|Country of Origin||India|
|Date of Birth||5/20/1937|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1967|
|Submitted by||Robert David|
I, Robert Edward David, was born on the 20th May 1937, in Madras, (Chennai,) in a suburb called Perambur, (etymology, heavy forest;) where my grandparents, parents, (Lionel and Winifred,) and relatives owned extensive property for nearly a hundred years. My mother had a magnificent church built adjacent to our home. Our environs was later renamed Ayanavaram, and was earmarked for industrialization, it incorporated the Integral Coach Factory, which is one of the biggest in the world, and during World War II it turned out three Railway coaches per day for export service: Like 2.6 million soldiers from India, my father actively participated, in and out of India: In both World Wars.
After two years in Loyola College, Madras University, I served 8 years through the Production Engineer\’s Office, Locomotive Works, Southern Railway, and also underwent diverse engineering studies, including a stint through (BIET,) the British Institute of Engineering Technology. I later joined the British Metal Box Company, in Calcutta, (Kolkata,) for five years.
Fate, directs our footsteps, I received messages, from my sisters, Sheila Daly, and Gwendoline Van Haltren, in Madras, telling me that many Anglo-Indians from Madras were migrating to Australia, why not look into it. So accompanied by my beautiful wife, Phyllis Ann nee Francke, and my children we called at the Australian Commission Office. The Migration Officer was stern faced, highly intelligent and articulate, with a penchant for incisive questions, but we soon had her smiling, when one of my daughters, perched herself onto a high chair, removed her shoes and showed us large holes in her socks. I think my wife wanted to go home and kill the poor servant.
In a short while, we received a letter stating subject to satisfactory medical fitness we could anticipate entry into Australia. My Managing Director, an Englishman, leaped out of his seat when I informed him. He told me he had sponsored three above par officers to England and two to Australia and all were rejected. He then advised me to make Perth, my home as it was the best city in the world and later I heartily concurred with his assessment. He immediately wrote successive letters to Australia, to secure a suitable job, with ample remuneration, ‘for my family.\’ I was offered a job as a Project Engineer, in a sister company. On a cold night, in 1967, Archbishop Rev. W. J Foley, met us at Perth Airport, he was then the Director of Catholic Migration. He became our dearest friend.
Many years later, in order to pursue further studies, I secured employment in the Department of Civil Aviation. I acquired a Bachelor of Business Degree, Accounting Major, and after associated studies, I was awarded the status of FCPA, Fellow Certified Practising Accountant. When I initially joined Aviation, an office mate enquired about my employment in India, and when I mentioned my Managing Director\’s name, he was overcome with emotion, and said, ‘Do you know, that his son was my flatmate in England; we two, have travelled thousands of miles and have a common link.\’
Although, my family and I, love Australia very much, I have not forgotten my homeland, and wrote the music and lyrics, for a song about India, titled, ‘A Land I Once Called Home,\’ since now Australia, is my very much loved, New Home. The song was compiled on Compact Disc, by professional migrant artistes, all from India, and was widely publicized and distributed around the world. I later followed this up with a book, by the same title, detailing 5000 years, in a selective history, of India, it attained similar status and widespread acclaim, in addition, it was made into a mini documentary and televised over Australia and New Zealand, on a ‘Sky Channel.\’
My admirable wife and I, had often willingly accepted several, simultaneous jobs, to supplement our family income. Our children attended private schools and colleges, secured gainful employment and have travelled extensively around the world. Our heart filled thanks, are due to Australia; not only, is it, ‘The Lucky Country,\’ but also, ‘The Land of Opportunity,\’ and we are profoundly thankful.