I admire, anyone who can pick up and move their life to another place, another country.
What strength of character. What opportunity.
My parents were Assisted Passage Migrants to Australia.
They each took a month long journey to an unknown land, from the the port of Pireaus, in Athens.
My dad arrived in Australia on the Skaugum. It was 1956 and he was 21. He cut sugar cane, built kitchens and worked shifts at BHP, during the Steelworks heyday.
My mum arrived in Australia on the Patris in 1962. Barely 18, she cut hair and worked in beauty parlours. She couldn’t speak English so she would smile, nod and produce the meanest coiffure in town. She was one of the original WAHMs, setting up shop in the kitchen, while raising her kids.
These two ships were integral in bringing Greeks to Australia to start new lives. The Patris made many more voyages than the Skaugum and it was one of the more popular vessels, until migrants began flying more frequently.
These ships were important in establishing the Greek Australian community.
Strong life friendships were forged on the high seas and people formed solid connections they would come to heavily rely on. They formed relationships and later families. It is no surprise that I am firm friends with the children of the people my parents met on their boats.
The Patris and Skaugum are iconic to me.
Along with thousands of other Greeks, they brought my parents to Australia.
I’m so glad they hopped on those boats.
I’d love to see your iconic images. Link up this week over at Musings of the Misguided.