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Holmesglen Hostel
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The uphill battle.

In my first Australian schools at Jordanville and a little later at Carnegie I lost two years. Like the girl Gertruda I don't remember educators taking any notice of the new little dutch boy in the back of class.

In my case I was put there and no further notice was taken. secretly I bought my dutch comic books to class and the new ones send over from the Netherlands by grandmother. Father did say if I wanted to become a Aussie I had to be at least twice as good as them.

How was the little scared dutchboy not talking the lanquage supposed to find out what a Aussie is in the first place? I was withering away.

When we moved to our own home my parent's had build for them in the then Melbourne rural city suburb of Diamond Creek two years later daily life vastly improved. It was here the local primary school headmaster (they were still called headmasters in those days) alerted my parent's I had not learned anything in those first years.

When I asked my parent's about it years later when I was old enough to be able to understand a few things all they could come up with was....to us, our state of mind was such, that schools and teachers were authority to which we entrusted, to these Australians, our children. Understand we had many problems to do with our immigration ourselves, we were not alert enough.

I'm glad to say once enroled in the Diamond Creek primary school (now my third in as many years) placed under the supervision of headmaster Moonie things improved dramatically.

Ten years later at secondary school I made it prefect and was best in class for three consecutive years.

First girlfriend, my own driving licence meaning mobility, one of two of my fathers cars, days at Mornington etc. I now spoke the lingo perfect. Noyone could hear I was not Australian and life was really without a worry. Wonderfull for a young man. I had become more Australian than the Australians and would even have gone to Vietnam to defend what I considered my country even though I was still of dutch nationality thus foreign. Father outright forbade it. "I have seen that film before and no son of mine is going to fight in some asian war."

I had managed to procure a Job at British Petroleum Ltd. head office Australasia Lt. in their engineering department. In their ultra new office building corner Albert and st. Kilda streets. Own office drawing board, new mates. I would catch the green st.Kilda tram opposite the shrine of rememberance (wars of previous years) to under the clocks. In the hot summers in white long shorts and sleeveless shirts like some colonial.

Things had come a long way since those days at Holmsesglen Hostel eating chips with cream and stealing golfbals from the local golfcourse.

But my parents were adament when conscription came and I received my call up papers for the Australian army. "You are not yet an adult, under our guidance, and you are not going to Vietnam. That was that!

I had to leave this best country in the world. This time not as some poor migrant from the continent not speaking the lanquage but in style. Fully paid I would sail with my family through the world on the beautifull luxury liner ss. Fairstar destination Southampton and beyond.

One warm Melbourne night in 1968 standing on deck while the ssFairstar slowly manoeuvered away from station pier, the same place where I had entered Australia but 10 years ago. Waving to a few last friends that came to see us off, to finally see the last lights of port Melbourne disapear we headed further into Port Phillip bay and the rip. The band already playing, eying the aussie girls in their best summer dresses, I went inside.........I would not see Australia again for another 34years.
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kate fletcher
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How sad that you had to leave Australia, especially after you and your family had managed to achieve so much in your adopted country and make such a success of the new life.

Looking back, I canít understand why there was no help given in the Jordanville schools to the children unable to speak English. I think the teachers must have been very unimaginative, but parents in those days never seemed to question what was done in school. They simply assumed that teachers knew best when it came to education, and of course that can be very far from the reality of the situation.

My experience of hostel life and school was very different from yours and Gertrudaís, whose surname Iíve been trying to remember but canít. I had no real problems, being an English speaker, and acquired an impressive amount of knowledge about gold-mining, merino sheep and irrigation: none of which has been of the slightest use to me in later life. I was very happy living on the hostel, which was just as well because we were there over 4 years. However, we werenít the record holders for the longest stay; that honour went to a family who had been there over 10 years when we left. I never lived anywhere else in Australia but Holmesglen Hostel, because my parents and I returned to England in 1962, and thatís when all my education problems started at a very strict and disciplined school that I hated.

I wanted very much to stay in Australia, but my mother learnt that she had a terminal illness and she decided that the family must go home. Not understanding the situation at that time, I pleaded and pleaded that we stay, but aged 12 the decision was not mine, and I think the difficulties I had adapting to life in England were simply because I had become an Australian. However, my parents never really identified with their new country, or ever thought of themselves as anything but English.

