Post World War II Migrant Ships: Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt

From 1950 to 1963, the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt was a frequent sight in Australian waters. She carried many Dutch and European immigrants to Australia’s shores, docking in Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney. Many passengers were heading to Australia to escape the aftermath of World War Two, others headed to Australia with a sense of adventure – hoping to begin a new way of life. Whatever the reason, mention of the journey on the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt evokes memories that many of its passengers will never forget.

The Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt, 6 February 1954

The Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt, 6 February 1954.
Photographer: Allan C. Green. Source: State Library of Victoria

Facts at a Glance 

Dimensions: 608 x 74 ft (185.4 x 22.8 m)
Registered Tonnage: 19,787 tons gross
Service Speed: 17 knots
Propulsion: Sulzer diesels / twin screws
Shipping Line: Nederland Line

History of the Ship

The Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt was named in honour of a sixteenth century Dutch statesman who was executed after being accused of treason by his political enemies.

The Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt was the largest diesel-powered ship ever constructed in Holland when she was launched on 3 August 1929. At that time, she provided accommodation for 770 passengers (in four classes) and 360 crew members. Despite an unfortunate beginning –colliding with a Dutch steamer on her maiden voyage – the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt eventually became popular among Dutch immigrants to Australia.

The pride of the Dutch merchant fleet, she was a real luxury liner specifically built to serve the trade route between Holland and Indonesia (then known as the Dutch East Indies). But as the Second World War dawned, she was commanded by the British, and made several journeys to and from Australia, carrying troops to war. It was at this stage in her life that she acquired the nickname of the JVO, a popular title – particularly amongst English speakers.

Immigrant Ship to Australia

In October 1945, the JVO was refurbished and returned briefly to her previous route between Holland and Indonesia, before joining the Australian migrant trade in 1950. With Indonesian independence declared in 1947 (leading to a decline in Dutch nationals travelling to and from the former colony) and Australian immigration at a high, the Nederland Line offered the JVO to the Dutch government for charter. She became an important and well-known part of Dutch-Australian immigration history, making a total of 44 voyages to Melbourne.

Her first immigrant journey departed Amsterdam on 5 September 1950, before arriving in Melbourne on 9 October. She made only two such trips before being refitted especially for the immigrant trade – increasing her accommodation to 1414 passenger berths in a single class – allowing her to carry almost twice as many as her original 770 passengers.

In August 1958, her immigrant charter ended and she was again refitted for travel on a round-the-world service.

Ivan Gaal with friends on board the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt

Ivan Gaal with friends on board the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt
Photographer: unknown. Source: Ivan Gaal, Private Collection

Passenger Experiences of the Journey

The JVO carried thousands of Dutch migrants to Australia – all people with unique experiences and different stories. For many immigrants, the escape from war-torn Europe was a relief.

Anna Campen migrated from Holland in 1954:

The JVO was wonderful, like a holiday, a real adventure. The crew were marvellous and helped organise a variety night. I had done some ballet and offered to perform to the Blue Danube, so a passenger sewed me a ballet costume from an old sheet.

Patricia Smit migrated from Holland in 1959:

'I celebrated my seventh birthday on board and remember the birthday cake arriving at mealtime complete with pineapple on the top.'

The trip was not always smooth sailing, however, with bouts of illness common, particularly in 1952 and 1954.

Peter Geels migrated from Holland in 1952:

'Immediately upon arrival, I was transported to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, suffering from acute gastro which they were having trouble controlling on the ship.'

Her Final Voyage

When her immigration travels came to an end, the JVO continued as a general passenger and cruise ship on Australian routes until 1963. She was then sold to Greek interests, renamed Lakonia and again refitted.

Tragically, only eight months after her renovation, a fire – said to have started in one of her new beauty salons – engulfed the entire ship, causing the loss of 132 lives. The JVO subsequently sunk while under tow back to port.

Further Reading

Baty, S. 1984. Ships That Passed – The Glorious Era of Travel to Australia and New Zealand. Reed Books Pty Ltd. Frenchs Forest.

Plowman, P. 1992. Emigrant Ships to Luxury Liners. New South Wales University Press. Kensington.

Stodden, K. 2003 (October). Appendix A - Tally of Voyages. Prepared for the Ship Reunion Lecture. Immigration Museum, Melbourne.

Comments (294)

