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Graham Family, Scottish Migrants, 1957

Leaflet - P&O Embarkation Notice, 10/01/1957

Image: Leaflet - P&O Embarkation Notice, 10/01/1957

Source: Museum Victoria

Daniel and Christina Graham migrated to Victoria from Scotland in 1957. Christina was originally from Glasgow and Daniel from Cambuslang, Lanarkshire. They couple were motivated to immigrate due to the lack of opportunities in Scotland - no housing, few jobs and the couple were living in Daniel's father's house in Hallside Village just outside Cambuslang. They initially wanted to immigrate to New Zealand as Daniel's brother had migrated to New Zealand and sent word home as to how wonderful it was. However they couldn't afford the full passage to New Zealand so successfully applied for the ten pound passages to Australia, planning to move to New Zealand later.

They had been married three years and Christina was three months pregnant when they departed on the 'Strathmore' from Tilbury docks in London in 1957. The journey went smoothly until Cape Town when Christina became ill (possibly partly due to her pregnancy). The ship was mostly carrying migrants from the UK. Christina recalls 'you got a lot for 10 pounds!', they Graham's had their own cabin with stewards to bring in breakfasts and run baths. The Strathmore arrived in Melbourne on 12 February 1957.

One arrival they stayed in Moe for three months, with one of Daniel's two cousins who had migrated from Scotland to Australia in 1949. They then bought a house in Moe where Daniel had secured a job with the SEC. He remained there happily for 31 years, starting as a rigger and then moving on to inspection and supervisor roles. They had three children, Alan, Christina and David, all of whom have worked for the SEC - Alan as a draughtsman, Christina in offices and showroom in Moe and Melbourne and David as a linesman. Christina at the local cotton mill.

The Graham's later sponsored Christina's brother and Daniel's brother's family to come out to Australia as well. They have returned to Scotland twice and have never been sorry they decided to migrate. They say their parts of Scotland are no longer the same and everyone has moved on, and that their children have all done well in Australia.

The items they kept from the immigration application process and journey provide a snapshot of the paper trail of the migration process for a standard assisted migrant for the UK in the 1950s. It also provides an entry point into one of the key post-war migrant labour stories in Victoria - the SEC and the La Trobe Valley.

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