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Why did you or your family choose to live abroad?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Berona Report 14 Aug 2011 11:37

The only claim I can make to “living abroad” from Australia was when I lived in England for almost two years on a working holiday 1953/54. However, my OH had emigrated to Australia in 1950. Our Immigration rules were such that if immigrants wanted to return to the UK, they would receive assisted passage home as long as they had been here for two whole years. He was one of the many people who used this as a means of having a ‘cheap trip’. He had no intention of staying permanently. He also had a Trade Certificate and was able to get jobs easily, so after travelling and working for a short while in each town, he was staying with a former neighbour who now lived here, when he obtained a ‘good’ job and sponsored his two youngest sisters when they decided to have two years here too – at the same time as his married brother was also emigrating. Only months later, a married sister arrived with her family. At one point of time, there were five of the seven siblings all living in Australia! I heard later that their mother had hated the word ‘Australia’ because she felt she had buried five of her children here. I don’t blame her. I think I would feel the same in that situation. Two of them returned home, but she never saw the other three again.
I didn’t meet any of them until 1956, but I have known them ever since and kept pace with their lives. I would like to tell you about them but feel that I could not put it into one post. I’ll write about each one separately at different times – how they fared – why they stayed or why they returned. Each one is different.


Berona Report 14 Aug 2011 12:09

Living conditions here in Australia are good - even though everyone complains - but doesn't everybody, everywhere?
We have strict hygiene rules and our Customs Dept is amongst the strictest in the world. We have pensions for many different situations - and although the amount is meagre, it is possible to live on them - as long as we are happy to have only what is necessary and no more than that.

We have our crime and drug problems same as everywhere else although more and more parents are looking at sending children to private schools because of the drug problems. Not that the private schools are 'free' from problems, but they do seem to have tighter control on it.

Until the 50s/60s, our immigrants were almost all from the UK, then we started getting Maltese, Italian, European migrants. Seemed strange at first, but they learned the language, worked hard and blended in with the rest of us. If they had different customs, we saw nothing of them.
However, in recent years, the immigrants have come from other countries where they bring their customs with them and expect us to change of way of thinking, as well as change our laws - to suit their customs which are guided by their religion/s.
In this country, we are free to worship how we want - to follow whatever religion we choose to follow (and to the level of our choice too) - and to not follow any if we feel that way inclined too. We consider religion as a personal thing and don't attempt to interfere with each other's way of thinking. The newcomers expect us to change our working rules, time-keeping, laws, etc. to suit their religion and whilst we have respect for people following a religion other than our own - we feel resentment when told that we should change to suit them!
We also have boatloads of refugees arriving constantly. They are sent to Christmas Island where they are housed, fed and clothed (at taxpayers' expense) and they keep going on hunger strikes and burning the buildings whilst they demand to be given visas! This attitude doesn't go down well.


AnninGlos Report 14 Aug 2011 12:56

That is interesting to read Berona, if only from the point of view that UK is not alone in suffering problems connected with religion. It is difficult. The boat loads that arrive in Australia must have travelled a long way?


SpanishEyes Report 14 Aug 2011 22:34

Just a quick visit tonight, still not ready to add much due to family reason but I will come back in a day or two.
I rather like the idea of changing the name of this thread, so if anyone wishes to propose a name we can then decide what to call it. One suggestion already given.



Berona Report 15 Aug 2011 06:53

Ann - the boats belong to people-smugglers. They are not seaworthy and they charge them high fees to transport them on an overcrowded boat where they sleep on the deck The people should be told that they cannot land here and will be detoured to one of the islands - but they are notn told. One boat over a year ago, reached its destination, only to be smashed on the rocks in high wind - with many lives lost - including children. However, they keep coming. Not sure where from - India? Pakistan? They keep coming and their relatives, who are already here, encourage them to riot.
Our Navy is kept busy watching for them. If caught, the smugglers are put in gaol, but they manage to get away - only to do it again!


SpanishEyes Report 15 Aug 2011 07:07

Good morning everyone. I have just read the last few messages and thoughtbthat I would thank you for keeping this thread going. I find it a very interesting thread.
I am hoping that I will have some more good news today and then I may feel that I can start writing on here again.
for those who have sent such kind thoughts and been so helpful in other ways, a very special hug and thanks to you all.

Bridget in Spain


Berona Report 16 Aug 2011 02:32

As promised to tell of how my OH and his siblings fared in Australia - I suppose I should take them in order - with him first.

He had just been disappointed in romance and was wandering along the street in Liverpool, when he saw a sign "Come to Sunny Australia". When his enquiries revealed that passage was free to immigrants as long as they were prepared to stay for two full years. Then, if they wanted to return to the UK after that, they would get assisted passage home. (Please note that this was the ruling THEN, not now. I have no idea what the rules are these days).
He was told that a lot of people were taking advantage of this offer with the idea of putting in the two years, then returning home, so he decided to take advantage of it. I think the Immigration Dept was banking on a lot of those who were using this as a 'cheap' holiday, eventually deciding to stay after having been here for two years.