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John Javro 10 April, 2009 13:51
Did anyone know that the Johan van oldenbarnevelt had a sister ship called the Marnix van St Aldegonde ? This sister ship was bombed and sank while being used as a troop transport in 1943
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Ray Van Den Nieuwenhof 16 April, 2009 16:43
I turned seven in march 1951 and then salied to Australia and landed in Sydney in May 1951
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Floor Willemse 19 April, 2009 18:35
My aunt was the ship doctor in te year 1958. at 18th octobor of 1958 she helped bring twins to the world. does anyone know anything about that? I 've got a wooden bird with 2 baby's in a "blancet" made by one of the sailors. There are 2 names on it: Maria and Engelina. who can help me?
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Astrid Ottaway (nee Teeuws) 30 March, 2013 13:54
My family were on that ship. My brother was 5 and I was 3. I only remember bits and pieces of the trip. My mother, who is now 85, talked about the ship having to speed to Freemantle once the twins were born. As a result, our family had a few days in Fremantle and Perth to look around before travelling onto Melbourne. I remember the tall white buildings and the blue sky. We then went to Bonegila Immigration Camp on the Hume Weir and settled in Victoria.
Nel Wassenaar 14 May, 2013 20:24
I was on that ship too with my family. I was 6 years old but also remember it. Because of the extra days in Fremantle a soccer game was played between passengers and crew. There is a book about the JvO written by Wim Grund. Names of the twins : Maria and Engelina Visser. There is more about this in the book.Sorry for seeing this a few too late !
John (Jan Willem) van de Meene 14 May, 2013 23:05
I sailed with my family from Sydney to Amsterdam arriving about 20 December 1958 and remember Mieke Willemsen who was one of two doctors on the Johan. She took me under her wing and I, as an almost 10 year old, loved her friendship. She even gave me a lovely book for my birthday. I wish I had kept contact with her longer. I wonder if she is still alive. She came from Venlo in Limburg. I remember the sailors carving and painting the sea gulls.
John van de Meene 14 May, 2013 23:17
I just replied to Floor Willemse who wrote on 19 April 2009. Please send her my response. Thank you
Discovery Centre 24 April, 2009 14:41
Dear Floor - for records of births at sea on ships en-route to Victoria try this search tool available at the State Library of Victoria.
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Terry Martin 2 May, 2009 21:42
In December 1960, the JVO was chartered by the Australian Government, and used to do a "change-over" of service personal, to Penang for the RAAF Base at Butterworth. Passengers included RAAF members and their families, plus single personal. I was one of those singlies ! Had a great trip.
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Steven Davey 25 January, 2013 22:17
My father [warrent officer Jack Davey] and my family also returned from Malaysia on the JVO on this trip. I was 5 years old and recall an exciting trip home to Australia. We hit the tail end of a cyclone in the Coral Sea. The seas were huge and many of the passengers took ill. For their safety the elderly and the young were confined to their cabins and strapped to their bunks for their safety. I have fond memories of this ship and the voyage. Steve Davey
Hans de Rycke 29 May, 2009 12:39
I sailed on the JVO in 1961 from Rotterdam to Australia, to disembark in Sydney, after a marvellous journey of which I still have fond memories Hans
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Joanne Ward 29 May, 2009 23:01
For Ray Van den Nieuwenhof. I sailed on the JVO on the same voyage as you. I turned 6 in March 1951 and my Maiden Name was Joke Nieuwhof.
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Toni Rynaard 30 May, 2009 16:53
Kona Dirk Toni Jenny and Dirk Jnr all sailed on the JVO from Amsterdam to Port Melbourne arrived on Melb August 1956
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Joe Duyvestyn 27 November, 2013 22:31
My family came to Victoria in 1954 on the JvO. We settled in Tyabb and I believe the Rynaard family settled in Crib Point. I am the same age as Dirk Junior.
Fred Vanderbom 16 June, 2009 23:02
My family were on the same voyage as Ray Van Den Nieuwenhof and Toni Raynaard; I turned 6 4 months after arriving in Sydney on May 5. This was a notorious voyage, starting badly when arson attempts forced the JvO to turn around in the English Channel to allow the Dutch Police to investigate. Some sailed with her and there was no further trouble. The culprits and reason were never found. After this voyage the ship was rebuilt for migrants, and my wife (now) came out on the next trip, leaving early 1952.
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Margaret Jansen 9 July, 2009 06:48
I sailed from the Netherlands to New York when I was 9 years old on the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt in August/September 1957. My whole family of 6 children with my parents ended up in Oakland, California.
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Christine Bothma 14 July, 2009 16:09
My parents and sister emigrated to Australia on this ship, landing in Fremantle January, 1955. Their surname was Pfefferkorn. Anybody else on this trip?
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Francis 10 November, 2013 00:24
My family was on this ship in July 1955. My Mom and Dad had 8 children and one on the way.The oldest was 10 years old and the youngest 1year old. I was 7 years old. I had my 8th birthday on the ship. I do have some memories of the trip, but no names.We arrived in Melbourne and ended up for a few years in Ballarat. We then moved to the city of Melbourne.We went back to Holland in 1967 for 4 years and I came to live in Canada and my family went back again to Australia, except for two of my sisters.
Monica illgen 11 January, 2014 00:09
My Nanna was on this journey, landing in Melbourne January 1955 - her surname then was Zeissner
Diana Ferguson 27 July, 2009 00:22
