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Hostels were used to accommodate new Australians. 1950's-1970's
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My Introduction to Australia

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Phyl Phyl has been starred
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Joined: 05 Jan 2007

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Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:49 am    Post subject: My Introduction to Australia Reply with quote

Hi Len ,Just a Memory or Two.

My Australian Introduction.

I left New Zealand in October 1954 on the 'S.S. Monowai' bound for Sydney Australia. With me was my 8 month old son. My husband Tony was already in Sydney,having just finished a Managerial Course in Commonwealth Hostels Ltd.I had prayed he would fail the course, as I didn't want to leave my close family in New Zealand.But this was not to be and Tony had stated we would only stay in Australia for 2 years. Ha Ha Laughing .We stayed in CHL for 18 and a half years. Anyway my parents drove me to the inter-island which was to take me to Wellington from where the 'S.S. Monowai' disembarked. Dad said "Go aboard and don't look back" cry
After three and a half days of sea sickness and tending to the needs of my little son on board,we arrived on a hot and muggy day in Sydney. There was a strike on the dock and we had to wait and wait and wait for our luggage,. By the time it arrived the customs pushed us through as my baby was crying and I was tired and dare I say it a little irritable.My husband got us into a taxi .The driver was very friendly and took us for a tiki tour before dropping us at our first hostel,Heathcote Road. I had never ever seen anything like this in my life (21yrs). The ground was dry and the Nissen huts shimmered in the sun. The house (nissen) was boiling hot and I burst into tears. I just wanted to go home !!!!! cry
However the Manager in Charge , the late Mr. Tom Brooke arrived at our door ,his wife had made us a meal. How grateful I was and those two ,with their son, remained our friends for many years.It was close to Christmas and we went to the Staff Christmas party . Our son was with us and the staff were very friendly. Smile
A small scorpion,tailed curled, introduced himself in those early days. He was safely removed with the promise he wouldn't be harmed.Don't know what sex it was just calling him "he"It was my first taste of Australian wildlife,the second being the blue tongued lizard at Villawood.
Homesickness was very strong,but the people ,staff and Manager were kind and that was helpful.We were given a little fox terrier and it was with me all the time and loved my little son. One day my husband with 'Joey' sitting beside him was talking to some folk when a car came down from the office and hit our little dog and killed it.Took me a while to recover from that cry and then early 1955 we got a little Kelpie puppy we called "Kelpie" who was with us for fifteen and a half years.
The floors in our house were kept polished ,by me , with a mahogany coloured polish and my baby got into it one day What a mess polish all over him and everything else too . That's life I guess and I do have a laugh now over that polish episode. Smile
So that was my introduction to Australia and hostels, so I understood how many women were miserable and homesick in those early days.

Kind regards,
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Location: Great Harwood, Blackburn. UK

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that Phyl very interesting. Got to admit, the site of a load of nissen huts spread out over a large area did seem strange to say the least. Fairymeadow hostel sticks in my memory, donít know why, perhaps it was because the nissen huts were built on flat land apposed to being built on sides of hills and they seamed everywhere.
Unanderra hostel originally had nissen huts and later on had eight apartment blocks added. Around 1968/ 69 the Nissen huts at Unanderra and Berkeley were demolished.
I think we did well being placed in the new blocks rather than the nissen huts, must have got the timing just right.

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Joined: 03 Dec 2009

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:45 am    Post subject: I love these stories Reply with quote

Just to let you know that it wasn't only the women who were miserable. Apparently, when my Dad saw the living conditions he want to Jump back on the boat and back to England. I was 3yo, I am now 47 and I thank God that my mum made him stick it out.
My name is David O'Neill, from England and I was at Bradfield Park Hostel from 1966 to 1969, I was 3yo when I arrived.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think anyone would have been too excited about the living conditions!! We got used to it eventually....both parents worked so we could move off the hostel relatively quickly. Lucky we had some nice, friendly neighbours, which made it seem a little brighter. Smile
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kate fletcher
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was the friendliness of neighbours that made our years at Holmesglen a pleasure to recall, despite the rather basic conditions.
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