I’ve never been to Australia, but I know many of those who read this will have been there, either to visit relatives or for a holiday. Maybe you even live there? But this week my mind has been very much focused on Australia for a very good reason: Because of what was happening in my family seventy years ago.
If you’ve read my book A Kangaroo In My Sideboard, you will understand what I mean. On the 29th of October 1949, my parents and my sister first set foot on Australian soil in Fremantle, Western Australia. It was not their final destination, but it was their first taste of what they hoped was to come. Sadly, the reality brought something very different. That was not Australia’s fault. The blame for the misconceptions comes down to human failings that we all encounter even today.
They were promised things that could not be delivered. They were given false assurances that their hard work would be rewarded. They were left stateless and in debt by someone they had trusted.
That kind of story might sound familiar, because there are still many of us out there lured into ventures at our own (unexpected) expense by others who happily spread misery through their own actions. So be warned! It can be a cruel world out there.
But then the opposite is also true.
Through research into writing my parents’ story I came across some Australians who were prepared to be supportive and industrious with their generosity. And next March, seventy years to the day since Mollie, Eric and Susan Veale arrived in the little community of Delamere SA, their son and little brother will be there to shake hands with the current residents. It’s a big thing for me. I’ve had this trip on my bucket list for over thirty years, and you might wonder why it has taken me this long. Suffice to say the time has not been right before now. But this week the flights are booked and the hunt for that sideboard is well and truly on!
Anyone feel a sequel coming?
Need to know:
I don’t just write fiction.