Western Australia is much better off having absorbed many thousands of families escaping the horrors of war or seeking a better life. From market gardens to fishing and stone masonry, the influx of hard working folks built a better state.
My old man was working on the wharf at Fremantle as a Customs Officer when a boatload of Europeans arrived, turned out to be Italians he told me.
A gentleman from Sicily approached Dad and said ”Ciao, I have a leaflet which says WOGs must present themselves upon arrival to Fremantle railway station before being bused to their accommodations. What is this WOGs Sir” It means Welcome Our Guests.”
The man shook Dad’s hand with great gusto exclaiming “ciao grazie buona giornata a rivederti’ and bounded off to be with his young family as they took their first steps towards a new life Down under.
The following comments were made on a previous post and one can only imagine how it must have felt arriving in a new country full of energy ready for a fresh start.
Maureen Thomas Squires – We were given iron beds for the kids & a let down sofa for mum & dad. There was a small table & some chairs, basic bedding, wardrobe & drawers. Everything else mum & dad bought, including electric jug, ‘fridge & radio! (No tv!) It was a roof over our heads & dad paid board from his weekly wage….
Anita Stewart – We were there in 1972,my brother Micky played for the Graylands football team it was like landing in an alien state, we came from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, my mum worked in the kindergarten also.
Patricia Mann – We arrived in Fremantle June 1956 went to Graylands Hostel for 2 years , my dad drove the Nullabour in 1958 to get a job at the Adelaide steam ship Co.
We then followed by train , we came on the SS Orontes my mum and dad were Len and Gwen Thomas My sister was Lynda and I am Patricia.
Carol Webster – The first night we arrived there it was pouring with rain, my mum looked out the window and saw there were fly screens on the window and told my dad that there were bars on the windows and we were locked in!! My mum, dad, brother & I were there in 1970 but we lived in the new brick ones. I was 10 then and still have the fondest memories of that time. Hearing the Claremont Speedway every Friday night, buying a twin pole at the shop and breaking it in half, the hostel lunches to take to school in the brown paper bags, going to the canteen with a bucket with your cups and cutlery in it.
Jennifer Pettet – Sailed in on Fairsky in Dec 67 Mum, Dad and lil Bro. Were lucky to be in the new brick flats. But remember the buckets of cutlery and laundry days. No fans, air con, tv etc. Moved after 6 months to Jolimont in a rented house owned by Wentworths/Winterbottoms where Dad worked. Swanbourne High School and the Speedway – love that smell!
One story I do recall being told to me was a young Italian wanting to make his own way was given several apples, some oranges, grapes, cabbage, cauliflower etc and he found a vacant shopfront and set up there. He returned to the same grocer who loaned his the fruit & vegetables paying for what he borrowed and within days was pocketing a few bob which he saved so he could bring his family out from Italy also. I have so much respect for Italians and Europeans who came to our wonderful state and made their mark and improved our lives in the process so thank you!
Whether your mob landed at Graylands, Wexcombe, Noalimba, Dunreath House or another, everybody would love to read your comments.
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