|Country of Origin||Yugoslavia|
|Date of Birth||4/13/1928|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1949|
|Submitted by||Vivien de Cann|
Editor: With some stories I don’t feel that editing is appropriate – this is one such story!
Berislav Babic ( known as Bery ) escaped from the former Yugoslavia with 2 friends (to avoid having to go into the army).
They stole a boat and with only a compass and some food, sailed across the Adriatic into Ancona Italy, and into the arms of the Caribinieri.
Thus began a series of interments in various Italian camps for Displaced Persons (always referred to as P.O.W. camps by Bery).
First to Milazzo in Sicily, where they were held in an ancient castle.
Next to the island of Lipari, again in an old castle, and finally to Bagnoli, a much larger camp near Naples.
There was more freedom of movement there and they spent much time on the beaches .
At some stage the Redcross arranged for their immigration, one friend to Sth America and the other and Bery, to Australia.
From Trieste they boarded S.S.Dandalk Bay, and sailed on Oct 20 1949, arriving at Station Pier Melbourne on Nov 21 1949. Bery was passenger No 18.
The trip was rough with many seasick ….not Bery!
He said more food for him. Rabbits from Australia was high on the menu.
He was transported by train to Bonegilla siding, where he transferred to buses and Bonegilla C.I.C.
He was proud of the fact that he was able to obtain work in Western Victoria, after only a few months, and was never without a source of income.
His memories of Bonegilla were faint …learning English ….food which seemed very rich after war torn Europe, and seeing smoke from bush fires on the hills.
He worked on the Snowy Mountain scheme and on Bougainville copper mine site.
He also owned the Tabou night club in Cooma, before settling in Melbourne, where he built his proudly occupied ..Bery’s Charcoal Grill.
After his retirement in the late 1990s he made several trips back to Croatia, visiting all his interment camps in 2005.
Sadly he passed away suddenly on Nov 7th 2010.
He was predeceased by his Australian born wife & adult daughter.
A good Aussie citizen.