My mother aged 17years (Theodora Robbers travelled to Australia with her parents - Johan and Cato Robbers(Anna Maria Catrina Nee:Addicks)and brothers and sister around 17th January -landing 5th march 1952. They came to Australia after Johan was displaced from the workforce by returning servicemen. They had a choice in a government program as to wether they would like to go to Australia or Canada.
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Maria Andersen 11 August, 2009 12:08
I thought the information about the JVO was fascinating, I immigrated from Holland with my parents on the ship while I was a mere one and a half years old. The stories I heard from my parents was minimal but the ones they did tell me were happy ones, apart from when they told me that I was a rogue child and thought it was funny biting other children. It turned out that someone in the crew put me in a play pen to save the other children.
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Maria Andersen 11 August, 2009 12:15
I forgot to mention in my last comment, that we came to Australia in 1958 and it was just my parents Thea And Gerrit Versteeg and myself.
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Philip Overduin 18 August, 2009 21:35
I arrived with my parents and younger brother in Sydney either late March or early April 1955. I recall I had turned 6 a week or so before landing at Sydney. I recall being seasick in the early stages of the voyage and then when we reached the Suez my parents bought a Fez and a leather footrest with many colourful images printed on it. This latter item stayed with us for almost 30years and was much treasured connection to our trip. As we got closer to Australia myself and another young boy seemed to get into more and more trouble as we explored our way around the ship finding many different ways two 5 year olds could worry their parents.
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Andre van der Ploeg 20 August, 2012 17:43
me and my family would have been on the same journey.my parents and six children arrived in Melbourne on the 12/april/1955..I was 8y/o.
Piet Te Nuyl 12 May, 2013 21:22
I wrote and Stated that we Arrived in 1956 but my Wife Reminded me that we left in March of 1955 and theit was still snow around when we left from Amsterdam with my Father Herman Mother Petronella Sister Loesje Brother Theo other Brother Herman and myself Piet we stopped in Port Said and Aden and stopped at the first Port in Australia which was Frementle and then our Final Port for us was Port Melbourne where our Sponsers Mynheer and Mevrouw Mulder and they took us to Ocean Gove where we stayed for about 1 Year and the we moved to Queenscliff where my Father got a Job with Shell in Geelong where we stayed for abot 2 Years and then Finally we moved to Brisbane where I lived for 15 Years and then my Parents decided to move to Townsville in Queensland and I followed 1 year later in 1971 just 2 Weeks before Cyclone Althea hit and I never forget what the hell we Walked into as half of Townsville was destroyed but I'm still here 40 Years Later
Jason Arkeveld 21 August, 2009 14:41
My father recalls removing the fitting keeping the desk chairs fixed. He slid along the decks with the swell - aged 8 - 1952
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Fred Weber 22 August, 2009 09:13
We sailed from Holland to Australia in 1956 arriving in Sydney 21/8/56 I was 9 I enjoyed every minute we settled in Brisbane.
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Joke Ward (Nieuwhof) 23 August, 2009 15:25
In reference to the comments from Fred Vanderbom, I also remember the arson attempts on that voyage and I remember the return of the JVO to Ijmuiden. There were crowds of relatives on the shore with banners and signs as the passengers could not leave the ship. Does anyone remember the occurrance of the death of a child when we had almost reached Australia? I would be interested in anyone's comment on this.
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Anna Cornelia Maria Flynn-Dolle 11 November, 2012 17:39
My family also were on the JVO when it returned to Ymuiden because of fires on board. Our relatives came to see us at Ymuiden, my mother sobbed at the railing when we saw our grandmother standing on the shore. It was all very distressing to have to say farewell our homeland twice! I had my 12th birthday on the ship. I remember the child that died just before arrival in Sydney. She was gravely ill, her father was already in Sydney and the mother hoped that the child would survive to see her father on arrival in Sydney but the child did not make it. She was buried at sea.
John Hengstmengel 31 August, 2009 12:07
My family arrived in Melbourne on the Johan van Oldenbarneveldt on the 6th of Febuary 1954. The family cosisted of my Father Johannes aged 40 Mother Elizabeth 38 brother Marinus 18 sister Elizabeth 11 and myself Johannes aged 6 we then went to Bonegilla.
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Willy Masters 6 October, 2012 13:51
I made a mistake in my year about migrating on the JVO to Melbourne, it was 1954 not 1945, sorry about that got it back to front. We arrived in Melbourne in Aprill. We had a great time on JVO.Our surname was Snijder, and two siblings surname Van Den Ham.There were 5 children.
Fred Zuiderduyn 12 July, 2013 19:04
John, we must hve been on the same journey. Left Amsterdam january 6 (I think,) reached Fremantle February 2, Melbourne Feb 6, then we flew to Hobart Feb 7. Do you remember the crew member who jumped overboard near the equator? He was miraculesly pulled out of the water 4 hours later and survived
ag henry van den broek. 16 January, 2014 06:44
henry van den broek. hi all . I to was on the jvo and remember someone falling overboard the search lights in the night and the boat reversing or going about. I did not know the outcome interesting that he survived .we came as a family mum dad and five kids under 10,i was the eldest, and really enjoyed the voyage .we also spent some time at Bonegilla with the snakes and red back spiders and then to the Nunawading hostel for a few years. cheers
Gerrie Ort-Schuitenvoerder 8 September, 2009 00:54
Are you able to inform me about the passengerlist of the m.s. Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, leaving Djakarta-Tandjong Priok (Ind) 21 juli 1950 and arived the 17th of august 1950 at Amsterdam?
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Discovery Centre 8 September, 2009 13:49

