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immigration place Immigration place is a celebration of the contribution of immigrants to Australia’s history. Beginning as an online archive of indivduals stories about their immigration experience we are now celebrating the opening of a national monuement located in Canberra. To celebrate the opening of this site we have rebranded and reimagined our website to better reflect the people who contribute the stories. A new formart focusing on the people behind their stories create a personal experience to all readers. As well as the launch of site and redesigned website. We are launching a gallery show case of a selection of stories and images withe National Portrait Gallery. A special showcase of what Immigration place stands for.

You are holding the commerative book for the launch of the new Immigration Place. What follows are a collection of stories that share the experiences of those who have immigrated to Australia, their journey and their feelings. For more information on Immigration Place or to contribute a story got to www.immigrationplace.com.au -Andrew Baulch, Campaign Director.


For me, the outback became the essence of Australia and I began to feel very comfortable with the isolation of many of the places that I visited. terry parry, british


I

spent most of my youth in Calne, Wiltshire, UK, where I attended primary school on The Green. When I was a teenager I enjoyed hitch-hiking. I hitch-hiked throughout the UK. Often by myself, occasionally with friends if we were going climbing and camping together. On those occasions we would sleep anywhere: in caves, railway-stations, chicken houses, doorways etc. So when I was approached by a group to join them in a bus trip to India, it was, for me, more of the same but on a grander scale. I had long dreamed of visiting Australia (notably the MacDonnell Ranges west of Alice Springs) so I thought I would travel halfway by bus and then, somehow continue on to Australia where I would work for a while to save some money before returning to the UK via New Zealand and the Mexico Olympics.

Around that time I had been teaching in the slums of Birmingham with migrants and refugees, followed by one year as assistant housemaster at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate Surrey. It was from here, in July 1967, that I set off on my journey to Australia. I had many adventures on the way – too numerous to mention. However, there was a comical start when after driving for less than an hour the bus went slower and slower until the wheel/brakes caught fire on the motorway and we were rescued by a fire engine and tow truck. We spent the next couple of days camped in the bus on a footpath, just south of London being taunted by passers-by with the question, “How far are you going, mate?” I finally arrived in Darwin on November 4 1967 and each year that passes I recall that auspicious occasion.


During the next two years I had so many wonderful experiences that I stopped thinking about returning to the United Kingdom.


Other highlights of the trip included: Being arrested for spying in India after taking photographs of traffic on a militarily strategic bridge. -Sleeping at the border of Turkey and Afghanistan under the protection of the border guards. -Flying from Rangoon to Bangkok on the same aircraft as the King of Thailand and receiving a red-carpet welcome with a military escort on arrival at the airport. -Receiving a cash top-up in Calcutta from my brother Dave. -Meeting a friend in Singapore who bought me a plane ticket from Singapore to Darwin. -Arriving in Darwin with 20c in my pocket and on my first day, meeting an old college friend from UK who

found me a job with accommodation and gave me $20 spending money (which was a half-weeks pay) So within 24 hours of my arrival in Darwin I obtained a job washing pots and pans in the Hotel Darwin. The accommodation was spartan: a bed and a chair and a cupboard and louvered windows with no flywire. I was fascinated for a while by those insects with their long, dangling legs (I had never seen a mosquito before!) Some time later, something happened that changed my life. In February 1968 I was offered a job as a teacher at Yirrkala School and from then I was hooked on life in the Territory. During the next two years I had so many wonderful experiences that I stopped thinking about returning to the UK. I was assigned a class of 13-16year-olds. The Principal introduced me to the class and said

to them “Sing for Mr Parry� and they immediately broke into a song with beautiful harmonies, and I was hooked. I stayed for 20 months and was then transferred to Papunya down in the Centre which had the reputation, I was told, of being the arsehole of the Territory. From my first impression I could believe it, but beneath that squalor I discovered that the people were very warm-hearted and welcoming, and during the 5 years I lived in the area became to know some of the local people very well. I was in the area when the Western Desert painting movement first started and knew many of the painters. I also happened to accompany Geoff Bardon when he drove across Queensland with his first consignment of paintings from Papunya in December 1971.


