|Country of Origin||Timor-Leste|
|Date of Birth||26/06/53|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1970|
|Submitted by||Mario Ricardo|
In the dark morning of 1959, well before sunrise, I experienced my first fright at the age of 6 and every now and then it comes back as a reminder of the events of those uncertain times.
My parents Jose and Clara Ricardo, the proprietors of the Hotel Santiago, or the Flamboyant, during the Indonesian occupation, woke everyone up (family and guests) and drove us all to the Portuguese Administrator’s residence because some Indonesian Commanders, with militias, were about to stage the first uprising in Timor-Leste. The Viqueque uprising.
Soon after this uprising my parents sold their hotel and factories and donated some land to the Church. They then took us first to Portugal and then onto Macau. During this time I experienced the problems and persecution that came with the dictatorship of President Salazar, in Portugal, and the Red Guards revolution in 1965/66. Hong Kong and Macau were next in line to fall to the Mao’s Revolutionary Guards. It seemed that trouble was following everywhere we went. These 11 years were full of uncertainty and turmoil.
In 1968 we heard of the Promised Land called Australia where we could have a good education, jobs, housing, sports and a full life. It did not take much to convince Mum and Dad to start on the journey to this Promised Land.
As there are 10 in the family the eldest 5 came first to work and earn enough money to pay for all the airfares and to then bring over the rest of the family. All members of the family arrived in 1970.
I don’t think that I have thanked my parents enough for making this decision and for enduring all the difficulties they faced in the 11 years on the run, but I know that they were happy for all of us to settle in this beautiful country of Australia. The land of opportunity. The place I now call home.
Thank you Mum and Dad and thank you Australia.