How the Vietnamese community overcame the odds and found their place in multicultural Australia.




1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Series cast summary:
Thang Ngo ...
 Local Government Councillor Thang Ngo (1 episode, 2012)
 Passerby (1 episode, 2012)


"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 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 this one tiny Sydney suburb, the 80s and 90s 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. What's more the community exist against a political backdrop that is fractured, the universal support for multiculturalism a distant memory. But as the century draws to a close there ... Written by Once Upon a Time Productions

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:




Release Date:

8 January 2012 (Australia)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(High Definition)|
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Strong Sydney Vietnamese Community doc.
22 January 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Surprisingly hard-hitting for the ethnic broadcaster. A three part account of Sydney suburb Cabramatta, where waves of boat people arrived after the Vietnam War, as the new Labor Government dumped the White Australia Policy, only to find no support services or Vietnamese speaking social workers.

With the parents out working long hours, the kids were sucked into gangs and the place became "the heroin capital of Australia." Things climax with the assassination of local member John Newman, shown making speeches about "sending them back to the jungles of Vietnam" - the country's first political assassination.

Harrowing case histories, Police Crime statistics rubbished, twenty detox beds for fifteen hundred addicts, families destroyed all lead to a not too convincing happy ending with Community Involvement - the Old Oz publican grabs every dealer, who offers him, and citizen's arrests him off to the cop station and the new member of parliament ("My whole campaign was completely L plated") arranges community meetings, which break the code of silence.

Attention holding. On screen commentary with interviews of addicts, cops, paramedics and families straight to camera, under-cranked footage and archive material, all effective.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta (2012) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: