Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta is the untold story of how the Vietnamese community
overcame the odds and found their place in multicultural Australia.

The story begins with the landmark decision of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser to open Australia’s doors to thousands of refugees at the end of the Vietnam War. It is a moment in history that finally buries the infamous White Australia Policy and transforms a nation. The years that follow are as dramatic as they are turbulent – a people struggling to find their place in a foreign land. In the tiny suburb of Cabramatta, the 1980s and 1990s see the arrival of street gangs, a heroin epidemic and the first political assassination in Australia’s history. The Vietnamese people are vilified and demonised. Cabramatta it seems represents all that is wrong with Asian immigration. The universal support for multiculturalism is now a distant memory.

But as the century draws to a close, there is a remarkable turnaround. The Vietnamese people find their voice – and speak up to claim their democratic place in their adopted home. Cabramatta is a community transformed – and Australia a continent changed.


Documentary Series

1 x 60 minutes 


Key Creatives

Series Producer
Jacob Hickey

Series Director
Bernadine Lin

Director of Photography
Justin Hanrahan

Executive Producers
Craig Graham & Sue Clothier

Original Concept
Craig Graham & Fredbird Entertainment


Winner: 2013 New York Film Festival (UNDPI Gold Medal)
Winner: 2013 New York Film Festival (Silver Medal Community Portraits)
Winner: 2013 AACTA Award (Best Editing in a Documentary)
Winner: 2012 ATOM Awards (Best Factual Television Series)
Finalist: 2012 Walkley Documentary Award