It was 25 years before I went back to Australia, and planned to revisit Holmesglen but found that I couldnít face the thought of seeing the inevitable changes, so the place to me remains as it is in my memories.
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes we made it in Australia, each member of the family in his own way. Immigration, I don't need to say is a highly personal thing.

Afterwards (the financial part everything was so concentrated on) father and Mother were forever doubting if with the same effort and their unlimited determination the same could not have been done in their own beloved country, the Netherlands.

In 1958 my parents had five reasons for emigrating to Australia. Ten years later they had five for returning. That crazy Canberra illegal foreigner call up into the Australian Army while everyone could see already in 1967 Vietnam was a lost cause tipped the scales for them.

We have the finances, we never would have liked to have missed this Australian episode in our lives but we want to go back to our own country. And so it was put to us.

.........we very much like to take our two children back also!



"My parents never really identified with their new country, or ever thought of themselves as anything but English"........and so it was the same with my parents.

If you, Kate, had just four or five years to instill some Aussie nationalistic feelings (nationalism can be dangerous) but at aged 12 the decision was not mine, in my case I had 10 years and at nineteen I suppose the decision to stay could have been mine. Probably another year would have crunced it and I would today be amoung the best of you Australians. ( Cronulla: "the beach is ours")

The difference is my parents, although these hostels gave the migrant a start to get his and her bearings, they hated these places.

To my parent's it was inconceivable that they would stay any length of time in such a place..... certainly NOT four years!

It all began in Bonegilla. Arriving by boat on the JVO (Johan van Oldenbarnevelt) at station pier Melbourne we were immediately herded (this is not bad as you have to have some organisation) onto the steam train there and then on the famous port Melbourne wooden station pier destination hostel Bonegegilla near Wodonga.

As the (to my father) dry empty Victorian countryside passed while he looked out of the window he remarked to my Mother this is "de negerij!" translated into English meaning something like this is where the negro's live. Today this name is offensive and I guess you would say this is where the black fella lives. He expressed himself in a racist comment

At the railway stop Seymour there was an incident with the CWA (Country Womans Association) and the train was stoped from continuing to Bonegilla hostel for quite some time.

Bonegilla never had a station but a embankment. A old bus took us and our bagage to a disused WWII army camp. Cold in winter and too hot in summer. From here father hightailed it out of there after only two days (here we will die as a figure of speech comment) Swinging the oil lamp at night on the same Bonegilla railway embarkment to stop the train to Melbourne it must have been one of the fastest turnaround.

Two weeks later we were reunited in Holmesglen hostel.
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kate fletcher
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My parents had very low expectations from life. Unlike your father, they never thought that they had the ability to start their own business because they considered themselves to be factory workers who would stay factory workers. They were both dead long before I was 18, and would have been amazed to see their daughter go to university, as they had assumed that I would leave school at 14 or 15 and then go into a factory or a shop.

We had lived in 3 small rooms in England on the upper floor of a damp house in a dingy backstreet, so 2 slightly larger rooms in a front row Holmesglen Nissen hut was going up in the world for us, especially in a country where the sun shone, so the hostel was not as great a hardship to my family as it must have been for so many others. I think the lack of privacy was the only thing that really bothered my parents: those thin partition walls!

Your go-ahead family was a great loss to Australia, but the fact that everyone knew the Vietnam War was a lost cause probably brought about the conscription that might have driven more families than yours to leave the country. If I remember my history correctly, before 1967 there had never been conscription in Australia because enough men always volunteered to meet Australian military commitments, but the unpopularity of the Vietnam War meant that suddenly there were too few volunteers.

I think your parents would have made a success of their lives, wherever they lived, but Europe took so long to recover fully from the Second World War that emigrating to Australia was a short cut to prosperity. Although my parents didnít benefit much from being Ten Pound Poms, I did in so many ways.
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My parents had high but realistic expectations.

Something told me immediately that you had a higher education. I don't know how but it shone through.

