(Mitchell Librarian 1993-2001, Associate Director State Records NSW 2001-2008 and Director State Records NSW 2008-2012) To come to Australia I had spent every last pound and when I arrived in Fremantle was penniless. Fortunately my sister had come to the rescue and sent me ten pounds, which kept me going for a couple of days. I went to the YMCA in central Perth and asked if anyone knew of any jobs going. As luck would have it, a French company called SHRM in OConner at the back of Fremantle were looking for a forklift truck driver. Despite the fact I had never, ever driven a forklift they employed me on the spot and I started working the following Monday, having arrived in Australia on the Thursday. After a few months of fork lift driving the company asked if I would like to go to Dampier in the Pilbara to work in a construction camp as a kitchen hand. I jumped at the chance and overnight tripled my salary, though the hours were long and the work was hot and hard. I subsequently moved on from that position and started working for Bechtel Pacific at Cape Lambert as a security officer, which I did for about 14 months. Leisure in the Pilbara consisted of drinking jugs of ice cold beer after work and going for swims to cool off in magical places such as Millstream in the Chichester Ranges National Park. Other times we went exploring to Cossack an old port near Roebourne which was very much a ghost town when I was there.
Country of origin: