‘We had to get a job’

Jacques van der Merwe artist. Immigrant England
Jacques van der Merwe. Artworks of refugees and immigrants into Australia.

D.O.B. // 1937
DATE INTERVIEWED // 20-11-2012
COUNTRY OF BIRTH // LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
COUNTRIES LIVED IN // UNITED KINGDOM, AUSTRALIA
DATE OF ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIA // 1963
KIND OF ENTRANCE // IMMIGRANT

Terence came to Australia in 1963 on the ‘Ten Pound Passage.’ This was part of the wider ‘White Australia Policy. A quarter of British migrants chose to return to the UK, but half of these-the so-called ‘Boomerang Poms’-returned to Australia.

I came to Australia in 1963 on the ‘Ten Pound Passage’, when they were wanting to populate Australia.  They had the ‘White Australia Policy’ at that time.  Being sort of adventurous, I came out with a friend and we saw a bit of Australia at the time. We had to get a job, but jobs were hard come by.

There were some difficulties with living in Australia. There’s a lot of feeling.  I experienced it in a very bad way. I worked as a linesman for PMG (Postmaster-General’s Department) at the time and a chap said, ‘I hate Poms!.’ He made life hell for me.

We struggled like every young pair that came out. We did without newspapers, we only had a radio and walked to work.

Today Australia is better because of multiculturalism. See … this week, this street here we’re gonna have a street party in all Kootenai Drive. Everyone is welcome and they are going to have a bar-b-que on Saturday from 4:30 to 8:30. It’s so people get to know each other