Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Continuing My Story

Our trial run at making a new life in Switzerland in 1970 had come to an end. We decided that getting jobs, buying a house and starting a family would be easier in Australia. As we wanted to take our new car back to Australia, we boarded the Marconi ship in Genoa and with a ship load of Italian and Yugoslavian migrants we sailed for Australia.

After being held up in Genoa due to a strike by the crew, we eventually arrived in Naples. 

I had always had romantic ideas about Naples after I had an Italian boyfriend from Naples when I was at college. I had acquired a taste for the food and music. 

In the morning we went for a walk through the streets It was a bit off-putting to see public urinals in the open, just a hole in a wall. 

In the afternoon there was an organised tour of Pompeii. We didn't expect this so it was a nice surprise. It was interesting seeing how the town had been built. The wall murals were also very interesting from so long ago. The museum was amazing. There were  mummified bodies still in the position that they were when the molten lava covered them. With more Italian migrants aboard we set sail.

 We sailed through the night and docked in Messina in the morning. 

By now we had made friends on the ship with two swiss families. We enjoyed sight seeing Medina with Rene and Silvia. More Italian migrants boarded.

 One evening there was a fancy hat competition. I draped over my head a whole lot of toilet tissue segments stapled together diagonally.

Bill had a Coco Cola box with coke cans hanging from it.

Ship board life was relaxing and fun until some drunken louts threw some deck chairs overboard then there was struggle to find one to lounge in. Our next stop was supposed to be Las Palmas in the Canary Islands but due to the crew strike putting us a day behind we sailed right past and onto Durban. We had to sail around Africa because the Suez Canal was closed. It was blocked with sunken ships left over from the Middle East war.

 We enjoyed the Equator Crossing ceremony and it brought back memories of when I was a child migrating to Australia. People were covered with milk, spaghetti, flour and raw eggs and then thrown in the pool.
 After about 12 days we finally docked in Durban. We were keen to feel our land legs again and have a restaurant meal for a change from the usual ship food.

 We went exploring with new found friends, Silvia, Rene, Ueli and Janet from Switzerland. They were migrating to Australia. Bill enjoyed teaching them how to "shout a beer" Aussie style. I helped them learn English. We felt uncomfortable complying with the apartheid signs  "Bank for Thirteen Taxis Whites." Then it was back on the ship for another week of nothing but oeean We played deck sports and relaxed with friends.
I was excited to see Australia come into sight. It is always a great feeling to come "home". We landed in Fremantle and caught a Taxi to Perth. We helped our Swiss friends learn some Aussie ways and Bill helped one guy find accommodation and a job.

Then it was on to Melbourne. The ship did a bit of rocking and rolling across the bight but we were used to it by now. The crew went on strike again so we had an extra day in Melbourne sight seeing. When we left for Sydney the streamers came out.

Finally we reached Sydney our destination for a while. My parents and brother's family met us when we disembarked. I must have been too excited to take photos as I can't find any.

It was the 24 December 1970 when we arrived so in two days time we were celebrating Christmas with my whole family. My brother's family were home from Papua New Guinea too.

My dad giving Bill a much needed haircut after a month on the ship. We rang the Port Authority to see when we could pick up our car. After days of ringing we were told the car was not there and could still be on board the ship on its way to Fiji. Needless to say this was a bit disconcerting. However, my dad had a contact on the wharf and  within a few days the car had been found and we could collect it.
It was great to be home but where to now?
This post was updated after reading the comments.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


New South Wales
Tasmania  (borrowed from the web)
South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Continuing My Story

When we were living in Switzerland in 1970, we drove to England to visit where I was born and where I lived. When it was time to return to Switzerland we booked the car onto a Bristol aeroplane from Lydd to Le Torquet. Bill wasn't taking any chances of me throwing up on the Channel Ferry again. It was a bumpy flight as we were very low but it only took 20 mins.There were 3 cars and five passengers. They were all Swiss. One of them offered to show us a quick way through Paris. So we followed him and we kept driving all day, only stopping for lunch and tea. On the border of France and Switzerland it was snowing. I was excited to see snow again after such a long time, but it was difficult to drive in it. However, we arrived home in Thun near Bern at 10:00pm.
The snow was covering the mountains around Bill's town and they looked awesome
We drove up to Beatenberg where the snow was deeper than in town. I was laughing at the snow on the bench.I had fun playing in the snow and throwing it at Bill, who was bemused at my excitement. He was more concerned about us being able to drive through the Alps to get to Italy and the ship to take us back to Australia.

We had another month in Switzerland. Bill went back to work. He had been given a casual job before we went to England. I went shopping with my in-laws for warm clothes.We did a lot of last minute sight seeing and saying goodbyes to friends and relatives.

Soon the sad day came when we must say goodbye to Mutter and Vater. It was hard for them as Bill is their only child and he was going to live in Australia on the other side of the world.

With the car packed to the roof with our newly acquired belongings we set of for Kanderstag in the mountains where we were putting the car on a train to go through the Alps to  Domodossola in northern Italy. We didn't have chains and only summer tyres because we knew we weren't staying so we were worried about making it up to the station.

I heaved a sigh of relief when the station came into view. I was also struck by the beauty of the snow/ice in the trees. 

We drove the car onto the train and opted to stay in the car as Bill was concerned about getting our gear stolen in Italy.  It wasn't a good move as we nearly froze because we couldn't turn the engine on.We both snuggled under my Kangaroo fur coat but still shivered all the way.

We drove to Genoa staying overnight in Domodossola on the way. I remember trucks trundling past our window all night. It was much warmer though. Bill was worried about someone breaking into the car.We were a day early for the ship departure so we stayed in a hotel .

We were excited when we saw the Marconi at the dock. We found our trunk we had sent ahead and got it and the car loaded onto the ship. After a long wait we finally got on board and found our cabin. However, we were informed that we were not sailing for another 24 hours due to a strike. So with some other Aussie and Swiss passengers we walked into town and had a meal.The next morning we did the same for breakfast and we spent the day walking and walking around Genoa. The next day we set sail for sunny Australia.