Saturday, July 17, 2010

SS New Australia and going home......

In 1951, my mother and her family migrated to Australia. They travelled 4 weeks and 4 days and arrived in Sydney onboard the SS New Australia; a re-purposed war ship formerly known as the Monarch of Bermuda. My grandfather recognised the ship as the one that transported him during WW2 to the Middle East.

The family doctor recommended the move to Australia for health reasons....during this period the government was also promoting a large scale immigration policy advertising Australia as the 'Land of milk and honey'.

My grandfather wished to be sent to Queensland but because of his trade (a motor mechanic) the family was relocated to Goulburn. They only spent a short time there when a mechanics position arose at a saw mill just outside Braidwood, NSW.

They moved from Reddish, England, to the Australia bush...and I do mean bush. They lived in a very small community of no more that a dozen houses in Monga. They were without electricity or running water, they read by candlelight and had an outdoor tin loo that had to be emptied everyday by my grandfather. Now the homes and saw mill are long gone and the area is a National Park.

They had never in their lives seen mosquito wrigglers in their water or blowflys that left little surprises on their meat. They saw huge goanna's in the tree, yabbies in the creeks and red belly black snakes everywhere, and heard the strange cries of the Lyrebird. After 6 months they moved into town the of Braidwood.

During their voyage my mothers family befriended a Scottish family who also settled in the area, the Downie's. Mr Downie and my grandfather went into partnership and established D&S Motors that also served as the local NRMA garage. During this time my grandmother ran a local milk bar. My grandfather died in 1957, my mother was aged 17. The D&S Motors is still running today under different ownership, the milk bar closed its doors in the early '60s.

My grandmother gave most of their possessions away as it was recommended not to bring anything because it was 'all waiting for you'.
Their belongings were brought out in 2 tea chests, similar to the Bushell's one in the earlier post. One held books, the other held the family china all of which was smashed on the trip over even though it was marked fragile.

In September 2011 my mum will be going back home for the first time in 60 years....


the old boathouse said...

Wow, what a great family history, and how lovely for your mum to be heading back for a visit, she must be very excited, cheers katherine

bellaboo said...

Thanks for stoppping by.I've enjoyed reading about your family's history.What a sad tale about the china!I wonder how much it will have changed and what she will remember when she returns next year.

Bellaboo :0)

vintage mum said...

I really enjoyed reading your story your mum must be so excited.
What caught my eye was Reddish, is this in Stockport Cheshire ? if so we know it well.
Your grandparents must have been made of tough stuff, so sad about their possesions.

cate x

vintage mum said...

just read my comments :) where abouts in Stockport did you mum live.
Cate x

vintage mum said...

you must think I'm mad I have a head like a sieve, I meant to say the sweet your mother refers to is an Eccles cake its flaky pastry stuffed with currants it's from Eccles in Lancashire


Gracie's Cottage said...

What interesting family history you have; it's great that your Mom will be going "home".

Thanks for stopping by my blog...great to 'meet you'!