Hello, Gerrie. The most likely repository for shipping lists to the Netherlands is the Nationaal Archief of that country, which has an English-language search tool at its website. Good luck with your research!

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Willem Roth 16 September, 2009 22:18
With my parents Huib & Janna Roth and my younger brother Daan and sister Lien we departed from Amsterdam 14.8.1952 and landed in Fremantle 11.9.1952.Settled in Albany,W.A.where most of the family still resides.I was 10.6 years old when we arrived,am now 67.I am a funeral director in Albany.As a family we enjoyed the voyage on the JVO very much.Anyone else on this trip ?
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Maria (Zonneveld) McKenna 17 September, 2009 17:44
On the 1st April 1954 we boarded the immigration ship the Johan van Oldenbarneveld en route to the land of milk and honey – Australia. I, aged 5, emigrated with my Father, Mother, sister Susan aged 3, sister Margaret aged 2 and brother Theo aged 8 months. Although we all have a good life here now, times were very difficult for my parents. I think migration rips out your heart and soul and destroys extended families.
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Hank Kemme 19 April, 2013 16:17
I also had the pleasure to sail on the JVO 1st of april 1954 from my birthplace to Melbourne when I was 21, now in my 80th year still reflecting on that journey, how many passengers left I often wonder? Maria your parents made that move primarely for your sakes I'am sure.
Jenny Whitelaw 29 September, 2009 09:04
In 1943 during WW2, I travelled with my mother and sister from India to Melbourne via the South Cape t live with my father's family; my father (an Australian) had died in an accident. I had my second brthday on board, my sister was 3. My only memories are of slipping off highly polished leather couches.
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Vera Robinson (nee Steeneken) 8 October, 2009 11:40
My mother and I sailed in the JVO to Wellington NZ in late September 1959. We stopped at Port Said, Colombo, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney en route. We met two very nice Australian women on the ship: Elaine from Perth and the other whose name I forget, from Queensland. I wonder where they are now?
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Adriana Coppens 9 October, 2009 23:50
I travelled to Fremantle on the JVO, arriving in June 1952, accompanied by my parents, Johannes and Marie, and my younger sister, Annemieke. I was only 2 years old and my sister only 1 so I don't really remember anything about the voyage. According to one of my father's letter home to Holland the ship was a floating palace. My mother and I both suffered from sea sickness. The early years in Australia were difficult for my parents but they didn't regret emigrating.
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John Burggraaff 5 March, 2013 15:09
THat's the voyage my family were also on. I well remember the crossing of the Bay of Bisqea ? during the storm. One of the engineers made breakfast for his gang and me. The catering staff as well as most of the people on board were teribly sea sick. NOT ME. I turned 12 on board at Freemantle WA.
Andrea Reid 14 October, 2009 21:14
I was 4 years old and came to Sydney NSW Australia from Rotterdam The netherlands/Holland on the "Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt" in 1959 with my parents...
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Andrea Reid 15 October, 2009 17:04
My Mother Johanna Francisca de Bruin/Visser, my father Mijndert Visser and myself Andrea Visser came to Sydney Australia from Rotterdam Holland on the JVO in 1959 and I was Baptised on the ship on the way over..
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Saskia 3 October, 2012 07:01
Hi Andrea, I am related to your father. My grandfather was Arie, his brother. Son of Arie Visser and Whilhelmina Guest. Are you still looking into the geneology? I would be happy to share what we have so far
Fred Vanderbom 29 October, 2009 23:06
In reference to Joke Ward (Nieuwhof): my parents told me that this child died from a measles epidemic which broke out during the voyage. It was quite a voyage! I was 5 years old, the oldest of my parents' 4 children at the time, and we were all very sick on arrival in Sydney late on 4 May: I remember we all had to be carried ashore!
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Gordon White 30 October, 2009 14:35
My wife came out on the first trip in 1950. She was 6 years old. She landed in Melbourne with her father,Adriaan Cornelis Daniëlse, her mother,Cornelia Daniëlse and two younger sisters Cornelia and Marianna. The only thing she recalls is travelling through the Suez Canal and being terrified of the men waering a fez.
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Ria van Altenborg 8 November, 2009 01:43
I came with my (then) husband on the JVO. We left Amsterdam on the 7th October 1959, arriving in Melbourne in November 12(?). A passenger (heartattack) and a sailor (accident)died on the same day in the Indian Ocean. I had appendicitis and was adviced not to leave the ship in Fremantle. We lived in Adelaide till 1969 when I returned to Nederland.
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m.willems 8 November, 2009 17:48
My mother (Still alive at 96 -in Oct 2009) and father together, with my two sisters (Sophia and Gerda) arrived on the JVO on 17 August, 1956. I was 9 years old and spent most of the 6 week trip being very sick! On the Monday following our arrival in Melbourne, I was forced to go to school -knowing not a single iota of English and was soon introduced to serious discipline by way of the strap by the nuns! It hurt! Since 1968 I have moved to Queensland and live on the Gold Coast. I recall all the tanks facing each other across the Suez Canal.
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Elisabeth Almering 16 November, 2009 11:49
I arrived in Australia on the JVO on the 21st January 1951. I was 6 years old. I would love to hear from anyone who arrived in Australia during 1951 on the JVO, especially if you live in South Australia. A friend and I are trying to organise a 60 year reunion of those people who arrived in australia during that time.
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Jacoba Beurs 14 August, 2012 20:51
You must have been on the JVO the same time as my family. We left the nether lands in December and arrived in Jan 51 I had my 9th birthday in Australia Regards Jackie
Rudi Broekhuizen 24 August, 2012 22:31
Hi Elisabeth I was on the same trip at age 9 with my parents and siter aged 2. We were supposed to travel onto either Melbourne or Sydney (can't remember which) but my father decided that we would all disembark in Fremantle. So that would have been in early Jan 51. Regards Rudi
francesca Odonnell 20 November, 2009 23:02
