Tuesday, 16 November 2021 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Page 8275/8276
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (16:33): Today, I would like to talk about a launch I attended last Saturday night at Crystal Brook. This was done by a small group of people who are very passionate about promoting and preserving storytelling. The group is the Rocky River ‘Riters group. The launch by John Mannion was about reflections, and I would like to mention a story that related to the reflections of a migrant in 1952. It states:
THE THOUGHTS OF A MIGRANT
(By W.A. Frieknecht)
I went for a walk and sat down somewhere. I lit a cigarette and—yes, I began thinking. I don’t know why. But I did.
What does a migrant think about? I wonder whether you and you, and even you have asked why these fellows have come over here. There is much talk about unemployment and such things these days. I cannot talk about them; I am not in Parliament you know. But I may perhaps, think about them. Well, the answer is easy. Why have we come here? There is one fact which is often forgotten. Your country asked for us; you asked for labourers to fill spare jobs and you wanted your population to grow. Anyway when your country asked for us, well, we made up our minds and—off we went.
Believe me, it is not easy to leave everything behind, family, wife, children or father and mother. There is only one thing to keep up your strength, which is the hope of being re-united as soon as possible. Now then, our families will arrive here very soon. And that was the reason why I went for a walk and thought about it—well about things.
We are all called New Australians. Right, most of us hope to be naturalised one day. Oh yes, I know what you are going to say. Some of these New Australians want to go back after completing their contract. Yes, I know. And I don’t blame them. Most of them are younger men, and they just want to take a look into another world. Alright let them go back. And then there is another group. Have you ever been homesick? If so, you will understand. If not, well believe me, these men would never feel happy in your country or in any other one but their home country.
But I am quite sure that those fellow migrants expecting their families will be good Australians one day. All of them. Oh yes, I see you are a teeny weeny bit kind of doubtful. Right, I remember I had an uncle who was a farmer and had a lot of stock. When we went for a holiday he always took us around. And he was so proud of showing us his herd. Oh yes, it was something to look at. Well he always said they were all good material. Of course, there were a few amongst them which were not of the same standard. But still, that did not alter the standard of his herds.
Well, that was not bad, was it? Yes, to repeat, we hope to become some real good Australians one day.
There is much talk about assimilation. The Good Neighbour Council, The YMCA, the YWCA and all these Christian societies do their very best in respect of assimilation. I think it would do some good when you sometimes do not think, oh, he is a New Australian. Please, may I kindly mention—just whisper—don’t forget my uncle’s herd. Or would you get rid of all your stock, if you had some, in case you had a few black ones amongst them?
We are trying our utmost to find our way into your community. Of course, this way will be easier, when we have our families around us.
I have very often been asked how do you like it here and what will your family think about it? Well, I always reply. I just did not pick the best place in Australia, but it is not bad, and when our families arrive, it will be a great change for them. We all know that. But I am sure after a while they will like it. A few miles out of town you have some beautiful spots. But even [the spot here] herself is not bad; she is nice. It all depends upon how you look at it. I saw the moon several times pouring her silver coins upon the gulf. I have seen the diamond blue gulf under a blue sky, when early in the morning life [in this town] is slowly getting busy. Every time I am coming home from the line [the fettler] I enjoy the lights [of the community] at night; they look like a city calling me home.
Yes, and in some ways, I do not know, whether we may still be here or whether we may come for a visit to meet friends, we will then say: Do you remember [our community] when it looked much different from now. Yes, one day I sat down as a New Australian to think about things which were on my mind. That was long ago. We have grown old and have found a real new home over here; for my thinking that day years ago did us some good. Cheerio for today.
It just goes to show you some of the issues, the feelings and the fears of migrants coming into our community.