He became good friends with his three cabin-mates and they decided that they would work for about three months in Melbourne, then ride up to Sydney and get work there, etc. A 'loose' plan was made with no strings attached. They arranged meeting places in each city/township where they would obtain work, but if anyone didn't show up within a certain time, they would move on.

He rode up to Sydney, taking time to see the scenery and visit towns on the way, and yes, they all met again there. Then, again in Newcastle, (90 miles north of Sydney), but the others wanted to continue to Brisbane whilst OH said he had promised a neighbour he would call in to see her son, who lived in Newcastle. That was as far as he got! His friend was living with his inlaws who made OH so welcome, he was afraid to tell them he wasn't staying for long. His friend suggested he apply for a job at one of the Steel Works, so he did and was lucky enough to get a job as a leading hand. He had all the qualifications. Although this was 1951, Australia was still short of qualified tradesmen after the war. Then, when his friend bought a house, OH was given the choice of who to live with, and he chose to go with his friend so that he could help him with the renovations.
By then, they knew that he didn't intend to stay, but they kept telling him to "make the most of it" - even though they were encouraging him to stay at his job, rather than travel around and see the country!! At this stage, he had no idea of how long he would be here, but decided to stay until he 'had enough' and really wanted to go home.

Next thing he knew, his two youngest sisters wrote and asked him to sponsor them because they, too, wanted to come out for two years! He didn't need a sponsor because he was a tradesman. However, I have rambled on enough for one day, so I'll keep that for next time.


SpanishEyes Report 16 Aug 2011 06:28

I am looking forward to reading the next episode, and thanks for adding to the thread.

Bridget in Spain


Berona Report 17 Aug 2011 03:28

I’ve noticed that I previously said my OH and friends “rode” – but neglected to say they each bought a motor bike on arrival in Melbourne. It became their transport to work and for travelling. So now you know what they ‘rode’ on!

As for the two youngest sisters. “T” was 21 and “A” was 17. Their mother felt they were too young and didn’t want them to go, but their father could not say ‘no’ to them...He 'expected' my OH to take care of them!

The friends OH was living with said the girls could stay with them and set about furnishing a room for them – then found that the home needed to belong to the sponsor. Luckily, a house only two doors away, came up for sale, so OH put a deposit on it – and furniture was bought (some of it borrowed) and put into the house, ready for the inspection.

Both girls obtained work quickly and were happy living there. The friend’s wife was happy with the little extra money she was getting and also with the young company. Her baby was demanding a lot of attention and the girls helped out there. However, within the first few months, “A” met the man she would eventually marry, whilst “T” went on a few dates, but nothing permanent.
When another sister and her family emigrated here, the girls went to live with her until “T” lost her job. After that, she couldn’t get work, so her sister asked OH to help. He took T to Sydney and in one day, she got a job and accommodation in a girls’ hostel. Within months, she told them she was marrying a Scot. They moved on to Melbourne and after having two children, the husband wanted to return to Scotland where a third child was born, but they weren’t there for long before he decided to move to South Africa. Her mother got to see her for a while before they moved to S.A. as they lived with her for a few months while husband kept changing his mind about where he wanted to live.

After about ten years or more in S.Africa, the marriage had deteriorated so much that although her daughter was engaged and would not leave S.A., her older son was working in England and sent her the fare for her to bring the younger boy to England, then after she had a life-saving operation on her heart (which her OH refused to let her have) her son and her sisters urged her to get a divorce.

She is happy these days, living near the youngest son and his family – and the others visit at least once a year. She still says she would have been happy to have stayed in Australia, but with a husband who had “itchy feet”, she felt she had no choice – and she does love England.

“A” married that first man she met soon after arriving. They have celebrated their 50th anniversary with their three children and five grand children. She regrets not seeing her parents again, but has no regrets about leaving England. I agree with her mother that she was too young to make a trip like that. A ‘visit’ would have been OK, but to fill in two years with teenage ‘fun’ and a boy-friend to fall in love with – it would have to have its attraction.
I don't know if she ever realised what an impact on her mother it would have been, when she told her she was being married.


SpanishEyes Report 17 Aug 2011 05:58

I have just read your latest part about moving abroad. What an adventure it must have been for the two girls, although I must say as a mother I would have been heart broken for the two girls leaving home when so young and going so far.

I have vivid memories of people queing at Australia House in London, and at times I was somewhat envious.
When I look at the map of Australia, I am always amazed at just how large it is. It is more like a continent than one country.

As for South Africa I have often thought about the time my first husband and I planned to live there just after we married in 1969. As a fully qualified Charted Account we had no trouble being accepted to live there, working for the same company. Our then close friends went and at tne last minute OH (1) decided that as an only child he could not leave his parents, so we never made it, it wasn't to be. Husband number two, also an only child and never very adventureres but is besotted with living in Spain, his parents were both deceased before we moved here,

Looking forward to the next chapter.

Best wishes everyone and thank you for keeping this going at this very difficult time for me. My grandaughter is improving very slowly but still in special care.

