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Pat Thomas, English Migrant, & Amy McCloskey, 1955
Image: Leaflet - You Must Have a Chest X-Ray
Source: Museum Victoria
Amy McCloskey was a young Sydney woman in her late 20s she when she and a friend decided to go on a 'working holiday' to England in 1954. As she was a trained nurse she was able to work in this field in London and a year later, when she had saved her fare home, she decided to return to Australia. Amy left London on the Orient Line ship the SS Orontes in May 1955. On her first night on board she met Percival Alfred (Pat) Thomas.
Pat was 34 years old (he was born on 6 December 1920), a trained librarian and was immigrating to Australia. Pat felt there was limited potential to move up in his field in England, and a female cousin who had immigrated to Australia had told him of the opportunities available here. Family responsibilities kept him in England, he was looking after his elderly parents and an aunt, but once they had passed away his brother encouraged him to 'take the plunge' and move to Australia. Pat applied to Australia House in London for assistance but was rejected and had to pay his own fare. He also made contact with a librarian group in Melbourne before he left; Amy stated that 'he came out with the idea of succeeding'.
Amy and Pat struck up a friendship and had dinner together every night on the voyage. Most of the immigrants were put in the bottom half of the ship but Pat was on E Deck like Amy because he had paid his own fare.
Amy recalls that it was a great, fun life on board and felt the Australian Government had set things up very well for the immigrants travelling out, except that families were broken up when males and females were separated. One night she and her friend won a prize, an ashtray with an image of the Orontes, at a 'Fancy Dress' competition when they dressed as 'Siamese Twins'.
On arrival in Australia immigration officials came on board and checked that everyone had their small pox vaccination. In Melbourne Pat left the ship and Amy returned to Sydney. However they corresponded and Pat visited Amy in Sydney.
Pat stayed with his cousin in Melbourne and then got his first job, as a librarian at Sunshine Library. He then worked at Ballarat Library and helped set up the Malvern Library. In 1958 Amy and Pat decided to get married, Amy moved to Melbourne where the couple lived in Noble Park. They had two children and often returned to England by ship for holidays. Pat retired in 1982 and passed away on 19 October 1996. Amy paid for a memorial case in Pat's name to go into the Reading Room at the State Library.
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Postcard with a black and white image of the the RMS Orontes manufactured for the Orient Line. It was given to Percival Alfred (Pat) Thomas on the SS Orontes, in 1955. Pat migrated to A ...Images: 1
Programme 'The Red Sea Meeting' manufactured for the Orient Line. The programme was used on the SS Orontes, for a race meeting held onboard the ship on 11 June 1955. It was given to Per ...Images: 4
Booklet titled 'Preliminary Embarkation Instructions' published by the Orient Line. The booklet contains information regarding baggage, collection of and delivery to steamer, customs ex ...Images: 3
Alternative name: Envelope, wallet. Folder titled manufactured for the Orient Line. The folder contained a passenger ticket and other notices. It was given to Percival Alfred (Pat) Tho ...Images: 3
Silver metal ash tray, which was won as a prize for a 'Fancy Dress' competition on the SS Orontes by Amy McCloskey in 1955. In 1954 Amy and a friend decided to go on a 'working holiday' ...Images: 4
Postcard Folder titled 'Fremantle, the Western Gateway of Australia', Published by Nucolorvue Productions, Mentone, Victoria. It contains 12 full colour views of Fremantle, WA, includi ...Images: 5
Leaflet 'Health and Comfort in Tropical Waters' issued by the Orient Line, 1955. It details what passengers should do regarding health and comfort in tropical waters. It was given to Pe ...Images: 3
'At the Equator' Dinner Menu for the Orient Line ship SS Orontes on the 20 June 1955. It was used by Percival Alfred (Pat) Thomas. Pat migrated to Australia in 1955, on the voyage he st ...Images: 2
Certificate, Crossing the Line, it was given to Percival Alfred (Pat) Thomas on the Orient Line, SS Orontes, in 1955. Pat migrated to Australia in 1955, on the voyage he struck up a fri ...Images: 1
Port of Call information about Pompeii, probably issued by the Orient Line, 1955. It was given to Percival Alfred (Pat) Thomas on the SS Orontes, in 1955. Pat migrated to Australia in 1 ...Images: 6