As a teenager, seventeen at my last birthday, I had my own cabin aboard. Landfall at Fremantle was special. As I balanced downwards from the vessel at berth, the Sydney lady I shared my cabin with brushed past me with a hurried ‘excuse me’, reached land well before me, bent down to kiss the ground, then turned to me and said. ‘Welcome to Australia, my dear’, embracing me. She then spread her arms wide towards my parents and two little sisters who had followed me, as if to envelope all four of them in one hug, repeating her ‘Welcome to Australia!’ with a smile as big as the new country. We arrived in Adelaide, on the 22nd December 1950. Acquaintances from the immediate post war era, refugees from Eastern Europe, who had preceded us to Australia by several months, had secured our first ‘home’ in Australia for us. Places for rent were extremely hard to procure, almost impossible for families with three children. It was a tiny, one room asbestos hut with a dirt floor in the kitchen corner, the table legs bathing in jam tins filled with water, ‘to stop the ants’, the landlady assured us. ‘Your laundry has to be done outside’, she explained, ‘you light the fire under the copper to boil your whites …’ My mother shook her head incredulously, glancing around us at the dry bushscape. She understood well enough, but could not believe what she heard. ‘And do be careful of snakes’, the landlady warned over her shoulder, as she left us in this raw paradise. As dusk crept into the bush, the air was still and heavy with the warmth of the day. The dense dry foliage surrounding us on the hilly slope where we were had the brittleness of straw and looked as inflammable, or more so, as the heady smell of eucalyptus oil threatened. ‘No laundry for a while’, my wise mother said. There were no houses or cottages nearby in this Garden of Eden .The Eden Hills railway siding was a few minutes’ away, a cross-country walk, Blackwood a long bushwalk on a dusty gravel road, a track really,

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