After the ten pound pom scheme was put into practise I think the next countries that benefited from the same scheme were the dutch and Italians.

It meant emigrating to Australia would cost you financially nothing.

Newlyweds are known to have organised a (cheap) honeymoon by simply emigrating.

We also went to Australia for ten pounds or the equivalent of ten pounds and there immediately started the trouble. My parents did have some money but father said "what I have in my pocket is nobody's business." We also got our lugguage paid for. The boat trip was for free. We received so called boarding money. Money to spend on board and what was called landing money, money given to cover the first few months once we landed in Australia.

I remember my Mother coming to the table exclaiming we have also been fully insured for the entire trip without it costing us anything. After reading the conditions she kind of got irritated saying "just for the family crystal glass we are covered to the tune of 500 guilders". 500 guilders was a fortune in those days, like one-two months wages. She trotted off to the kitchen and came back with a drinking glass. It was one of those jam filled glasses you brought at the groceries in those times that once empty doubled up as a drinking glass. Holding it up high she said "that's the only cristall" we have.

They could never figure out which country paid for what. My parents became annoyed "you can get everthing as long as you leave the country" the irony being that as soon as you left someone from some other part of the world would take your place.

The world has seen a huge demographic change.

Australia was contributing to the Vietnam war well before 1967. You are right, Kate, that before this conscription was unknown in the Commonwealth of Australia. My country was not part of that commonwealth.

In 1967 the Australian government started to conscript foreigners. Even this was not on an equal par. I know for instance there was no conscription for boys from Greece, Turks and the boys from Switserland to name but a few countries. Also not all boys were conscripted into the Australian army from one and the same foreign country. If you were the right age but your father was sent to Australia, for example, by the dutch Shell (Geelong had a huge shell instalation) you were not called up. It was reasoned in such a case the boy was only temperarily in Australia which was mostly not the case.



If you know your history Australian boys were used under British command by letting ANZACS be used at Lord Kitchener discretion after naval forces were unsuccessful in the Dardanelles straights. The British botch up war with Turkey at Gallipoli. The only thing that went right was the night these forces left, leaving their dead, and with their tail between their legs. (something to do with Australia progressing to nationhood) Britain had promised the last Czar of Russia that the Dardanelles, entrance to the black sea, would be given to his empire.

Also the Menzies government declared war in 1939 as soon as Britain did and Australians woke up in the morning finding out they were at war with Germany. When Australian territory got invaded and Australia caught by the Japs, the Australians found their active army divisions were in Libya! This was the European theater of the war and completely in the wrong place in the world for Australia's defence.

When the Curtis government could do nothing else but inform Churchill that the Australian forces would be pulled out and shipped back simply in defence of it's own Australia Churchill is known to have category been against and to have swore. Australia was now no longer a force for the exclusive utilization of protecting "Mother England".
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kate fletcher
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had no idea that anything other than the actual voyage was paid for under the Ten Pound scheme, but I suppose I was too young at the time my family emigrated to be aware of the money side. Looking back, it was an incredibly generous scheme, and would have been the only way out of the drabness in post-war austerity Britain for my parents.

My grandmother told me years later that my time in Australia came about because of a fairground fortune-teller who, in the late 1930s, told my six-year-old mother that she would sail around the world on a big white ship one day. My mother never forgot the prediction and, as an adult, she decided that it must mean we were going to emigrate to Australia, the only way she would ever be able to travel around the world. She sent off for some brochures, and then left them around the house for my father to find on a cold and rainy day.

We sailed from Tilbury on the Strathnaver, a very big white ship.

I always assumed that conscription during the time of the Vietnam War was equal for all young men in Australia, but it sounds like a prime example of some being more equal than others.

I think men of the Kitchener and Churchill generation never regarded Australians and New Zealanders as anything but British people who chanced to live on the other side of the world, and therefore the ANZACS were regarded as part of the British Army, rather than the forces of other countries. It was Churchill, with the grand title of First Lord of the Admiralty although heíd never actually been in the Navy, who planned the Gallipoli Campaign during the First World War. The appropriately named Fisher, First Sea Lord, was against it, but the politicians prevailed.
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In 1958 my parents, before "leaving to our new homeland," even received coupons from the dutch state so they could purchase, without cost, the new suitcases needed for the migration.

