St.Margaret's News August 2021 - Page 6

Brian ’ s

Mum was one of the London mothers who were evacuated to give birth during the war . As a result , I was actually born in a castle in Derbyshire . But then straight afterwards , my mum and I were sent back to London to be there through all the bombings .
In 1949 , my dad ’ s favourite sister and her family migrated to Australia , and as we farewelled them from the docks , there were a lot of tears being shed . So , on the spur of the moment , my father said , ‘ Oh , don ' t worry , we ' ll come and join you !’
My Aunty Mary didn ' t let him forget that , and indeed the moment she arrived , she organised for them to be sponsored over too . And the next year , we were off . At that time my parents were in their 30s , I was 8 and my brother 7 .
The journey took us five weeks by sea . I mostly remember being violently ill , as were my father and my brother !
When we arrived , our relatives met us at the dock , and drove us to a property a couple of hundred miles from Melbourne in the Western Districts of Victoria , which was by far the longest distance I had ever travelled by land .
In London , my dad had been a driver of double-decker buses and mum was a conductress . But when we arrived , Dad was made a farmhand and was almost immediately sent out riding a horse for the first time in his life , checking the boundaries and repairing fences on his own for three days ! And Mum was made the homestead cook and cleaner , which she took to very quickly .
My aunt and uncle also came to work at this property , to be near us . As a result , I ' m very close to my cousins , because we played together for years . There were about 10 workers ’ children in total , and I remember we all used to play cricket together , with a tennis ball , barefooted in the dust .
It was very different to the life I was used to . In London , we had lived in a high-density area sharing a three-storey house with a family on each floor . And as Mum was one of 15 children and Dad one of 9 , we had a huge extended family . When we left , my parents had assumed they ’ d never see their families again .
St Margaret ’ s News 6 August 2021