i came here on jvb, in 57, we left holland on my mums birthday,12th feb. 6weeks later got to australia, i had a ister and a baby brother, i was not quite 5yrs old but remember some of trip like it was yesterday, we landed in melbourne, and lived mostly in victoria, till now, thx fran.
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Aletta Dogterom 21 December, 2013 21:57
Francesca, we a Fam. of 6 shared that journey with you, leaving The Netherlands on the 12 Feb. 1957. For me a 15 year old it was a great adventure.
Peter Pex 11 December, 2009 23:50
Peter Pex We boarded the Johan van Oldenbarneveld in Amsterdam August 1954 and departed with my family for Sydney Australia. My family consisted of my two Sisters, Brother and my Parents, my Uncle and his wife with my 3 Cousins, 2 girls and one boy. We travelled through the Suez Canal and our first destination was Port Said. The local traders were allowed to come onboard and their paddle their goods. I remember because I bought a leather camel’s whip from one of them. As a fourteen year old I thought that I was invincible and I was looking for an adventure so I proceeded to walk into Port Said alone to do some sight seeing. As walked down the main street I found a Mosque further down town. I actually went inside the Mosque and even to this day I don’t’ know how I got away with it, I didn’t even remove my shoes. In hind -side I was a very lucky boy not to have been harmed in any way. You can imagine my parents giving me a lecture as I walked up the gangplank later that day. They had been worried sick. At the time all along the Suez Canal there were lots of skirmishes going on between the British and Arabs. As I remember all the women and girls had go below and out of sight as some of the tribesmen were exposing themselves just to get a reaction. Footnote: Because I was fourteen and keen to do anything to stop the boredom I befriended the onboard stewards and asked if I could help them with making beds and various other duties. As this took place I travelled in many places inside the J Van O where not many of the passengers would have been allowed. So I considered myself a very lucky young fellow. It was a great trip.
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Annemieke Pieters 13 June, 2013 19:28
Hello, I think you were a very adventurous boy... Just read your story.. I am trying to find out which ship I came to Australia with. both my parents are passed so there is no way I can ask anyone now...well I can ask my uncle, will see if he can remember anything.. not many left anymore..:-(
Elizabeth Walter 13 December, 2009 22:22
Our family (parents Johannes and Maria van Es and three children) travelled on the same ship as Christine Bothma. As we arrived in Melbourne approximately 10th of April, 1955 I wonder if her date of arrival in Fremantal is accurate.I would be interested if someone could verify the date.
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Cas Aarts 16 December, 2009 10:11
I sailed on the JVO, arriving in Sydney in May 1951, before flying to Auckland, NZ on a TEAL Solent flying boat. I was 4, and travelled with my mother Henrica (Reik) Aarts-Keeren and my sisters, Maria (7) and Jeanne (5).
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Laszlo Pal 25 December, 2009 09:52
Very intresting that all the comments are for the Australia trip I a Hungarioan Refugee came to Canada arriving at Halifax from Rotterdam on the JVO leaving on May,20,1957, arrriving May 29,1957 one day before my 12th Birth day. Great adventure! all my family members were ill most of the way, I was fine and had a great time. We hit a storm in the north atlantic, with small icebergs floating by " I havent heard of the Titanic" untill later years. I crawlwd out over the sea on the I beam of one of the lifeboats, and slipped, a miracle saved me from falling in the ocean, I would not be writing this if i fell! Scared the living daylights out of me, but in retrospect it was a great adventure, and my buddies thought I was Cool for doing it? We were re routed from going to our original destination of Australia, because the ship suffered damage in a huge storm coming back from Aaustralia and the time schedule for her trips was derailed. So the Dutch government who chartered the boat changed the route after a hasty refit, and we wound up in Canada! Thank You Dutch Government!Who treated us so well in all respects, and I have fond memories of our stay there. I was not looking forward to Sheep Farming in the outback where we were being sent, and I dont handle hot climates well. I guess you could call it Fate! Nothing against Australia, but I prefer cool Alberta Canada.
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Marjanna Jones 4 January, 2010 14:30
On 15th Dec 1950 my father Cornelis(Kees) Augusteijn,my mother Janna, brothers Robert,Cornelis (Ken) and Rudolf and my self borded the JVO for Australia. I believe we disembarked 17th Jan 1951 - my 1st birthday - in Melbourne but after reading another post maybe they arrived in Fremantle Australia on 17th Jan. I have 2 photos taken on this journey. They were self funded migrants. After living in Traralgon for almost 2yrs they moved to Brisbane where my father built up a successful house painting business. They moved to the Gold Coast in 1967 where they lived till their deaths in 2002 & 2004.
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Jen Bakker 28 April, 2013 19:59
My father, Antonius Bakker, arrived in Melbourne on the JVO in March 1952. He was 20 and had just demobbed from the Marines. He remembers a lot of the crew being seasick, and as he was navy man, he made quite a good salary helping out in the boat during the voyage. He often wonders where all the passengers he made friends with ended up..
Christine Splithof Lawry 19 January, 2010 15:54
My parents left Holland,bound for Australia,Aloysius Splithof and wife,Catherina Splithof De Reus and five small children to make a new life for themselves in 1950,arriving in Sydney,13 october 1950 aboard the JVO.It took 6 weeks to get here and were taken to the Bathurst Migrant Camp.A man came to see my Father and asked him if he would like a job farming and Dad accepted.He was given a house to live in,but some months later they had a disagreement and Dad found other work with another farmer a few kilometers up the road.He was given another small cottage to live in and eventually bought it and 6 acres for 200 pounds.That was their home for 55yrs.He grew lots of Tulips,Daffodils,Gladyoli,Roses and other flowers.They had 3 more children born in the 1950's,I being one of them.In 2002 they moved into Orange.My Dad passed away in 2004,my Mum will turn 90 in october 2010.My parents have always been proud Australians.
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C Schubert 20 January, 2010 17:55
Amongst the many leaving Holland my parents Theo & Maria Sterk left Amsterdam for Australia on 1 April 1958. The passenger list is extensive.
