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My journey to Australia

Updated on March 16, 2020

My journey from Italy to Australia

I left Italy my native country and migrated to Australia and what I am trying to show here is my journey on this ship called the Sydney
I left Italy my native country and migrated to Australia and what I am trying to show here is my journey on this ship called the Sydney | Source
On the way to Australia, we the migrants were thinking about Australia the far away land that soon would be our home and I would say to myself, Australia here I come dreaming for a better way of life for myself and those that would follow after me.
On the way to Australia, we the migrants were thinking about Australia the far away land that soon would be our home and I would say to myself, Australia here I come dreaming for a better way of life for myself and those that would follow after me. | Source

Migrating to Australia

Welcome to our article (29), Going to Australia

This is the story of my life; in this article, we are going to tell you how I felt and what I did on the ship during my voyage to Australia. Then if you follow my writings you will find that I have worked in the building industry, as a bricklayer building houses. Because I have learned this trade, I am going to write articles about DIY brickwork, for those that are interested in building something. Anyhow, let us go back to my trip on the ship to Australia.

While I was on this ship called the Sydney, in my heart I was already saying: Hello Australia, here I come with my dreams in my heart of finding a better life for myself and perhaps for the future generation of my family, if and when I can have a family of my own.

Anyhow, I was thinking about myself saying, I know that I am dreaming these dreams that may not happen the way I want, but I am young and there is no harm in dreaming to find a better life.

So, as I have said in our last article, we left Port Said to go straight to Australia and while we were on the ship crossing the Indian Ocean we the passenger that were migrating to Australia started to think about what we had left behind in Italy, and at the same time we were eager to see what Australia was like, on the ship we made some acquaintances and everyone had some story to tell, most of us were talking about the reasons why we were migrating to Australia and what we wanted to achieve in Australia. We were also talking about, if we had anybody that we knew in Australia and other things, but really, we didn't know a thing about what we could do in Australia even if we knew somebody there, most of us did not have any job qualification, so, we were hoping to do whatever job came our way, if there was enough money to earn a living, so, we hoped for the best. One could say that we were taking our chances and we were.

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The vast Indian Ocean

This is a map of the Indian Ocean, that we crossed with a ship called the Sydney, it took two weeks and it seemed as if it would never end. It was particularly hard for us that had never been to sea before.
This is a map of the Indian Ocean, that we crossed with a ship called the Sydney, it took two weeks and it seemed as if it would never end. It was particularly hard for us that had never been to sea before. | Source
A typical Passenger Liner
A typical Passenger Liner
Some demijohns dressed to protect them
Some demijohns dressed to protect them
Glass demijohn before dressing.
Glass demijohn before dressing.

On the way to Australia

Happenings on the way to Australia

During the fortnight that the ship took to cross the Indian Ocean, every one of us was wondering in his own way about the future in Australia and what we knew about Australia; in my own case at some stage of this crossing I started wondering how hard it would be to live in the driest continent on earth, as I had learned at school that Australia is dry compared to other continents. So, what would the water supply be like in Australia, and what about the westerly wind, I remember that my teacher had said that these winds last up to three months, so, I was asking myself, is it going to be just as bad and as cold as the winter times winds of Italy, who knows? You see, to cross this stretch of water of the Indian Ocean was taking too long and therefore, it was becoming even boring to go out on deck just to see the sea water and the sky above. So, no wonder we were thinking many strange things.

There is something else that I found out on the Indian Ocean, which was not good news for me; but to understand this issue, let us start from the beginning. You see, in those times when you went overseas from these small towns like Genzano my native town, anyone that had relatives wanted to send a present or something to their relatives, or at least their greetings or something like that, and if you went to a relative house to stay when you arrived in Australia, you could not go there without bringing presents, from your family and their families, so, you can imagine how loaded you were with your own presents and friends presents when you boarded the ship, and I tell you I was loaded too with all this stuff.

Now forgive me my readers if I all of a sudden I start talking about border security, instead of talking about my journey to Australia, but you see, I was coming from a country town and most presents were not bought at the shop, they could be food or something that could not be allowed to go through customs in Australia; anyhow, on the ship I had plenty of time to work it out, as I was talking to people that had been in Australia before, so, I was able to avoid the worse.