For me, the outback became the essence of Australia and I began to feel very comfortable with the isolation of many of the places that I visited. I developed some of the skills necessary to survive in the outback, such as offroad night navigation and confidence in being able to repair mechanical problems with my Land Rover. After living in the Territory for two years I no longer considered continuing my around the world trip. It wasn’t until 1972 that I finally returned to Calne, but only for a brief holiday and I’ve been in Australia ever since‌

I also happened to accompany Geoff Bardon when he drove across Queensland with his first consignment of paintings from Papunya in December 1971.


We felt as if we had just landed on a different planet and I will never forget the grip that suddenly tightened in my stomach. maria-maddalena piola, italy


We were imagining the wildlife mixing with people during every day activities.

It was more the sense of adOn top of that, imagination venture than theour comprehensive was highly impressed by the knowledge of the country that stories narrated the sugar brought us to thebyshores of this canecontinent. cutters talking of snakes vast We were virtually jumping out of the allbe ignorant of what weground were to around them. confronted with, when one considers that we were imagining the Or, maybe, it was the during aswildlife mixing withalso people tonishment that struck when, every day activities andme cities and lookingresembling at the mapthe of Australia, I towns ones of the noticed thefarexistence of a town American west as seen in the called CASINO, meaning brothel movies. in Italian, which made me think t


On top of that, our imagination was highly impressed by the stories narrated by the sugar cane cutters talking of snakes jumping out of the ground all around them. Or, maybe, it was also the astonishment that struck me when, looking at the map of Australia, I noticed the existence of a town called CASINO, meaning brothel in Italian, which made me think that this was certainly “ the land of milk and honey�.

In any case we submitted our application for residency and after twelve months of intense scrutiny for health and character, we were granted a visa for a permanent stay. We borrowed the money for the flight and finally landed at the old Sydney airport to be confronted by the first shocking surprise. The person who was supposed to meet us was not there. One can only try to visualize the feeling of a young couple in a totally foreign country, with nobody who

could or wanted to understand Italian, unable to communicate in English and surrounded by an almost hostile look of the custom officers. We felt as if we had just landed on a different planet and I will never forget the grip that suddenly tightened my stomach. Then, as always, things were settled in various ways. We met two of the most amiable couples by the name of Bruna and Livio Sain as well as Emilia and Fabio Castro who are to this day


still our best mates. Through the years we worked at different jobs and started raising our two children who are now happily married, Elizabeth with Michael and Richard with Kelly and are exemplary members of this society. We are also immensely proud of our two grandchildren Grace and Owen. Everything considered, this adopting country (apart from the occasional remark by some narrow minded individual in reference to the new Australian situation ) has been good to us. What we immediately appreciated was the lack of social strata, the still relatively limited bureaucracy and the ample space to move. The day after we landed, we immediately enrolled in an English language course, bought “The Sun� newspaper, that obviously

we could not understand, and for more than twenty years we never read an Italian publication concentrating all our linguistic energies towards the learning of the language. Nevertheless, even if we regard ourselves as Australians born in Italy, we never forgot our country of origin. In fact I have been teaching Italian at the local Community College for many years. We are now settled in a beautiful town of the Mid North Coast of NSW called Port Macquarie, from where, unless something dramatically changes our situation, we think that we will reach our exit from this world in a graceful way and walk into the history of this country thanks to this well thought out programme to which we were kindly introduced by our children.


What we immediately appreciated was the lack of social strata, the still relatively limited bureaucracy and the ample space to move.


