“I thought it was real.”

Jacques vdMerwe artist. Sculptor, visual art, fine art

D.O.B. // 06-1946
DATE INTERVIEWED // 2016
NATIONALITY AT BIRTH // POLISH
COUNTRIES LIVED IN // GERMANY, AUSTRALIA
DATE OF ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIA // 1949
KIND OF ENTRANCE // DISPLACED PERSON

John Bylicki came to Australia after the Second World War. He remembers his journey to Australia and his resettlement as a child.

My name is John Bylicki. I was born in June 1946 in a displacement persons camp in Aschaffenburg in Germany, from Polish parents. We came to Australia in the latter part of 1949.

 We came over on a boat, with quite a few of other people. It was quite common in that stage, to use these luxury liners, I suppose you call them. They were commandeered and they use to bring displaced persons to all parts the world. At that stage I was about four and a half. I can remember things quite vividly – I can remember crossing the equator; and having guy with a triton, with terrible, terrible green skin and a crown with thorns – spikes, chasing us down the ship. I thought it was real, I thought we were dead. I remember that part quite vividly. When my parents were dew to go to America they had no one over there how they knew. They had people they knew that gone to Australia so they made a… it is actually an interesting story, I will not go into it, it’s fairly long, but they suddenly found out their door to America was closed so they went to Australia.

 I wouldn’t move back, I have family here, I have kids here, I have a great life in Australia. I love Poland. I love Europe, generally, when I have been over there I have taken the time to look at Europe and Europe is a wonderful, wonderful place. It’s got its problems, and I think we tend to be a little bit removed from them to a degree. No, I could not leave Australia, this is my home.

 Love it! It’s the only country in the world. Love it!