Western Australia

After 26 days at sea the coast of Western Australia appeared on the horizon. Soon the the ship’s rail was crowded with  passengers keen to catch a glimpse of their new homeland.                                             The Stratheden arrived at Fremantle at midday on 21st February 1963. I was surprised at the difference between the Middlesbrough docks and the Fremantle docks. At home, the wharves were very old, with years of industrial grime ground into the timbers and concrete surfaces. Here everything looked comparatively new and clean.

After disembarking, we were led to a battered old school bus with wooden seats which took us to our first home in Australia – Point Walter Migrant Hostel. The Hostel was an old army camp situated amongst the gum and ti-tree, close to the bank of the Swan River. The close proximity of the water and the bush was an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. As none of the windows or doors were fitted with screens, the evenings were less than comfortable. Most of the buildings were timber or corrugated iron huts, set out in typical army style, with a mess hall at one end of the old parade ground.

Larger families were allocated three rooms in the larger huts. I was shown to Hut 56 which contained four beds, two chairs and a small wardrobe. Three of the beds were occupied and on the remaining bed I found two sheets, two blankets and a towel, boldly imprinted in red with the words ‘Western Australian Government’.

Point Walter Migrant Hostel, WA – 25th February 1963

After depositing my belongings onto the bed, I headed for the main office to organize an interview with an employment officer. It was a truly eventful day, and I was completely exhausted so I turned in pretty early that first night. I slept like a log, despite the swarms of mosquitoes that buzzed around the room.

Awake at six thirty the next morning, I quickly dressed and went for a tour of my new home. I discovered a well-worn track through trees that led to Point Walter beach.

Next: 2007 – WA trip

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