Mem­o­ries

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - IN THIS ISSUE -

December 1958, just on 58 years ago I ar­rived in Mel­bourne, Vic­to­ria aboard the ship “Fairsea” and what a change it was hav­ing left the shores of Eng­land on Guy Fawkes Day and spend­ing just over a month trav­el­ling over the seas to the other end of the world. As a boy of eleven years of age it was a time of ex­cite­ment and ad­ven­ture. We had stopped at Port Said (Egypt) and at the then Bri­tish ter­ri­tory of Aden (now part of Ye­men) where Arab traders tried to sell sou­venirs to my par­ents.

After cross­ing the In­dian Ocean we ar­rived in Fre­man­tle where I first stepped ashore on Aus­tralian soil. There it was my fa­ther took my sis­ters and I to a beach, whilst back in Eng­land peo­ple would be hud­dling around a coal fire­place try­ing to keep warm.

Ar­riv­ing in Mel­bourne, we dis­em­barked the ship and we were taken to a tran­si­tional mi­grant hos­tel in the city centre where we stayed for I think about a week. The tran­si­tional mi­grant camp is now long gone and has been re­placed by of­fice build­ings. The camp bor­dered, what is the Ex­hi­bi­tion Gar­dens so there was plenty to ex­plore both in the gar­dens and the city it­self. Then came the move dur­ing a great heatwave from the city to the Brooklyn Mi­grant Hos­tel be­tween Footscray and Al­tona.

The hos­tel was ad­join­ing abat­toirs where sheep were be­ing kept prior to be­ing slaugh­tered. With tem­per­a­tures of around 108 de­grees (Fahren­heit) and sheep just on the other side of the fence the smell and flies were atro­cious. The Nis­sen huts in which we lived had no cool­ing and were very hot.

As mi­grants from war-torn Britain com­ing to Aus­tralia for a bet­ter life I guess you would call us eco­nomic refugees. So there we were to be stuck in a hot, stink­ing, fly blown place for Christ­mas 1958. It was still an ad­ven­ture for me and, with some friends from the mi­grant camp, would walk the length of Millers Rd to Al­tona beach. One of the things that boys from the camp would also do was to col­lect the ear tags from the sheep at the abat­toir by tack­ling the sheep and after bring­ing them down tak­ing the ear tags from them. The boys then at­tached the ear tags to their belts and wore them I guess as a sign of man­li­ness.

My par­ents had ob­tained work lo­cally and had at bought an old car. So as Christ­mas came they de­cided that we would drive to Syd­ney to visit friends who had come out to Aus­tralia on the ship with us and were liv­ing at Cabra­matta. Into the car we tum­bled and off along the Hume Hwy we rode. They had ar­ranged for a cut lunch (sand­wiches) from the Hos­tel Can­teen. No cook­ing al­lowed in the huts. Our first trip into the coun­try­side of Aus­tralia and pass­ing through towns with strange names; cross­ing over creeks (which we would have called brooks or streams back in the UK) and see­ing for the first time the Pi­o­neer Scenic In­ter­state Coaches (Re­mem­ber them?) and the South­ern Cross wind­mills which dot­ted the land­scape of farms. Fi­nally ar­riv­ing at Cabra­matta where the huts in the hos­tel were sim­i­lar to those at Brooklyn but there was not the smell and flies that we were suf­fer­ing back in Vic­to­ria. My par­ents de­cided that when we re­turned to Brooklyn after Christ­mas that they would ap­ply to trans­fer to Cabra­matta and the rest is his­tory as we ar­rived back at Cabra­matta in Fe­bru­ary 1959. I guess at the age of 11 years ev­ery­thing in Aus­tralia was new to me and I could have or would have set­tled any­where, but I am thank­ful to my par­ents for choos­ing Syd­ney where I have made my life and have had no re­grets for the choices that they made.

We left behind the Bri­tish class sys­tem which was still in place dur­ing the 1950s we also left behind the cold and damp­ness of “work­ing class Eng­land” to come to a bright sunny fu­ture in egal­i­tar­ian Aus­tralia, where ev­ery­one had equal op­por­tu­nity

NOW WHAT ABOUT YOUR MEM­O­RIES OR YOUR STORY

You can write about child­hood mem­o­ries of where you may have grown up or mov­ing into the area. Tell us about your school days. Where you worked, played or went on hol­i­days; your first car; that first date, get­ting mar­ried or maybe the his­tory of your fam­ily, group or or­gan­i­sa­tion in the district. This page is about mem­o­ries so tell us yours.

If you have some great mem­o­ries, or per­haps you be­long to a lo­cal com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion and would like to share your or­gan­i­sa­tion’s his­tory or story with us then feel free to share your mem­o­ries or ex­pe­ri­ences by writ­ing to 17 Rose St., Baulkham Hills NSW 2153 or email to ivor­jones@hill­sto­Hawkes­bury.com.au You can also share mem­o­ries on any of my Face­book mem­o­ries groups in­clud­ing Hills District Mem­o­ries which you will find at https://www.face­book.com/groups/Hills.mem­o­ries/ or Hawkes­bury Hap­pen­ings & Mem­o­ries which you will find at https://www.face­book.com/groups/Hawkesmem­o­ries/

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