Wladyslaw & Eleanor Kluzek
|First name||Wladyslaw & Eleanor|
|Country of Origin||Poland &Scotland|
|Date of Birth||09/07/1916 & 16/04/1924|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1950|
|Submitted by||Stan Kluzek|
Wladyslaw Kluzek and Eleanor Harris met during the latter part of WWII as a result of Wladyslaw being moved to Scotland as part of the Polish army. Eleanor was from the Peebles in the ‘Borders’. She had enlisted with the RWAF (Royal Womens Air Force), as ground staff. They married in March of 1944.
In 1950 after five years of marriage and not many employment opportunities in post war Britain, the couple, with their two young daughters (Janina and Angela), were given the chance to immigrate to Australia. They were to be sponsored by an Australian dairy farmer to work on his farm.
After finding out the date of departure, the young family had to organise themselves for a journey to the other side of the world. Within less than a month they would have to finalise leaving Scotland. The first thing they had to do was to decide on what they had to dispose of and what they could take with them. Selling and removal of furniture was organised. The last few days in their very empty house must have been very eerie.
The possessions they took with them fitted into three large trunks. Family Kluzek made their way to Glasgow by train from Peebles leaving at 7.40 am on the 14th Feb 1950. They then boarded a special bus to the port. By 7.30pm the SS Cameronia left her berth with another lot of migrants bound for Australia.
The boat trip across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean was rough, and the Cameronia was a ship not well suited to rough seas.
Through the Mediterranean the Kluzeks could see landmarks such as the Rock of Gibraltar, the coast of Africa, and Malta.
The ship stopped for a short time at Port Said. Wladyslaw commented that the scenery was beautiful. All the migrants had fun, buying from the Egyptian hawkers in their little boats.
After a very pleasant trip through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, the ship had engine problems and stopped for 3 days at the Port of Aden. The weather was unpleasantly hot, and the family were reluctant to take opportunity for shore leave in a very foreign country. Out of boredom they did venture ashore but did not last long in the humdrum of the unfamiliar city and inhabitants. The foul smells and encounters with beggars was a bit unnerving for Wladyslaw and Eleanor.
When the journey resumed, the weather was quite hot. Colombo was the next stop, a beautiful looking city but no time for shore leave as they were already behind schedule.
The Kluzeks wrestled with heat, boredom, illness and seasickness throughout the remaining part of the journey. Relief from the heat could sometimes be obtained by moving to the shaded parts of the ship and feeling the breeze created by the ship’s forward motion. However the heat in the cabin was unrelenting.
From Fremantle across the Southern Ocean, the weather turned cold and the seas quite rough. In the last few days the excitement of arriving replaced the boredom and helped the young family cope with any illness.
On the 25th March, the Cameronia arrived in Melbourne.
The Kluzeks were met by their sponsors and travelled down to their ‘new’ home near Wonthaggi in Gippsland – an unfinished and primitive house with no running water. A few days later most of their luggage arrived, but one trunk was missing – the one with most of their clothing. Three weeks later Eleanor finally tracked down the missing trunk. It had been held in quarantine.
Instead of dairy farming, the day after arrival Wladyslaw found himself clearing bushland. Blistering work on hands that had had 6 weeks at sea. The pay was £5.0.0 a week. Not a cow in sight.
Visits to the nearest town of Wonthaggi for groceries, as Eleanor commented, was like a visit to the wild west that you see in the movies. After being surrounded by buildings centuries old in Scotland, the Gippsland District seemed very primitive in comparison. Many of the town buildings were constructed of weatherboard and run down.
Sometime later Wladyslaw got his car licence and bought their first car for £180 pounds, which left the finances very tight.
Those early days were very tough on the couple, and they wondered whether they had made the right choice.
But Wladyslaw and Eleanor remained hard working rural people, went on to have four more children, and by the mid-1970s, they owned their own farm and had shown that they were yet another immigration success.