Among other things on the ship I had two demijohns of local wine, which I was sure that would be very much appreciated from the people that I was going to stay with in Australia, for people that don’t know what a demijohn is I will explain, A demijohn is a large round glass container dressed with something like woven straw, in my case I had two of them one was ten litres, and the other seven litres, in addition to that and strange as it may seem I had some (lampagioni) small wild onions, which could never go past customs, so, when I was sure that they would not be allowed to enter Australia, I dumped them in the Indian Ocean. I had also some local homemade large beautiful biscuits and other stuff. Anyhow, let me talk about the two demijohn of local wine now, because for a long time anyone that were sailing with me on this ship would remind me of this event; these two demijohns were in my cabin and there wasn’t any way to restrain them properly, so, when the sea was rough they were sliding across the cabin floor until one of them broke that is why my passenger friends remind me about the good lost wine.

These are some of the happenings during my journey to Australia. Anyhow, after a fortnight we reached the continent of Australia and docked at Fremantle in Western Australia. Hurray, we have made it to Australia, now we must see what Australia is like and if it will bring us good fortune.

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Fremantle port W. A.

Map of the port of Fremantle and town, the first port that we stopped when we came to Australia.
Map of the port of Fremantle and town, the first port that we stopped when we came to Australia. | Source
As a first impression this house is very much like a doll house.
As a first impression this house is very much like a doll house.
Port Melbourne
Port Melbourne

Australia positive first impressions

The first impression that I had of Australia was positive, from what we saw near Port Fremantle. I have to say that it was not much what I saw, but it was enough to make a good impression on me. Strange as it may seem the very first time that I set foot in Australia I saw an emu, I don’t know why or how but somebody took us to this place where there was this emu and another animal that I don’t recall what it was. Anyhow because we stopped in Fremantle for a while I was able to go down twice, and the second time guess what I saw, I saw that here in Australia they build single houses on a block of land, and they grow a nice green lawn around the houses by watering the lawn with the town water, in fact these little houses look so pretty that they seem like dolls houses. No bad for a country that is supposed to be the driest continent on earth, and it was great as my first impression. And seeing that they water the lawns with town water my fear of water restriction disappeared.

But anyhow, Fremantle was only the first port in Australia, but I had to disembark in Brisbane, so there were a couple more ports to go past and another week on this ship before the end of my journey. Anyhow, we left Port Fremantle to cross the Great Australian Bight, which took us a few days to navigate, during this crossing I was thinking, how vast is Australia compared to the European countries, since it takes days to navigate from one port to the next? I suppose these thoughts came, because I was tired of this long journey, and we the passengers all longed to reach our final destination; anyhow, next stop was Melbourne, in port Melbourne there wasn’t much to see or say as I had already seen Port Fremantle and Melbourne was very much the same, the only thing was that by now most of the people that I had become friendly with, were disembarking in Melbourne. Anyhow, we left Melbourne and next stop was Sydney, where I was going to meet people that I was bringing presents from their families, so, I knew already that Sydney was a very important city of Australia, therefore, I was eager to see what it was like.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge and others

Circular quay Sydney, some of these tall buildings were already built when I stopped in Sydney
Circular quay Sydney, some of these tall buildings were already built when I stopped in Sydney
Sydney Opera House, was going to be built when I stopped in Sydney the first time
Sydney Opera House, was going to be built when I stopped in Sydney the first time
The Harbour Bridge Sydney, and a ship docked nearby, very much the same picture when I arrived in Sydney by ship.
The Harbour Bridge Sydney, and a ship docked nearby, very much the same picture when I arrived in Sydney by ship.
Aerial picture of part of Sydney city around the harbour bridge, If one looks closely you can just imagine how large is this Sydney harbour and the bridge.
Aerial picture of part of Sydney city around the harbour bridge, If one looks closely you can just imagine how large is this Sydney harbour and the bridge.

My next stop is Sydney

My next stop of this journey is at Sydney

I believe that Sydney is the only town in the world that make people feel welcomed at once, because this has also happened to me.

Anyhow, we docked in Sydney a short walking distance from the harbor bridge, and soon we were aware that people were there on the dock waiting for us, so, I looked to see if my family friends were there to greet me and collect their presents; and sure enough they were there on the dock waving at me and I knew that I could take their present to them. But what should I do to take them, because in Australia everything that comes in has got to go through the custom to be checked out? This procedure was something new to me, although I had heard people talk about it on the ship. Anyhow, I got their large parcel and took it down the ship under the direction of some people that directed all people carrying anything to a large building on the dock, and here I learned for the first time that the custom can look at everything you bring in Australia and if they find anything forbidden you can get in trouble. Anyhow, there was nothing forbidden to enter Australia, as the people that had made the parcel knew what would be allowed in. After that I delivered the parcel to my waiting friends.