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Michael Cummins 24 January, 2010 18:30
I was 17 year old student traveling with a YMCA group from Sacramento, CA to Europe aboard the m.v. "Johan van Oldenbarnevelt" from Hoboken, New Jersey, to Southampton in June 1958. Our dates were to be 23 June-2 July, but the ship lost its starboard propeller beyond the point of return to Hoboken and we arrived to debark in England 5 July. We were offload on small boats near Cowes, Isle of Wight and taken to Southamptom. The ship continued to the Netherlands. I see no reference to this accident at sea in what I have read so far, but it must explain the ship's refit later in 1958. I have great memories of the voyage and items collected in my treasured scrapbook!
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Laurence Solvyns 25 January, 2010 10:17
Most of you are from the voyages in the 50s. My family came from Belgium, parents with 8 children, 4 girls and 4 boys. I was in the middle aged 12 and had my birthday on board the JVO. We left Rotterdam on April 7 1961 (my fathers birthday) on our way to Sydney and arruived on may 21 I think... What an incredible trip in those days traveling in a very hot un airconditioned ship but a lot of fun and freedom for us all. All brothers and sisters are still in Australia with some of us grand parents, Our parents passed away but we are very gratefull for a great sacrifice they made to give us all a new life in a new country as now we are Australians. Some of us have on many occasions returned to Belgium to visit family and some of them have come to visit us but non of us have gone back to live. Migrating with 8 kids was not easy but a lot great memories and next year we celebrate our 50th year.
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FAYE CHAPMAN 2 February, 2010 22:55
My father Richard John Armstrong went to war on the JVO in 1942. He became a POW in Changi for 3 1/2 yearsreturning home late 1945. he is now in a nursing home and will be 90 later this year. I have a copy of the scarf he signed when he boarded this ship
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Emrys Harries 19 February, 2010 02:35
To Floor Willemse: My wife Barbara was one of twins born on board, in mid Atlantic between Bermuda and the UK. The actual date was 18th December 1959. The other twin, Elizabeth, died before they reached Southampton, UK.
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Nel Wassenaar 14 May, 2013 20:40
Your wife must have been of another twin. I was on the same trip as Floor Willemse. Twins were born on 18-10-1958, very sure about that. The Visser twins were TV news then !
jennifer devlin 11 March, 2010 23:09
we left Southhampton on the 17'th of April & sailed on the JVO landing in Fremantle on the 11th of May 1960.We had a sad death of an Australian serviceman returning to Australia with his wife & small son I think her name was Val Our surname was Mcfadden
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Louise Evans 3 August, 2013 19:12
This was the ship journey I was on, with my large family from Holland. I remember Southhampton, cold and wet that morning! I remember the death of a person and his buriel.We played with a lot of kids on that trip, Dutch, English, French... it was heaps of fun!
Anthony van Duuren 8 April, 2010 16:56
My dad (Johannas) came to Australia on the JVO. Left the Netherlands on 02 april 1959, arrived 08 may 1959. He was 15, travelled with his parents and little brother (Jacobus).
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anneke blok-menke 14 April, 2010 17:04
Our family left A'dam on the 1st of April 1958 (my parents and my 5 brothers).I was 18 and on the morning we left, the news came through that the Skaubryn had caught fire in the Indian Ocean. By the time we reached Aden, we were told that lots of the Skaubryns passengers would be boarding the JVO. They had lost everything, they were mainly from Germany, Yugoslavia and a girl I befriended came from Finland with her family. We had a terrific time on board with lots of young people. Although our final destination was Sydney, we had to disembark in Melbourne, because the JVO had to sail to Indonesia. We arrived in Melb. on the 4th of May 1958 and the next day we were put on the train to Sydney about 12.00 noon. We got our dinner at Albury station, our fist taste of pumpkin, mashed potatoes and sausages! It was freezing during the night and no heating in the train. We arrived in Sydney at 6.00am and were put on a train to Strathfield, where my Mum's brother and family lived. A few years later I met my husband Hans Blok who also came on the JVO in April 1955, and this week we celebrate that he is 55 years in Australia, where has the time gone!
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Joseph Nillissen 16 April, 2010 21:00
She was a beauty, my family when back from Melbourne to Rotterdam in 1963, I was only 8 years old, I will never forget, that we left port (round window) open during the night in our cabin, that we woke up standing in 5 cm of water. But she didn't care, we made it.
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Albert Groot 12 October, 2012 04:49
1963 I was as crew on the ship that year. You must have been on her last trip as the ship sink that year.
Aart KOP 17 April, 2010 19:48
As for Elzabeth Almering I also arrived in Sydney on the 21st of January 1951 I wa 5 years olsd and turned 6 tenday after arriving and had to go to school and could not speak a word of english
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hans ter beek 21 April, 2010 12:27
also arrived in may 1951 age 12 with mother,father and older brother. also had fires on board and had to return to amsterdam for investigation for cause of fires. i still have a food menu from the trip. also remember the beautiful woodwork on the staircases.
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Justine van Eyl 23 April, 2010 15:32
Is there anyone who remembers the name of my late husband Jan van Eyl (Eijl) amongst the passengers on the JVO from Holland to Australia? I know it was in the early to mid fifties but would dearly like to know the exact date. I believe that a couple named Peter and Loekie van Arkel also came on that same voyage. Maybe someone remembers the names or has a passenger lists they can check. I have heard lots of stories about that JVO trip -one of the worst being that on arrival in Australia many passengers lost all their luggage to clever thieves waiting on shore! Some may recall that happening and tell me what year that was--. I myself did not arrive until around 10 years later with the ORANJE in 1963.
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Justine van Eyl 23 April, 2010 17:30
Well--after I had written and submitted the above comment I discovered how great this website really is! And yes I found the answer to my question. It is 1954. Still--I might get an answer from people who remember Jan. That would be nice. Thank you Museum Victoria.
