Skip to content
This picture is of my two sisters (Elly and Willy) and myself, Erna on the S.S Zuiderkruis in December 1954. We had docked in Melbourne on our way to our final destination in Sydney, after spending six weeks sailing to Australia via Algiers from our home in the Netherlands. We had already stopped once in Australia - in Fremantle, and upon our arrival in Melbourne, a newspaper photographer came on board and started to take our photo, saying we were "three pretty Dutch girls". It was an exciting moment in our new country. We came from what was then a small country town in the Netherlands, called Tilburg. We lost our father, Cornelis, on the last day of World War Two, as the Allies liberated our town in 1944. My mother, Augusta was left with nine children. She decided to come to Australia to flee war-torn Europe. Two of my older brothers, Harry and Guy went ahead to check Australia out and we followed later. Our eldest sister, Josje, stayed behind in the Netherlands, as she was already engaged to be married. We ended up settling in Toowoomba, Queensland, (Fred, Tony and Bill as well) with all of us moving away as we got married. My mother, Augusta, died in 1989, aged 88, a happy old lady, with many wonderful memories of her time in Australia. Sadly, my sister Elly (left in the photo) died in 1995, so there's only two left of the "pretty Dutch girls".