Chapter one: Finding Bill

Written by Rose B.

My mum was born in 1915 and had three elder brothers. When she was about 10 years
old, she contracted rheumatic fever and was bedridden for a long time. Her youngest
brother Bill was her constant companion and would do his best to keep her amused.

During WWII Bill was in the merchant navy and visited Australia many times. He married
and had a couple of kids, then he brought his family to Australia. Mum lost contact with
him, but she always knew she wanted to come to Australia and find him.

When the time was right, she started putting the Sunday paper in front of my dad opened
on the page saying “Come to Australia, the land of opportunity”.

One Sunday my dad said to her, “How about it, shall we go?”

There were three of us kids, me being the eldest at 17. My brother jumped at the idea, he
hated school and this was a way of getting out of it. My sister at 15 was madly in love and
didn’t want to go but she was overruled. I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to go or not as I had a
boyfriend and I didn’t really want to leave him behind. I knew how much my mum wanted
to come, so I agreed.

In those days all you did was fill out a form, have a medical, a couple of vaccinations, an
interview at Australia House, pay over your ten pounds and you were on your way. Us three
kids all being under 18 were free.

They sold the house and just about everything in it. With just one large cabin trunk, packed
with memories, mum, dad and the three of us set off for Southhampton and the big

We caught a migrant ship and I can’t honestly remember much about the journey. Only
that it docked in Freemantle – our first look at Australia.

When we arrived, my sister and I decided to catch a bus into Perth. We trotted along and
found a bus stop. We asked the first person we see when the next bus is coming into Perth.
The poor chap he had no idea what we were saying with our strong English accents! And
he certainly couldn’t the word ‘bus’ the way we were saying it to save his life! Then a young
chap from the boat came along and we all hopped in a taxi and went to the Myer Music
Bowl for a look around. He paid, which was lovely. Being brand new to the country my sister
and I didn’t have that sort of cash lying around. I loved the scenery in Perth. It was so clean
and fresh.

Little did I know what amazing things would happen next…

(to be continued…)