Emigrating from your Homeland
THE LAND OF MY DREAMS
Time moved forward with the speed of a snail, and days took on the cloak of years and it felt like eternity as we floated on an endless churning ocean. Sea birds, flying fish, and the occasional dolphin were the only sign of life in that timeless place.
On board the ship the throb of the engine was like a pulsating heart, which became part of our lives and we accepted each beat like babes in uterus.
A family such as our own with young children crying, yelling and clambering for attention actually had the advantage over those that paced the decks alone. To break the tedium many passengers would sit at the bar from the minute it opened to the minute it closed, or play on-board games of croquet. Nevertheless, it was not easy having a family of three children to keep amused and in control.
Such was the challenge, that at times one of us would break off to be alone for a while. My escape was to sit quietly at the front of the ship watching the waves constantly crashing against the bow, or viewing repeats of old movies in a tiny on-board theatre.
One wonders what urge propels a young family to uproot their connections with those near and dear to them just to pursue a dream.
We had decided we would immigrate to the lucky country’, although the process had been long and arduous and money had been hard to save, especially with three small children to feed and clothe. In fact, for all our saving, when we arrived in Australia we only had a measly sum of six dollars!
We had been sponsored by the Australian timbers industry, which in turn was subsidized by the government and they assured us that furnished accommodation would be waiting for us when we arrived at our destination. Plus our trip would only cost us a nominal ten-pound payment, which from our point of view was a great opportunity. What could be more exciting than that to a small family who were living in a tiny caravan at the time?
So on the, 11 day of March 1966 we began a journey to a new exciting life.
When the ship berthed at its first port in Australia a deathly silence ensued. It felt as though the ship had died. No pulsations from the giant’s heart remained to sooth the nerves, no more did it heave to and fro’ tossing the little people about on its huge frame. No more did screams of fear or laughter emanate from within its mighty body. Indeed there was a disturbing nothingness!
With our family trailing behind us we signed the paperwork needed to alight in our first Australian city, called Fremantle in Western Australia. Once the ship had unloaded people and cargo, we would return to the ship to make the final trip to South Australia, which was about 1,100 kilometers away.
When we finally stood on Australian soil in our new country it felt like magic, as to come to Australia had been my dream since I was a young girl of nine and now here I was at last, standing in the very land of my dreams.