|Country of Origin||England|
|Date of Birth||13/10/41|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1958|
|Submitted by||Peter j Burton|
Reason for leaving homeland – I had a school friend who went to Australia with his family. He wrote telling me of the beautiful things to do like swimming in crystal clear sea, etc. I was working on a dairy farm at the time, not sure how I became informed of the Big Brother Movement. I think through contact with the Australian embassy.
After going through all the paperwork, medical, references, etc., it was all about packing the right things, socks working cloths and the wide brimmed hat; also cases to put things in. So of we go to London, me, my mum and her boyfriend, otherwise known as uncle John. My dad was not able to see me of because of work.
St Pancras Station to Tilbury docks and there I was standing on board the S.S Orion waving goodbye. Seasick more than homesick. Found my sea legs 3 days later and some new friends, we had fun. Through the Med and the Suez Canal; picking up some brides at Greece for their counterparts in Australia. We stopped at Ceylon and then to Fremantle. Looked at Perth and then round to Adelaide. Bit bouncy along the Australian Blight.
Can’t remember to much about the docks, just the heads; impressive. Went to a Training Farm – met my old school friend for a short time and then to the first employer. Mr Leslie had me working from 4am to 8pm for 10 pound a month. Not impressed.
To cut a long story; I started going downhill, working on another farm and then the railway and starting to drink before enlisting in the Australian Army RAEME. The organization and comradeship was exceptional, but sadly did not stop my drift into the booze. From then on great opportunities were lost. Discharged, with services no longer required, worked in the Sydney station cloakroom and then drifted with my brother up north to Queensland. Mt Isa had Jobs on offer after the Mackay strike. So we went there. Another opportunity went down the drain. Back to Sydney and worried by the extent I was slipping, I thought of going home to England. Paperwork seemed to hard so came to New Zealand. Still had trouble with the drink for a year or so before becoming a Christian.
Overall my impressions of Australia is that it is an awesome place. I am reminded of one verse of a poem. That goes something like: ‘ I love this sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges, of drought and flooding rains, I love the far horizon I love the jeweled sea, the beauty and the terror this wide brown land for me. And I am only sorry that I did not, at the time possess, the qualities to ‘Call Australia Home’. My heart is settled with the Lord. but I am thankful for this opportunity to say this about my past. My son is over there and is a citizen of that fine country. My wife and I have been back once and maybe once again in the future. God bless and thanks again Sincerely in Christ, Peter.