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Willy Masters 25 August, 2012 14:27
I also arrived in Melbourne on the JVO in Aprill 1945, family name Snijders. There were 7 of us all up, 2 children with the surname Van den Ham, the other 3 surname Snijders.I would like to hear from any one who found the ships list of people"s names round that time.
Emil Veld 28 April, 2010 00:04
migrated too australia 1951. not sure what month but having read other comments must have been may. my parents did mention about having to turn back because of a fire on board believed to be arson. my parents (dad - dutch. mum - polish)migrated with three children with me being the second eldest born 14/01/49. we were supposed to land in melbourne but evidently i was too ill and we ended up in sydney. dad and mum (both deceased) always said this was a beautiful country and would never want to live back in holland. this is hard to believe as they they really did it tough and were plauged with bad luck and ill health. elisabeth almering - are you still trying to get interested parties for a reeunion? are you only interested in january 1951 arrivals or any JVO passengers?
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Gerard Jager 15 May, 2010 23:59
In 1959 I sailed round the world on the JVO. On July 24/25 we suffered one of the worst hurricanes in maritime history just off Fremantle.
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Alasdair Shearer 16 May, 2010 16:32
to Jennifer Devlin- My father (now 82) remembers this death. We were on the same journey in April 1960 (I was 4) and the fellow died from a cerebral haemorrhage. He was either an Australian or a New Zealand naval officer on secondment to the Royal Navy. The ships doctor was quite inexperienced with deaths and my father remembers that an Australian surgeon who was a passenger on the ship had to assist him with the body. The poor naval officer was buried at sea and my father remembers seeing his wife later in the voyage. It must have been dreadful for her. All I remember of the voyage was seeing a young boy in either Port Said or Aden diving for coins that we threw off the launch taking us to shore.
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Albert Kleverlaan 20 May, 2010 16:38
I migrated as a 16 year old from Amst. with my parents and 8 siblings and sailed on the JVB in Oct 1957 to Melbourne. I was offered employment to assist Peter Foeken the on board photographer. Very interesting work and good fun, never bored. I would love some feedback from anyone that remembers our small photo shop top deck, at the bow of the ship. Thank you also Imm. Museum Vic.
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Tom Plaizier 23 May, 2010 20:25
We travelled on the JVO leaving Amsterdam on 9th June 1955 and arriving in Melbourne on 12th July. I was 16 years old and came with my parents Wim Plaizier and Ali Plaizier and 4 brothers and one 2 year old sister. My father nearly died on board from food poisoning. There was a shortage of crew/staff and some of the migrants were invited to work for money during the trip. I worked for a week in the kitchen helping with the washing and drying of dishes and cutlery. It was one of the last trips through the Suez Canal as soon after war broke out in the area and the canal was blocked. I now live in Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains of NSW.
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Sarah H 1 June, 2013 13:58
Hi, My grandparents came to Australia on the JVO in July 1955 - this sounds like it may have been the same trip? I'm trying to find any information, pictures, documentation thigh have been unsuccessful... Do you have any ideas or advice? Crossing my fingers.
sandra hagenbeek 29 August, 2013 21:23
hi my grandpartents came to australlia on the jvo in 1955.i think it was on the same trip. my mum came back to the Netherlands but I still have lots of family in australlia.I tryring to find out any information but that is really hard from the Netherlands.
Francis Laaper ( de Kroon. 10 November, 2013 00:41
I was one of the sisters to Sandra Mother. I was 7 years old, I turned 8 on the ship.I do remember a bit, but not a lot. All I remember that my family of 10 including my Mom and dad sang a lot. My Dad always played his mouth organ. I as a child had lots of fun.
Gerard de Jong 26 May, 2010 22:32
I left Holland on the JVO on 12th Feb 1957 and as a 12yr old boy had a wonderful trip with my mother and siblings,we settled in Adelaide, I have a lovely painting of the ship which I treasure.
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truus van leeuwen roos 6 June, 2010 18:07
we did leave Holland on the 11th of April 1960 for new Zealand with our son Hans.and landed in wellington We also had a interested trip and are glad we got to new Zealand savely
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Willemine Lieuwes 24 March, 2014 06:53
found your message from long ago.. hope one still find this message... am curious where you came from in HOlland, (for the genealogy) thank you Willemine
Edward Kraa 8 June, 2010 12:57
My parents and siblings (2 sisters & a brother)arrived on the JVO in Sydney in 1951, presumably in May as they were put onto a train to Bathurst Migrant Camp arriving to a place colder than Holland. My father hitch-hicked to Brisbane whee he got a job and was able to bring the family up to Brisbane. I was born in Brisbane in December 1951.
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Astrid O'Neill 19 August, 2013 01:07
Edward Kraa's eldest sister was Annemarie Kraa. She died in Adelaide this year on 31 March 2013, as Annemarie Kraa-Middleton, aged 74 years. At that time she was living in Middleton, SA (the surname and place name similarities are coincidental)..
joe vinks 9 June, 2010 06:05
My Dad Jan Vinks and his brother Ton arrived in Sydney in May 1951 on the JVO. He told the story too of it catching fire on leaving Holland and turning back. Both of them were supposed to go to Bathurst, but on the wharf when they disembarked, were told of a place to rent in Manly on the northern beaches. My dad shovelled coal in the old gas works in Manly for the first few weeks until he landed a good job at the Dept. of Lands where he became a Photogrammetrist for the rest of his working life. My uncle developed a career out of becoming a pastry cook, and stayed in the food management buisness for his working life. Both married Dutch girls.
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Len (Heiko) Veger 18 June, 2010 13:05
my family and I departed Holland in December 1950 and arrived in Melbourne in January 1951. My father was a farm labourer and our trip was self funded. My father kept a diary our journey which I have today. It is quite an insight both into the person who was my father and also our journey. The JVO was still in its troop ship configuration, but we enjoyed our journey. My father evetually bought a farm in southeast Victoria which I still own today. Father died in 1980 and my mother 1n 2008 reaching the age of 95.
