The arrival of Vietnamese refugee ‘boat people'' on Australia''s northern shore in the late 1970s heralded a seminal event in Australian history. The full impact of this event continues to resonate to this day, but significant challenges surrounding Vietnamese settlement were played out during the 1990s. This ethnography attempts to captures this highly formative period in Australian history by registering through the eyes of Vietnamese Australians, how Vietnamese and other Australians ''mirror'' and come to terms with ‘what it is to be Australian''. It plots this ‘mirroring'', firstly in terms of white Australia''s cultural-historical constructions of the Asian as Other, and secondly in terms of the power and play of antipodean ‘second contact'' identified through the eyes of particularly situated Vietnamese Australians. Importantly located in processes of change, it is with their eyes that this study explores the relationships between Vietnamese Australians, their past and the dominant culture''s responses to difference; highlighting the refashioning of ‘tradition'' (both Vietnamese and Australian) into new tools that both demystify and reenchant the neo-colonial world of second contact.