I don't know the situation for the United Kingdom.

Today the Netherlands must be one of the most secular countries in the world. However in 1958 dutch society still adhered to somewhat strict religious beliefs and guidelines. These beliefs and guidelines played a dominant role in daily life. The two dominant religions being protestant and catholicism.

After the mediterranean islands of Malta the Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe. In the fifties specialy catholism meant big families were produced. The question now became could the netherlands absorb her ever increasing population.

A dutch government study after WWII showed, due to this large increase of the so called boom babies, that the Netherlands would have a population of sixteen million by 1980. Like Malta (British till 1964 and a British liability) incentives were given to it's people to leave and Australia amoung others wanted them.

In the case of overpopulated mediterranean catholic Malta (a British base where it's citizens opted to become part of Britain with representation in parliament much like Northern Ireland) Britian used funds from her Marshall Plan aid to pay for transport for these "types"of British.

Today the Netherlands has a population just over sixteen million. The only development that happened numberwise is a demographic social change much like in the UK. It's population has not decreased but diversefied. Even for citizens of Malta, the ultra-orthodox catholics, things are changing. (The people that emigrated were simply replaced by people immigrating)

Malta today has the highest influx (per head of her population) of African and other (irregular) migrants in Europe!


Adding to the unequal call up mess in 1964 Australia adopted a system based on the balot. This was a kind of lottery where some boys had to go while others did not. I was unlucky and drawn so was conscripted.

For Australian foreigners conscripted for national service into the Australian forces was as from 1967. I was now nineteen. ("If you live in a country you have to fight for it" was the going slogan. Fact=Not for every boy ofcourse)

Australia became independent in 1901. That means she placed her Australian ANZAC troops under British command at that Turkish cove in 1915..... fourteen years AFTER her independence!

Fisher and Churchill were also called the odd couple.
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Robert (Bob) Taylor
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Aussienomore, I'm intrigued with your knowledge of past and present.
I'm also somewhat gobsmacked at the generosity extended by the Dutch authorities re the handouts to set you on your families way. My parents are both deceased now and I would have liked to have double checked... But I'm pretty certain apart from a virtual no cost passage to Aus there were no side offers or help... Maybe some of the other regular correspondents can remember or check whether the British contingents were so well looked after?
You with your knowledege and intelligence you sound like a huge loss to this end of the World have you considered coming back and re establishing yourself/s?. Do you care to tell us what type of work you do,or did in your career?
Cheers Bob.
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GinaKate
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We didn't get any extras, but we didn't expect any, for those of us who came by ship it was the holiday package of a lifetime. However we were brought abruptly back to reality on entering the hostel. Tariff had to be paid from day one, for those with no savings and no job, payments could be put on hold, but outstanding tariff had to be paid off eventually.

Just quietly aussienomore, I think your dad did the right thing by protecting you from the Vietnam war, not many of the vets came back unscathed. Pitty your family didn't find their way back though. Australia withdrew in 1973, our hostel at Dundas was one of those used when they brought the boys home and discharged them.
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert

Last edited by aussienomore on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't be gobsacked Robert. This knowledge is not exceptional. Came after a life time of questions and wondering. Visiting hundreds of places and being interested in how things really came and come about.

To take the time for the first piece of the puzzle and to find the next untill so many fit the true (whole) picture appears. less to do with intelligence than you think. For a part it is empirical.



When I went to my Melbourne Victorian schools more than fifty years ago it was simple. The first fleet was full of convicts (see Dorothy Handland) and Australia was discovered by Captain Cook. (see not a captain)

Like the American people learn that America was discovered by Christopher Columbus (see Santo Domingo) and that afterwards the indignious people of this continent, he did not discover, would be called Indians? That the pilgrim fathers sailed from Plymouth (see Delfshaven) and feasted by dining on big turkeys after making it one year. Hence today the whole population is embroiled in thanksgiving. (see black friday and the pardoning of the turkey by consecutive presidents.)

For those that want to know the truth it is quite different...... intelligence can come later.