The farms were targeted by the foe, which rendered them unsafe for families, including us.

andy macdonald, rhodesia


W

e had a small farm in Africa and we called it “Andaw” it was ours. It was about 23km out of Bulawayo on a dirt / tarred road, and this was our dream. We both loved it. We had a housekeeper called Hester and she was great. Andy’s farm hand was Neilson and we had other workers who helped on the farm. The farm consisted of about 550 acres in which we had Brahman cattle, some sheep and plenty of wild game as well as maize crops. It was a wonderful carefree life. Andy still worked on the Rhodesian Railways as a fitter and turner full time, but also ran his farm. Dawn stayed home and took care of all home duties. Before Independence, all men aged between 18-50 yrs old were called up to do National Service which meant they were in armed forc-

es for 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off. The farms where targeted by the foe, which rendered them unsafe for families, including us. We had two girls Angela and Leigh aged 7 and 5. So we decided for a safer and better life. So we applied to immigrate to Australia. We waited for 12 months to be accepted. A new life and journey was about to begin for us. Our new life began on the 23 September 1978 when we arrived in Sydney. Coming from a small town in Africa; it was overwhelming seeing all the houses and built up areas, as well as the people. We lived there for 3 months and the girls attended school and Andy and I took time to adjust. Our journey then moved to Newcastle, a much slower pace compared to Sydney. We all enjoyed the beautiful beaches and lovely


We are very grateful for Australia and its people to allow us to begin a new life where we can see our children and grandchildren grow up


We have never regretted moving to our new home in Australia and all it has to offer.

Macquarie, because Rhodesia was land locked. Within a short drive we also have the Hunter Valley and the snow fields. And to the north is tropical Queensland. Andy was successful in gaining a position in the Coal Mines as a fitter and turner, a position he still holds today. We bought our first home and still reside there today. We all settled in and found everyone to


be very friendly and welcoming, for which we were most grateful, as most of our family still lived in Africa. We became Australian Citizens on the 25th September 1981. Our two girls have married and we today have 4 beautiful grandchildren (Roxy, Casey, Zali, and Campbell). This journey has enabled us to enjoy our lives and to see the lives that Australia has to offer

our children, grandchildren and hopefully one day great grandchildren. We have never regretted moving to our new home in Australia. tand enjoy all Australia has a lot to offer, but there will always be part of Africa in our blood. Our story is to be continued in future generations.


On arrival, my impressions were of awe. Wow they spoke English here, they had TV black and white but it was wonderful. We only had radio in South Africa, the year we left they got Television. freya jobbins, johannesburg


I do not have a need to return and destroy those great memories

My parents Jutta and Horst On topboth of that, our imagination Schild originally from Gerwas highly byclimate the many. Theyimpressed left the cold stories narrated by theinsugar for a healthier climate Johancane cutters talking of as snakes nesburg South Africa, my jumping out of the ground all father Horst suffers badly from around them. Asthma. They arrived in 1965, with my brother Hagen who was Or, maybe, it wasold. also asabout 9 months Mythe mother tonishment that struck was just pregnant with me when, when looking at the of Australia, I they arrived in map Johannesburg. noticed existence a town We livedthe here until justofbefore my called CASINO, meaning brothel 9th birthday, then we immigrated in Italian, made think t to Sydneywhich Australia in me August


of 1974. We left South Africa as my parents felt that at that time already it was not the safest place to raise their three children. My sister Ute was born in April 1972. I remember going to an all white primary school, and swimming in the all white public pools and I fondly remember our maid Kate who was our house cleaner. I only have positive memories of Johannesburg. I do not have a need to return and destroy those great memories. My father said that we had only one large shipping crate of belongings and

not a lot of money in the bank at all when we arrived in Sydney. He was a Design Engineer and I remember my mother had to learn how to read and write English to an advanced level before they were accepted as immigrants into Australia. We stayed at the Endeavour Hostel in Coogee for 12 months and we started at Coogee Primary School. My parents said we lost our South African accents very fast. We moved to Bradbury in Campbelltown where we all grew up. My brother became a motor

