 22:42:47","updated_at":"2018-10-10 22:42:47"},"story_block":null},{"id":118742,"grant_submission_id":10750,"story_block_id":null,"image_id":228320,"position":15,"created_at":"2018-10-10 22:30:30","updated_at":"2018-10-10 23:24:01","caption":"When I first started visiting Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, the visiting room was always lively and full of people. People would write their names and contact details on scraps of paper for you to visit again and keep in touch in the meantime.","caption_raw":"When I first started visiting Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, the visiting room was always lively and full of people. 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