Bridget in Spain.


Berona Report 17 Aug 2011 12:26

Bridget - I don't think a lot of people realise just how big the country is. At present, we have snowfields down south with the skiing season in full swing - whilst up north they are having 34c temperatures (and that's winter temps!).

Yes, it was sad that my MIL never saw her youngest child again after she left at 17. I don't know how I would cope if that happened to me. I encouraged my daughter to travel overseas, just as I did, but I was glad when she came home - as I suppose my mother was when I came home too! Two years after the girls came here, their father died, so their Mum had that to cope with, and then when she heard of the engagement, she would have realised that her youngest would not be coming home. I think that would be devastating.


SpanishEyes Report 17 Aug 2011 12:57

Hello everyone,

It is 42c in our garden and a friend just popped in to say hello said it is the same wher she lives just a road or two away. Now, we are halfway up a small mountan so goodness knows what it must be like down on the beach.

No wonder I could not sleep last night



wisechild Report 17 Aug 2011 13:40

We are much more comfortable at about 33c.

Had a hospital appointment in Mahon yesterday & it was stifling, although very cool in the hospital.
Another very positive experience. Appointment was for 12.30. Got called through to the doctor at 12. 25. Imagine that in England.
Had an ultrasound scan & no I´m not pregnant., It detected a couple of tiny gallstones which don´t require treatment unless they start causing problems.
Basically I was told that I am in reasonable nick for a 66 year old. Comforting thought.


SpanishEyes Report 18 Aug 2011 12:39

Hello everyone.

I am back. Due to a major family concern I could not cope with other things very well. However some good news this morning which has lifted my spirit and can only offer great thanks to all those who contacted me, from different parts of the world.

I have asked someone ofvthey will join us and talk about living on one of the UKs beautiful Islands, so let us keep our fingers crossed.

I will be back writing more about the areas of the UK I lived in.

Bridget in Spain :-)


AnninGlos Report 18 Aug 2011 12:46

Berona, I didn't know there was a skiing season is Australia. You live and learn. What a great informative thread.


SpanishEyes Report 18 Aug 2011 13:00

Please would someone remind me how I change the name of the thread. I am so tired from several nights of very little sleepi just cannot recall how to do this.
Thank you

Bridget in Spain where today is very very hot but there is a slight wind


AnninGlos Report 18 Aug 2011 13:19

Bridget click on your first post you will see edit. click edit and you can edit the title.


SpanishEyes Report 18 Aug 2011 14:00

Ann, how would I manage without you.

I think we should have some new people join us now! I must say that I am delighted with the progress so far.

I am going to write about Ireland as I have some items that my father told me about. I also have relatives who lived on the Isle of White so might give that try.
Not exciting places but my father lived in the times of the Black & Tans, so learnt quite a lot.
Hope it will not offend but be seen as a Childs view of such atrocities on both sides.

Jet and Joe my lovely dogs have hardly left my side this week, I am sure that they new something was wrong

Bridget in Spain

Still in euphoria re the progress of my darling granddaughter. I feel washed out as my mum used to say!


SpanishEyes Report 18 Aug 2011 15:33

Nudge :-)


Florence61 Report 18 Aug 2011 20:18

good evening everybody from a bright and sunny hebridean island. i came here in 1993 after marrying a local man. i met him by chance as i was visiting some friends of mine who decided to buy a cottage when they retired. i came up here for a holiday and met future hubby.

we only spent 6 weeks together in 2 years and then in jul1993 got married in kent where i was living. we then drove 900 miles and here i am.

what i loved more than anything from the first time i came , was the wonderful fresh air and wide open spaces. no claustrophobic skyscrapers to spoil the view.beaches that are clean and deserted, so no grappling for somewhere to sunbathe!

people here actually have the time to stop and talk to you in the village shop or on the pavement in town. sometimes for 1/2 hour and while you are chatting, someone else will stop and join in. sometimes there may be 6 or 7 of you having a blether and a laugh. it really is very civilised compared to mainland life.

most of the houses where we stay(near the tip of the island-lewis) are all detached bungalows. we sometimes drive round to a neighbour if its very wild or wet. so you have space between you and a huge garden or croft.

i settled into island life quite well. my oh family took care of me showing me around and getting to know the neighbours etc as my oh was then a fisherman and away all week at sea. he only came home fri eve and was away midnight on sunday.

i got a job in a local bank as that was my profession then and was there for 2 years before child no 1 came along followed by no 2, 2 years later.

i guess at times i felt like a single mum with oh away and no family of my own. but you adapt and its quite amazing how you settle down. i have been here 18 years last month and strangely enough when new people move into the village, i refer to them as the incomers and quite forget that i am still an incomer really but am accepted now as a local.

i will sign off tonight as i do have a few stories and things that happen here and nowhere else which will make interesting reading another night.

im glad bridget you told me about this thread and have found everybody elses stories very interesting too, so keep them coming.

back another day soon
in the hebrides :-)