They must not talk…

Multicultural Australia as a field of power

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  • Published 20180501
  • ISBN: 9781925603323
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

MY PARENTS ARRIVED in Australia on a fine September Sunday in 1946, a light to moderate westerly blowing across Sydney Harbour. Their ship, the MS Yochow out of Hong Kong, had entered the heads on slight to moderate seas; it berthed at number 10 Walsh Bay at midday. It was as though nature had decreed a balmy day for the fifty or so refugees on board, the first to arrive from Shanghai under a new scheme negotiated between Jewish Welfare, Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell and the new head of his still new department, Tas Heyes.

The few Polish passengers among the refugees were surviving members of their families, the rest slaughtered in the Holocaust, drifting out of the camps or emerging from hiding places underneath the landscape of a battered Poland. The family group included my father and mother, and her mother and brother. Behind them were the incinerated bodies of those murdered, or buried where they had fallen as death took them en route. They landed through serendipity and persistence in Sydney, after seven years of wanderings and captivity, through the now war-ruined landscapes of Europe and Asia. Waiting on the dock, my mother’s sister welcomed them to Australia, a place none had ever planned to visit but in which they would all live for the rest of their lives. A report by the newly established Commonwealth Investigation Service documents the arrival, details carefully taken by a sergeant in his notebook.

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In ConversationWe were accidental arrivals, I think is the best way to put it. My parents were refugees from Poland. They were Jewish citizens of Poland and they basically flipped a coin and made a run for it.

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