mechanic, me a Police Officer and my sister a Midwife. My parents are now retired and live in Rylstone NSW. The journey to me was a wonderful flight on the largest plane I had ever seen and I swore I was going to be a flight attendant when I grew up. I remember drawing pictures for the flight attendants. No hard arduous journey for us. I never remember feeling of dread or fear at all of our new adventure as my parents were always taking us on trips, travelling around


southern Africa in a VW Beetle. we where once chased by an elephant in the Kruger National Park. Mum was learning to drive so she and Dad did the fastest seat change you could imagine. We arrived the same year Cyclone Tracey destroyed Darwin so that memory of the disaster is etched in my mind. On arrival, my impressions were of awe. Wow they spoke English here, they had TV black and white but it was wonderful. We only had radio in South Africa, the year we left they got Television. We met so many other German Families with kids at the hostel and they became our surrogate ‘family’ here in Australia. German was our first language which we can all still speak fluently, then we had Afrikaans then English. My parents still keep in regular contact with all our German friends, though the next generation (us) have spread out

around Australia having many Aussie kids between us. I am glad my parents decided to immigrate to Australia instead of Canada as this country has become our country. This year my parents finally became Australian Citizens, I was so proud of them. I had become a citizen as soon as I was old enough - at 16 , along with my brother. All I wanted to be was a Police Officer and I had to be a citizen to become one. I had realised that after I was 15 years of age, I was way too tall to become a flight attendant. So I thought I would become a Police Officer as this was a family tradition on my father’s side. His father and half brother were both Police Officers in Germany. I joined the Australian Federal Police here in Canberra close to my 20th birthday. I worked Sydney for a year and spent the rest of my

career working here in Canberra. I spent time as the first female weapons instructor at the AFP Police College. I am now married to an Aussie from Yass NSW, he is a NSW Fire Fighter who rescued me from head on car crash on the Barton Highway in 1993. We met afterwards when I thanked him for saving my life and we were married two years later. We have 2 children, Jacinta and Murray, I also have a son David 18 years from my first marriage, who is now a member of the Australian Army . We now live in Picton which is 20 mins from Campbelltown where I grew up. Nearly a full circle. The only problems I occassionally experience (as an artist and as an individual) is that sometimes I do not know where I truly belong. Am I German, as both my parents were born in Germany, and I


speak German, or am I South African as that is the country I was born in or am I Australian as that is where I now live, have citizenship and have created a family? I know when I travel overseas I am so proud to say I am Australian, I am so relieved when I am back on Australian soil so I must belong here, in my country.

I am so relieved when I am back on Australian soil so I must belong here, in my country.


It was in one of those late spring evenings with my friends that I said I would leave for Australia mario vallejos, chile


I

t was October 1967 and as a young 21 years old near graduation university student I was spending much of my time talking with my friends about our future and discussing the next elections in Chile.

My friends and my family as much of my own education were a mixture of a Catholic and conservative culture on one hand to a more radical and left oriented political milieu that was part of our everyday life on the other. I lived then in San Carlos a small town about 400 kilometres south of the Chilean capital Santiago but I was brought up in a small rural rather isolated area with no public transport nor social, educational or other facilities nearby. Ivisited home only for my vacations from my boarding primary and high school years that my parents with great sacrifice have provided for me.

By the time I went to university my parents have moved to live in the town where I had greater opportunities of socialising and enjoying some of the modest facilities when I came back home visiting. It was in one of those late spring evenings with my friends that I said I would leave for Australia. Initially it was bewilderment by everybody and then it was taken as another joke or just a flippant remark by me that will be the subject of much teasing for quite a while. I had thought to leave Chile three years before when I had just finished my high school but my father not only categorically refused it but also said that I must enrol at University and must get a degree to be somebody in my life. No need to explain here that what a father said to do a son must comply with and it was


Che Guevara was killed and then they also killed the elected President Salvador Allende in Chile. At least in Australia they might have a coup but only dismissed the Prime Minister.