In Sydney I had good time with my family friends and exchanged all the news that we had, besides going to a restaurant to eat and then went to see Sydney Harbor Bridge together, as it worked out, they had to leave early because they came to meet me from another town, so, I was left on my own in Sydney looking at the tall building around the harbor and walking around, where I saw the site of the future Sydney Opera House, at that time construction had stopped and there was plenty of still bars stacked on the site, so, I guessed that this was going to be some large and important building, I also visited a garden nearby, and by the time we left, I knew that those sights of Sydney harbor and everything else around could even last a lifetime, they are very impressive to anyone that is lucky enough to see them.

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River and port of Brisbane

Brisbane River is navigable for miles inland, this photo shows Brisbane as it is nowadays; one has to think that ships used to come this far up the river, because even today the bank of the river is called, North Quay
Brisbane River is navigable for miles inland, this photo shows Brisbane as it is nowadays; one has to think that ships used to come this far up the river, because even today the bank of the river is called, North Quay
Old port of Brisbane, this is more or less the way the Port of Brisbane was when I came to Australia. There you can see people on the dock fare welling their friends on a ship leaving port; this was a way of life that we lived around the sixties.
Old port of Brisbane, this is more or less the way the Port of Brisbane was when I came to Australia. There you can see people on the dock fare welling their friends on a ship leaving port; this was a way of life that we lived around the sixties.
Mouth of Brisbane River and new port. Brisbane has grown a lot since I came to Australia. So, they have built a new and larger port at the mouth of Brisbane River.
Mouth of Brisbane River and new port. Brisbane has grown a lot since I came to Australia. So, they have built a new and larger port at the mouth of Brisbane River.

My long journey ends at Brisbane

My journey to Australia ends at Brisbane

We left Sydney and next stop was Brisbane my port of destination; I was looking forward for this journey to end, because to stay on a ship for a month is a long time for anybody that has never been to sea or gone on a boat before. And to tell you the truth I wanted to see my relatives and see how they were doing, so that I could have a better idea, if my coming to Australia was a good thing for me. You see, one can never be sure what it is going to be like and whether your decision was the right decision until you are there and see it for yourself. Of course, what I had seen already in Australia seemed very well, but that does not mean much until one finds out what sort of living an unqualified manual worker can earn and other things. Of course, I knew that whatever job I had to do I was going to work hard, because that is the only way to earn your living for yourself and whoever was going to give you a job. These were the thoughts that most times came to my mind during the journey and more so towards the end of it. On reflection I have to say now that to migrate to a country that you have never been is a hard thing to do, so, lucky are those people that during their lives do not need to migrate. Anyhow, I will come back to these discussions later, because now I want to tell you about the end of my journey at Brisbane.

We reached Brisbane early in the morning and our ship was slowly navigating at the entrance of Brisbane River, when some sailors told us to look in the river for a rare sight, because this event was too rare to miss, as it happens rarely so far south of the equator, we looked and we saw hundreds and hundreds of jelly fish that early morning, for us that had never seen them before we thought that the jelly fish are strange creatures they look like a large mushroom or a very small umbrella, they have tentacles attached at the edges and swim slowly by pulsating their entire body, what a sight it was that early morning in March, at the mouth of Brisbane River.

Finally, we docked at Brisbane at this merchants’ dock to disembark, thanks God I had reached Brisbane my destination and was eager to see my brother and other relative and friends.

We disembarked and I went through customs with all my belongings and presents that I was bringing to my relative and friends. And here is when I got caught and learned something that all travellers should know; anyone of us that goes to a different country should make sure that what they take into that country is allowed; anyhow, I was caught because I had bought a small toy at Port Said that toy could contain forbidden substance and it had to be treated to enter Australia, so, it cost me a fair amount of money. The demijohn of wine and all other stuff that I had with me was all right; after all I had dumped my wild anions in the Indian Ocean, when I found that they were not allowed. After going through customs, I was free to go with my brother and friends. The friends of course were there not only to welcome me to Australia, but to collect their presents that their families had sent them and to hear news of their families and their native town. I believe that I have said enough in this article. So, see you soon in my next article where I am going to talk about my first impressions, and welcome to Brisbane Australia.

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© 2012 F-Menchise

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