My parents thought seriously about moving the family to Australia during the mid-1950’s. The family was growing bigger each year - Mum had eight children between May 1951 and December 1960. Things in England weren’t looking too good for the future, but Australia was. In 1965 neighbours from our village moved to Melbourne. They kept writing to my parents, encouraging them to come over. So, in early 1966 my parents started enquiring about moving to Australia.
My whole family, and luggage, were squeezed into a VW kombi van and driven to a place 11 miles from Bacchus Marsh called the “Lady Northcote Farm School”.
When we arrived, we were all taken into a big hall to eat. At about 7pm my parents and eldest brother were driven away in the Kombi van. My three youngest brothers were taken by a woman out of the hall, my two sisters were taken out of the hall by another lady, another brother and I were taken to a third cottage on the property.
This farm was for migrants who came from overseas. The parents and working age kids would live in the migrant hostel in Melbourne, get work and save money to get a home. The younger kids all went to the “Lady Northcote Farm School”.
Although it was classed as a school, 'The Lady Northcote Farm School' was more like a Detention centre. Along with a few Pommie kids, there were Wards of the State, Orphans, and naughty kids.
The older kids travelled by bus to Bacchus Marsh High School. The juniors walked to a Primary school just down the road to “Northcote”.
I learnt a lot at “Northcote”. It was a very different lifestyle to England...
(… to be continued)…