then that I enrolled and went to complete my first degree in Business Administration. It would take another year till I finally got my backpack ready which I have made of an old army bag donated by an older cousin. Then in late November 1968 I said good bye to my family and friends hitchhiking to Santiago initially with another friend. In Santiago we applied for visas to Australia but as we were anxious to keep moving we arranged to have the final visas processed in Peru seeking to find work in a ship to Australia there after unsuccessfully trying in Chile. It would take another year after travelling mostly alone east, south, north and west in every country and harbour in South America (the challenges, vicissitudes and survival the subject of another story) that I was finally able in early January

1970 to get a lift in the French ocean liner Taitien bound for Australia from Panama. I finally reached Sydney on 9 February 1970 as the sun was rising and reflecting on the Opera House still under the final days of its construction. I felt an exhilarating great satisfaction of a dream made reality with my heart full of hopes for a new beginning after a long and unforgetful journey. I had then $10 in my pocket and 10 words of English. My skills of survival in South America were quite inadequate in a country with such a different culture and a language that was not only hard to understand but also many Australian had little inclination to help new migrants. After a few days surviving in Sydney the employment service gave me a train ticket to Melbourne and from

there stright to Mildura where I found out the harsh reality of working in a 40 degree vineyard and sleeping in a hotter third world hut of walls and roof made of corrugated iron. From Mildura I went to Melbourne and after working in the assembly line at GMH Holden and other labouring jobs I went to English classes and later to further education. For a time I almost gave up and attempted return to Chile since my frustration learning English and adjusting to life in Australia seemed unsurmountable. In 1973 on my way back to Chile the country faced the most brutal military coup and made me realised that Australia was a better place to make my home. Che Guevara was killed and then they also killed the elected President Salvador Allende in Chile. At least in Australia they might have a coup but only dismissed the Prime Minister.


Upon my return to Australia I did a post graduate Diploma of Education and in 1976 I began my career working in local government community services. First in Fitzroy Victoria then Alice Springs NT and finally moving to Kiama NSW where I have been working since 1986 at the Kiama Municipal Council. I married in 1979 and after having two sons I separated in 1996 and then divorced in 1998. I am now also the very proud grandfather of a beautiful little girl

I had then $10 in my pocket and 10 words of English.


The Uruguayan consulate was advising of trips to a far away land called Australia

monica elazbeth lemos, uraguay


Once we arrived it was like a picture card, beaches surrounded the hotel

We parted from Uruguay on the 17th August 1973 caught the On top of that, ourand imagination plane (Lan impressed Chile) to Chile was highly by thewhere there was a by Military Queue. stories narrated the sugar There was no milk, bread and cane cutters talking of snakes food andout you could not wander jumping of the ground all around as you might get shot around them. by the military police. We, the family, wereit awaiting Or, maybe, was also the the airlines asto be allowed travel me to this far tonishment thattostruck when, away land called was looking at the mapAustralia.It of Australia, I a very scary trip as weofhad never noticed the existence a town travelled by plane. It is mybrothel Father, called CASINO, meaning Oscar Wilman my think Mother, in Italian, whichLemos, made me t


Mirtha Elizabeth Lemos, myself the Eldest, Monica Elizabeth Lemos, my Brother, Ricardo Daniel Lemos, and youngest Sister, Claudia Janet Lemos. We parted from Uruguay on the 17th August 1973 and caught the plane (Lan Chile) to Chile where there was a Military Queue. There was no milk, bread and food and you could not wander around as you might get shot by the military police. We, the family, were awaiting the airlines to be allowed to travel to

this far away land called Australia. After two days being stuck in a hotel with no food, and not knowing what was going on, my father decided to take a risk to travel to the airport and catch the first flight out of this country, We then flew scared to Noumea where it was sensational compared to Chile. It was also very scary - we had been dropped of at the airport catching a very old bus filled with people who had no idea also

where we were going. We were driving far from the airport. On the way to the hotel in Noumea, we had to drive on a very narrow road and if you looked to the side of bus I could see big craters so big if we fell we would die. Once we arrived it was like a picture card, beaches surrounded the hotel huts and very dark men dressed in white uniforms wearing skirts, very friendly and smiling speaking a different language.


