St.Margaret's News August 2021 - Page 7

migration story

In those days , there wasn ' t even a telephone system . They had to rely on airmail for news , which took weeks to arrive . I still have a memory of coming home from school one day and finding mum crying , which I ’ d never seen before . She ' d just received a letter telling her that her mother had died . But by the time she got the news , it was six weeks after the death .
I was initially put into grade 4 . After lunch , they moved me to grade 5 . Then a day later , they moved me to grade 6 . And in fact , I was , I was dux of the school in grade 6 , at the age of 10 .
Unfortunately , I was also picked on . Firstly , some kids resented me because they thought I was a smartass . Secondly , I was extremely short . And finally I was a pommy with pale skin !
My family moved around a bit , as my parents worked on a few different properties , but we ended up in Goulburn when they decided it would be good for us kids to settle down . Luckily , we were provided with a brand-new housing commission home there , the first new house we had ever lived in . Dad became a postman , amongst many other jobs , whilst Mum cared for our young Australian -born sister .
I went on to work in the public service in Canberra for many years , and was later awarded an OAM for my volunteer and church work . Although I ’ m now retired , I still do a bit of casual work as a photography reviewer for the Canberra Times .
Neither of my parents ever had any regrets about coming here . In the end , Mum went back to the UK 3 times , and Dad only once . Mum , incidentally , was the last of the 15 in her family to die .
When my then wife and I were around the age my parents had been when they left London , with children much the same age , we were one day sitting on a beach , and I remember looking at the sea and thinking to myself , ‘ My God , how brave were my parents migrating with us to the other side of the world at this time of their lives .’ I really don ' t think I would have had the guts , especially without the kind of communication tools we have these days .
But they just wanted to give my brother and I a better future , for which I ’ m very grateful .
Brian , UK Arrived 1950
St Margaret ’ s News 7 August 2021