So We Came

by  Margit de Groot
nom de plume

my mother's account of her 1951 , post war migration, ship journey to Australia.

abstract:   ship voyage from England to Australia, post war Australian migration,  written image  of ship-board life in the late forties, one
woman's personal account, emotions on finding a new life and homeland. Naturalization ceremony. Images of ships' company ticket, terms and conditions

keywords:  Australian post war migration and settlement, ship board life, RMS ORION., ships' ticket, personal account, Orient Line

This article was first type written by my mother in the early sixties, ( it is undated but it would have been written about 1965), and she tried to interest various womens' magazines in publishing it but naturally met with no positive response.  These papers languished at the bottom of a long forgotten drawer untill recently found. She has given me permission to publish it on the marvellous internet for whoever might be interested.

copyright declaration:  copyright of this article is owned by Ralph Klimek  2008
licence:   this article may be freely copied, quoted, referenced , in full and in part ; for all genuine journalistic, historical research, academic or archival purposes.

note for archivists:   this article consists of 12 scanned high resolution images of the original typewritten script.  The plain text will be made available in the fullness of time.

These images are the original typewritten script. You can see the fold lines from where this had been posted to various publishers and politely and firmly rejected, but at least returned to sender! Spelling mistakes were corrected with a kind of white carbon paper. You backspaced over the offending character, inserted Tippex  pigment side down and struck again the offending character key, thus mostly obliterating the mistake. Omissions had to be pencilled in.

the merchant ship RMS orion

Original Postcard Image of the Orient Line ship  RMS ORION

reverse side

Radio Hams might be interested to examine the ships rigging, there appears to be a dipole for 500khzand 2182khz amongst others and the four masts which appear to be carrying a radar. I wonder if this ship had served duty as a troopship ? Radar would have been a very recent innovation to a passenger vessel back then.

Image of the passengers' ticket.  Have a good try and read the amazing legalese. Can you image those immigrants whose command of English language was slightly below  that of an Oxford Don puzzling over just what their rights were ? Try to fathom what clause 21 meant. Whatever its purpose,  I am sure it would have stripped away whatever residual shards of rights you might have had. Note the clauses exempting the Company from acts of God, war, piracy and all known and unknown forms of maritime misfortune !

I think the clause of particular concern was the Companies commitment , after a disaster, to get you to the nearest land, and from there you had to make your own way home!  

I cannot stress enough how precious this little document was to its bearer.

Here is the ships calendar or itinerary.  It called on ports that were within the last gasp of the old British Empire. The information for passengers contains only sundry advice. However , considering modern times, it is extraordinary that the passenger manifest was typeset and given on to all passengers.  This ship had no steerage class, only first class and "B" class. The directions to "B" passengers clearly forbade fraternization with the first class passengers.

calendar and ships itinerary
 (is that an iceberg in the background ?)
calendar and ships itinerary

last dinner aboard shipthey made a special fuss for landfall

modification record
page created with images on
added postcard, fixed html errors
added ships ticket
Mon Jul 14 17:55:03 EST 2008 Mon Jul 21 18:14:41 EST 2008
Tue Aug 12 18:08:51 EST 2008 added information for passengers, manifest