Thank goodness my dad could speak their language which was French - we stayed here two days. Once again we were driven by the Hotel back to the airport, catching a plane called UTA to Australia. On the aeroplane there was a young man who could speak a little Spanish as we are Latins and could understand him. He asked us can you speak English and I nodded a little. My name is Monica. I knew a few words like, my name, toilet, yes thank you, how do you do - that was all. This young man asked all of us how old we were - it was such a hard time trying to tell him that I was turning 9 on the 23rd August as we arrived on the 22nd August 1973 to Australia. He understood me and gave me a 20 cent coin for my birthday I was so happy and grateful for this gesture. My parents also thanked him. We

knew this great man came from Australia and great things would follow us in this new country.

park full of funny rides made out of hard steel , a roundabout, swings, and a slide where I sat.

We were so overwhelmed as the air hostess said you have finally arrived in Australia. We all looked at each other and had tears.

I looked around and it was so hot and humid and I could hear someone calling out (maaaa) so loud. And after a few times I asked my cousin who is that calling out, he laughed and told me it was a bird, I looked puzzled, but then this bird flew close by it was the most beautiful bird I had seen, so black and medium size and the bluest eyes - it was a crow After going inside the house, and eating I could hear a blowing of a whistle, to me that meant that police were close by and I screamed out to my dad, and family. My parents and I thought that my cousins place was being invaded by police they all laughed. It was the paper boy blowing his whistle as he is passing by selling new papers.

We arrived on the 22nd of August 1973 at 11.00 am Sydney Airport on the Plane UTA. We all grabbed each others hands while my dad went to grab our luggage My Mum was so happy and my siblings were looking around not understanding anything that was being spoken but people looked friendly and smiled at us. My father contacted his brother that had been living here in Australia for 3 years. We were driven to Matraville in Sydney. We were introduced to family friends of my Uncle. My Cousin then walked us next door to his home, where there was a

These strange things showed


how different it was. My uncle drove us to the beach, it was so fantastic clear, kids on this funny boards and girls in bikinis. People were happy. My cousin gave me a sandwich that had this dark spread on it and butter I was a bit peckish so I bit into it and once in my mouth, a strong taste I had never tasted before. I swallowed it so that I would not disrespect him but I didn’t like that - it was Vegemite. I love it now, Vegemite the best thing ever.

We were so overwhelmed as the air hostess said you have finally arrived in Australia. We all looked at each other and had tears.


i needed to live in a country where we would be free

chuc thi lam, vietnam


I

was born in 1952 in Tay Ninh, a small farming village about 54 miles from the bustling city of Ho chi Minh. I had 3 brothers and 3 sisters, two of whom died at birth. The only ones remaining are my two sisters and I was the youngest of the family, but also the most daring. When I was only 15 days old my father passed away. I only remember his warm but stern gaze from photographs my mother kept. He left my mother to struggle with 5 children. She worked so hard, I remember. I was so close to her, and she was such a wonderful mother that even now I cry thinking about her. In order to attend school I had to live with my sister in Saigon. As school fees were so expensive I had to study incredibly hard to pass.

