New Farm Park, Brisbane

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

OVER THE OCEAN TO A NEW LIFE

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.

30 comments:

  1. Hah ... love the paint drop-sheet for the haircut.

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  2. We did not see Pompeii but went to Herculaneum which is a bit smaller. It is also amazing and well worth a visit if you should ever go that way again. As for the equator, when we crossed it on four wheels we were in the mountains and all wrapped up in fur coats! I seem to be going through a spell in 'my life' when there was few photos taken, you are lucky you have so many though I cannot really complain I have a lot. Take care t'other Diane

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  3. You could write a book about that journey alone. I cannot imagine travelling that distance by sea. Oh my poor stomach.

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  4. What a long and fun trip! I can see that Perth was very different in the 1970's from what it is now! No high rises in what is now South Perth (left of the photo).

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  5. So nice to read about the journey, it must have been a romantic way to sail slowly to a new future and see all the different countries. I wonder if there are still ships sailing for imigrations now. Most people are flying now.

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  6. Hi Diane, I always love reading "Your Story"! Did you have "Indian" when in Durban? The best curry dishes ever, come from Durban. Yes, I grew up with Whites only/Slegs Blankes signs all over South Africa. Wasn't nice! Have a great day. Jo

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  7. Had fun reading this latest adventure Diane. You have had some great ones.

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  8. Hello Diane, what a great story of your time on the ship. I often think of the immigrants arriving here in the states after crossing the Atlantic. The photos were awesome, great memories. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

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  9. I like all the pics and that was quite a ship you were on. My favorite shot is the family photo with the hats and you in Pompei.. uck on the urinals

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  10. Oh I enjoy your stories so much. What an adventurous exciting life you both have had. Hug B

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  11. It is interesting that many were migrating to Australia from Italy and Yugoslavia in 1970. That must have seemed a very long sea journey for you, but you did get to see some sights along the way. I enjoy hearing about your very interesting life.

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  12. You must be enjoying the memories as you relive your life through your collection of photos. I'm sure you must have been so happy to be home! Looking forward to the next installment.

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  13. wow you experienced a great cruise... Lovely to see Europe in 1970s

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  14. It sounds like three days were added to your trip because of strikes. I wonder what year or if there was a cause to stop streamers being thrown at departing ships. I guess there was a lull in passenger ships for a few decades.

    Well, indeed where to next.

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  15. It sounds as if you had a very interesting trip, with the strikes making the cruise even longer than normal. Getting home to Australia was a perfect Christmas present.

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  16. It's wonderful reading more of your story...such adventures! Love all the photos.

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  17. What a wonderful time and memories you both have.
    Love the toilet paper hat, and TOH's coke hat, which seems fitting seeing as some hats have cork screws to keep the flies away.

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  18. Wonderful memories and photos from your very long journey back to Australia, Diane. I wonder why you and Bill did not fly back? Your parents must have been so happy yo know you were returning to be near them.
    I visited Pompeii in the early 70's and also found it very interesting. I've heard it has been excavated even more and has a new museum. Naples has always a poor area in Italy but the Almalfi Coast douth of Napes is so beautiful.

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    1. The reason, we did not fly home was because we had bought a brand-new car in England we wanted to bring back to Australia, so going by sea was the only option. As it was either the shipping line or Sydney Harbour lost our car upon arrival in Sydney. They found it eventually after Christmas.

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  19. Wow what an interesting trip back ! I have spent 6 weeks in Messina with my "fiancée" in his family and know Sicily quite well. At that time it was 1964 it was still ruled by the Mafia, only I didn't know ! Italy has changed a lot of course ever since. We stopped in Catania in 2006 when we made a cruise through the mediterranian sea.
    You did well to go back to Australia !

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  20. Your trip out to Australia was very much like mine when we emigrated to Africa, I remember being terrified of the rickshaw boys in Durban :) and the King Neptune ceremony crossing the Equator! Love that you have the photos to go with the memories Diane.

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  21. I have never taken a ship anywhere, so reading about this journey and seeing the photos was fascinating. You have a remarkable recall of these events, Diane. It must have been quite the adventure...one of so many.

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  22. So how long did it take to get here via ship?
    What an adventure you have had, such and interesting life

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  23. That was quite an adventure! Worker strikes and a lost car don't sound fun, but the rest does!

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  24. Travelling the slow way seems so luxurious these days.

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  25. how exciting to read about your adventurous journey ,i love travelling but through sea ? never thought about it ,but your post reduced my fear for sea ,thank you for such pleasant sharing

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  26. Such an amazing adventure. Absolutely love reading about all the places you have been and things you have done. Great post

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  27. You have such a great memory for details -- I'm sure the pictures help some, but still it's wonderful how much you remember.

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  28. Such amazing adventures you have had. Love how you have all of your photos in order. Mine from that era are??????. Best to you

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