Sydney 4th August 1971. Continued from prev post.

Sydney, 4 August 1971. We were here at last! Although it was cold

and windy, I did my level best to inform the family that this was the

worst scenario and things would get better. Memories from twenty-five

years ago came flooding back, but I put them aside and focused on the


We left the ship and cleared customs. Our hold baggage was sent on

later to the hostel where we would be staying. After the luxury of the

ship, the hostel was a letdown. As time went on, I let the family know

that this was a temporary situation. Getting out of the hostel became a


At the Villawood Hostel, about ten families of differing ethnic origins

were waiting outside the manager.s office. The manager was a polite

Italian migrant with a flair for English. Although alphabetical order is the

normal way to go, that day, it seemed the Z.s, U.s, Y.s, and Q.s went first.

My friend.s family and ours . the E.s and S.s . were last. A seven-foot

tall, blonde, middle-aged Prussian bimbo announced to the manager, .Ve

now haf the last of the Queen.s relatives..

I replied, .You must be the Whore from Stalag Four.. Then I said,

.Sig heil. with an erect middle finger. The manager said he would speak

to her later and that I must be more tolerant. I replied, .I am always

tolerant when it suits me..

Having sorted out the cockroaches and settled into our Nissen hut, we

went to the main dining room. A good selection of poorly cooked but

sustainable food was the normal fare. The only problem was that the

knives, forks, and spoons had to be washed outside the mess hall under a

cold-water tap. We made other arrangements.

Back to Australia

John Leonard Spencer . 209

The nights were cold (mid winter in Sydney) and the showers thirty

yards away. Despite the English shower and soap joke, we were more

frequent users of the showers than most people.

The second day after we arrived, we were visited by friends who had

lived one house up from us in England . Ron and Margaret Ryan. We

would see a lot of them in days to come.

The next day, we decided to take the train into town from Leighton

field Station. A recently arrived migrant announced the destination for

the next train in a strange, garbled form of Strine, a badly spoken, Aussie

Brumby English. Two old geezers sitting close by noticed that I was

having difficulty understanding it. One of them said, .When youse been

.ere. a bit more, sport, you.ll learn English..

I looked him squarely in the eye and replied, .Now isn.t that nice to

know, you silly old fart..

One of the boys said, .You are being rude again, daddy..

Later in the day, when we called into a local shop to buy a hot water

jug, Andrew sat on the glass display shelf. I snatched him just in time. I

had no idea glass could bend.

This will be continued only if asked for  by readers in the form of a comment or email,

BTW. Today in Sydney and NSW it has been boiling hot around 30C.


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