When the war descended upon us, I had made the decision to escape. To me, their was no other choice. The decision to stay would see my husband and I killed, victims of persecution or living a life in chains. I needed to live in a country where we would be free, and my children would be safe. I decided to go. I decided to leave behind my sisters and my brother. They persuaded me to change my mind. I couldn’t blame them, they were terrified. They had no idea what would lie on the other side of escape; death at sea, torture, rape and slavery at the hands of the Thai pirates renowned by scouring the sea and pillaging all boats that crossed their path... or freedom. My husband and I coordinated and planned our escape. We tried twice in vain. Both times the people that promised us passage on their


I remember the thoughts running through my mind when I set eyes on the boat, “We won’t survive in that!”


boats escaped with the money and left us at shore. We had no more money left. I had been saving bars of gold to ensure our escape, but my savings had dwindled to almost nothing, save one last bar of gold. I found a woman at the bank in which I worked who also wanted to escape. It was lucky for us; she had the connections to the person who owned the boat we were to escape in. In the midst of the night of our planned escape, we crept through bushes and reeds on the shore towards our boat. I remember the thoughts running through my mind when I set eyes on the boat, “We won’t survive in that!”. We boarded quickly, quietly, and set off. We had made it. As we were sailing out onto open waters we heard shots fired behind us. They had spotted us. The firing stopped. They had given up and decided not to pursue. How lucky and joyous we

were. We had barely escaped. We sailed in the wind and the ocean spray for eight days. Each time we saw specks of other boats in the horizon I was terrified they would be pirates. In international waters we were spotted by a Malaysian ship, who took myself, other women and children on board while the men, including my husband Minh were towed behind on a tiny vessel. The ship then sailed away after asking us to return to our boat and showed us the way to the Malaysians island of Pulau Tengah where we survived for 5 weeks in the refugee camp awaiting our application to Australia to be processed. We were ecstatic to be told Australia had accepted our application. The camp transferred us to Kuala Lumpur for final health checks. In Kuala Lumpur I decided that I couldn’t set foot onto new soil, into

a new country empty-handed. Minh and I had literally nothing save the clothes on our back. Walking around the refugee camp I remember having seen a shiny red suitcase at one of the market stalls. I decided I wanted it, so we could look as if we possessed something. So I traded my wedding ring. When we set foot in Australia I remembered the amazing feeling. I describe it as being like a bird set free after living its life in a cage. A government bus transported us to the Midway Hostel in Maribyrnong where we were to spend the next 6 months of our lives settling in. The first few months were a struggle, to say the least. Before I had arrived, I had day dreamed about what Australia would be like and how we would fit in. Australia proved to be a huge culture shock.


Minh and I decided to return to study. We both believed strongly that education would be the only way to offer our children the best future and allow us to conquer our environment. At the same time, we both had to work to support ourselves and our future children. We both took English classes to conquer the language barrier, but our study and work environment forced us to pick up the English language quickly. I gave birth to my first born son, Phillip in 1979. Our first year of arrival. Two more children were to follow, my daughter Carolyn and finally my youngest Andrew. It was during these younger years that I would work three different jobs to keep the family alive while studying in my spare time. It was during these years that we also made the most wonderful and loyal friends amongst the Australians that helped us settle in. We remain close friends with them still.

We raised our children to play with their children and spent many family functions together. In order to give back and contribute to a country and society that has accepted myself and my family I have dedicated myself to helping others in similar situations. In 2002, I received the Public Service medal and in 2007 was on the Victorian Honour Roll Of Women. I am proud of these achievements and that of my family. I know I am very lucky to be here. I believe that God let me live so that I could make a difference in the lives of others. I want my children to do the same, to give back as thanks and gratitude for all this country has given us, especially our freedom.

Like a bird set free after living its life in a cage.


After a few weeks. I thought about the White Australian Policy again. I could not find any trace of it sankar kumar chatterjee, india