Robert I do not consider coming back or re establishing myself.
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ginakate,

During the war the Netherlands was extensively bombed and ruined both by the nazis, British and Americans. I know of at least five cities bombed to smitherines.



My own city of Den Haag (the Hague) was bombed in March 1945 by bomber command without one single nazi being killed. The wrong side of the city was destroyed. It was how I lost my grandfather.....a direct hit at the place where he worked.

Maybe the Netherlands, in the fifties wanted to do more financially wise to release her of her population pressure. It was in a sorry state and Australia could function as a kind of safety valve.

Mass emmigration stopped for dutch citizens in the early sixties as my country fully recovered (like Germany) and became prosperous. One of the six founding members of the European Union she is today a financially contributing member, not a receiving member.


What I want to say is that when I (as foreigner, "if you want to live in a country you have to fight for it" ) was called up by Canberra my parents knew what war was like simply because they had experianced it themselves. My father told me "I have seen this film before".

I had not.... with the call up to arms I was prepared to fight for Australia.

My parents could not believe it. After their initial shock started to tell me about the consequences this Asian war could have on me. Will you come back? in what state will you come back? how will the Australian authorities treat you afterwards? (after all I was a foreigner....none of the family even had the right to vote in this Commonwealth)

I had no message for this. I felt myself Australian and if needed I was going to fight for Australia. Then they played it hard. You are a minor, under our responsibility, you are not going into the Australian army full stop!

"It's time to go back and we like our sons to go with us". We will pay for everything, take a trip to the other side of the world, see things, see the family and then came the crunch, "if you don't like the Netherlands you can always go back, we ourselves did not stay home because of the family.

And that's how it happened. In 1968 on a cool summer night, after the heat, I boarded the ssFairstar leaving at station pier. I saw the lights of Melbourne slowly disapear never to see them again for another 34 years. I left with my wonderful parent's back to the country of my nationality and never got to fight a war for my beloved Australia.
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's happening?

I would still like to hear something about the dutch woman named Kors! she grew up, I now understand in Melbourne Boronia,.....she let herself be known on this site.

Father employed her father in his company a number of years painting houses in those always endless growing Melbourne suburbs. This was not easy.

Her Mother I met, as a child, in the nissan hut's in Holmesglen hostel in 1958.
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kate fletcher
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try sending dvsineke a private message.
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aussienomore
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kate I have send a private message. Probably as simple as that. I look at those photographs and the more I start to remember about Holmesglen.

As you turn left on Warrigal road towards the train viaduct there was a ice cream and/or Bayer asprin factory. I remember a lot of migrants were trying to get a job at these places. For the ice cream factory it was sticking sticks in the ice creams on a moving assembly line.

Just past that viaduct there was a toy shop. In 1958, while at Holmesglen, my Mother bought me a profesional looking silver revolver toy gun because I was so sad and did not seem to find my way or bearings. I wanted to go home to grandma. In those days we played cowboys and Indians copying TV series like the lone ranger and Law man etc. With this magnificent toy revolver, it had real toy bullets in the revolving section, I was the envy of the other children at the hostel.

My father was against, I think my Mother also. Father hated everything to do with uniforms and guns be it toys or for real after his experiances during WWII. As it happened I got a real .22 repeating rifle when I was sixteen and used to do a lot of hunting including shooting roo's. Everything was possible in Australia in those days. Today I'm ashamed of it. Anyway it's what, as a child, I wanted and Mother prevailed and bought the revolver for me in that toy shop in those first weeks next or near the Warrigal train viaduct. I must have felt insecure. This was my very first Australian toy.

On board ship (it took five weeks and four days to reach Melbourne by sea on the way at Aden picking up the survivors of the migrant ship ss Skaubrun. It had caught fire on the Indian ocean and sunk) there were information sessions on board. My parents had been told at these information gatherings that after half a year in the new homeland they would not be able to understand their own children. These would now have picked up the english lanquage much faster than their parents. In my case it was not to be.

I remember Mother warning father when he was called on yet another of those so called employment interveiws, right there on board ship. "don't let them send you to those Wollongong coal mines or to the Newcastle steel factories".

Mother always saw through things, got the grit faster than father.
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