Best thing that could happen

IN 1948, my husband, who was four years old, and his parents arrived in Melbourne on a migrant boat.

They had fled from the Ukraine during the war and had lived for several years in a German displaced persons’ camp before being offered the opportunity to migrate to Australia.

After due processing, my father-in-law was sent to Nanango to become a planter with the Benarkin Forestry and subsequently ended up working as a fettler on the railways.

My husband’s early childhood years were spent in railway tents by the side of the rail line in Brisbane before his parents saved up enough money to buy their first house.

I landed in Fremantle 29 years later in December 1977, arriving as an assisted migrant – a “£10 Pom”– travelling on a Greek liner from Southampton.

I was sent straight to Maryborough by the Department of Guidance and Education to be the only speech therapist in a radius of about 500km. I moved straight into a house and well-paying job.

I intended to stay only a year – 32 years later I am still here.

My husband and I share a very different migration experience and yet we both agree that coming to Australia and becoming part of the history of this land was the most wonderful decision that could have been made.

I never want to take for granted this country’s freedom, its beauty, its fearful character and temperament.

As two “foreigners” who have found such fulfilment and purpose in Australia, we want to see that same opportunity offered to all who seek it, regardless of which country, racial or ethnic group they come from, as long as their primary commitment is to Australia and other fellow Australians.


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