The Opera House was being built and the Sydney Harbour Bridge looked magnificent

I was born in Calcutta in 1938. My name Sankar Kumar ChatOn top of is that, our imagination terjee - sonimpressed of Radharaman was highly by theand Pankajbala Chatterjee. stories narrated by the sugar cane cutters talking of snakes On September 3, 1964 I got jumping out of the ground all up about in the morning to around5am them. catch a plane from Dum Dum Airport in Calcutta. I remember Or, maybe, it was also the asmy nephew that Debstruck Kumarme came tonishment when, straight to the the map customs area looking at of Australia, I where one was usually alnoticedno the existence of a town lowed. The officers laughed as called CASINO, meaning brothel he was a which little boy of 8.me I was also in Italian, made think t


feeling sad about leaving friends and relatives. Moreover, I was going to miss my Mohun Bagan Athletic Club - the National Club of India. I used to go to the Club quite often. I was going to miss the atmosphere and the friends in the Club. As I walked towards the aircraft I realized that I won’t be able to come back for a while. I was also apprehensive about the White Australia Policy. The reason of my journey to Australia was to work in a metallurgical firm by the name Bradford

Kendall Ltd - a steel foundry in Sydney. I wrote to the Company’s Managing Director Mr. William Kendall requesting a job so that I could learn steel making. Mr. Warren Tully - the Acting Company Controller at that time came to the airport to meet me. He started speaking very slowly after realizing that I was not following his Aussie accent very well. I was feeling more and more comfortable with him as the day rolled on. The company was only a fifteen minutes drive from the

airport. Warren asked me to fill one form and gave me an advance of Ten Australian Pounds as I did not have enough money. At the end of the day Warren took me to his home for dinner (roast lamb and vegetables) and I stayed the next two days as his guest. Julie (Warren’s wife) and Warren took me round Sydney the next two days. It might come as a surprise to many that AMP building was the tallest building in Sydney CBD at that time. The Opera House was being built


and the Sydney Harbour Bridge looked magnificent. On Sunday afternoon Julie and Warren took me to the place where I was going to stay. Mr. and Mrs. William and Hazel Smith lived in Phillip Bay about fifteen minutes drive to Alexandria where I was going to work. Mr. and Mrs. Smith really looked after me well. Mr. and Mrs. Smith had ten children - eight daughters and two sons. All but two were married. The daughters dropped in almost every weekend. So the weekends were always really enjoyable to the Smiths. I felt very homely with them. after me well. Mr. and Mrs. Smith After a few weeks. I thought about the White Australia Policy again. I could not find any trace of that when I was among my colleagues or at home with the Smiths. The whole neighborhood

was very friendly. I started working on 7 September 1964. I enjoyed my work very much for the next four and a half years with Bradford, Kendall Ltd. People were very friendly. Soon I became the melting metallurgist in the steel making division. It was a great responsibility and I believe I graduated with honors. I returned to India in February 1969 and married. After my marriage with Amita - daughter of Kalidas and Sisirkana Chatterjee, we went to Austria and worked there for 20 months. I was not very happy with the working conditions in Austria and Warren Tully suggested that I return to Bradford, Kendall. Amita and I agreed. Warren arranged a job for me in Dunedin, New Zealand. The name of the company was Wilkinson Callon Ltd. It was a wholly owned subsidiary of Bradford Kendall. I worked there

for five and a half years. In 1977 I returned to Australia to work for Bradford Kendall in Perth. Since then I have been living in Australia. In Perth I did a degree course in Economics with Murdoch University as an external student and in 1986 I got a job with the Australian Government in the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce. Later I moved to Australian Bureau of Statistics in the National Accounts Division and retired in 2003. I have two sons - Taposh and Swarup. Taposh is a medical doctor - an anaesthetist. He graduated from the Flinders University of South Australia. My other son Swarup did his PhD in Chemistry from the Australian National University. Amita worked for the Canberra Institute of Technology. She is also retired now. Both Taposh and Swarup


are married. Taposh met Tanya Casey in Launceston Tasmania and married in 2004. Tanya is also a medical doctor. Taposh and Tanya are proud parents of Marley and Lily and that also makes us their proud grandparents. Swarup was married to Sanjukta (Bonnie) Bhattacharya of Calcutta in May 2007. Australia has been good to us.

He started speaking very slowly after realizing that I was not following his Aussie accent very well.


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