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Bob Brazill 18 June, 2010 17:29
I came over to Australia on the JVO with my family in 1962. My memories of the ship are happy ones, apart from a brief case of sea sickness in the bay of biscay.
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joe de loryn 22 June, 2010 17:36
I left Holland with my family 3 days after my 9th birthday on the 9th of June 1955. I was given a soccer ball by one of my uncles before leaving Amsterdam. It went overboard somewhere between Holland and Australia. I became friends with a chap about my age and we were employed filling salt and pepper shakers each day after lunch.We were given a large bowl of icecream each day as payment.We arrived in Sydney about the middle of July and traveled to Brisbane by train to start our lives again.
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Robert A. Henninger 28 June, 2010 07:44
I had the pleasure of sailing on the "JVO" as we affectionly called her, from Sydney to NYC February 1962 answering the dreded "Greetings" letter from the U.S. Selective Service (The Draft)after almost a year as a new emigrant to Australia. A life changing experience as I met my, to be, Aussie wife on board and now with 3 sons and 6 grandchildren recall the trip as definately one of my life's best experiences. With stops in NZ, Tahiti, Panama, Florida and NY it was the trip of a lifetime inspite of the expected two years of service facing me with Uncle Sam. I wouldn't trade the good times on board and the special friends found there for any other treasure. It was a sad day when I read the news of her sinking as the "Laconia" Should anyone read this that was on board that particular cruise feel free to contact me. I would welcom a change of notes. Cheers!
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Albert Groot 12 October, 2012 05:09
Yes, I was crew on the JVO and it was a solid ship. I made my last trip on it before it was sold. When was sold I had to stay on board to get the ship back to the new owners. I did not want to be on the last trip as it is only partying and I know what that is like. So I refused to sail the last trip and some of my crew friends died. I now in Canada for many years.
Riet Byrne (van Oost} 29 June, 2010 17:04
My parents Rie & Gerard van Oost, myself and my brother Henk left Holland 7th October 1955 and arrived in Sydney on the 11th November 1955. I turned 11 on the 6th Noverber. I remember the journey very well but the main thing that I remember is that I wasn't allowed to have dinner with my parents in the evening as I was under 12 yeard old. When we arrived in Sydney buses took us to Scheyville near Windsor and we thought that we were going into the mountains. Later we lived in Villawood Hostes for 12 months. I love Australia and have only been back to Holland once and that was last year. Does any one know where I could purchase a photo of the JVO? Please let me know.
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Ben Claassens 8 December, 2012 19:04
My family and I travelled on the same date, only shortening our journey by disembarking in Freemantle, I was 9 years old and also remember having to eat separate with my 2 younger siblings whilst my parents and 2 older siblings ate in the main dining area, I also remember spending a lot of time in the kids area at the rear of the ship...a little like a kinder garden. Like you I have only returned once and that was this year to visit my home town Nijmegen...of to cruise New Zealand this month on the Oosterdam. Good to know of someone else on the same trip....by the way, do you also remember musicians who played on deck many times with drummer and accordionist? they were friends who stayed with us for many years in Morwell Victoria
Jos Claassens 12 March, 2013 16:30
Hello Riet. I also travelled on the same voyage. It was actually listed as voyage 36. I have a copy of a photo taken of the ship docked at Amsterdam on the very day we sailed and lots more information if you are still interested. Cheers Jos
Discovery Centre 30 June, 2010 11:32
Hi Riet, have you checked out Picture Australia for images? You can search a national database of images here: www.pictureaustralia.org.au
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Hebe strong Dogterom 1 July, 2010 21:26
We left Holland in February 1957,WE were a family of 6,we were not actually booked on that tripbut a family pulled out and we took their place.I actually still have the little green book that has a list of all the passengers.I remember th hungarian refugees and I was scared of them ,I was 7 years old.We used to have relay races and when you got to one end you had to eat a bowl of rice cream.I still dont like rice cream because not long after we played this game we hit a big storm and I was really sick,and I blamed it on the rice.I befriended the ships engineer and for all the trips that he did to Australia we would go and see him in Sydney.My two older sister 16 and 18 would go out at night and if they were not in the room by 9 my father would lock them out.We were in hut 60 on c deck.I have just given my granddaughter the little deck chair I used to sit on .And I hope people remember the little glass teaspoons we used on the ship ,I had quite a collection I dont know what happened to them.My mother unfortunately died in 1966,and then my father moved back to Holland
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campen adrian 3 July, 2010 20:41
anna campen is my wife she did dance on board. we arrived 6 feb 1954 and live in vic.we are nearly 80 yrs young. had a great time here. we did spare time amateur theatre work in which anna was actress dancer etc and i did sound lighting and stage painting etc etc with the help of others. great work. adrian c
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campen adrian 3 July, 2010 20:46
ps; a crew member jumped overboard in the indian ocean at about 7 pm? got picked up again 2hrs?? later!!
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Yelly Evenhuis 11 July, 2010 15:07
We arrived in Melbourne in June 1952. Our family was my parents, Willem and Aly, my sister Kiny (14) and brother Geert (9). I had my first birthday on the ship. We were sent to Bonegilla and later settled in Albury. I have a passenger list from our trip.
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Alberta van Nesch 28 October, 2012 22:29
hi Yelly. As a 6 year old we arrived in Melbourne aboard the JVO & am not sure which voyage in 1952. As you have a passenger list are you able to find our names Mothers name Johanna Alberta Van Nesch. & My brother Marinus Jacobus van Nesch. Look forward to hearing from you Regards Betty (Alberta)
John Burggraaff 5 March, 2013 15:21
I remember the JVO standing off Melbourne to disembark passengers. I had my 12th birthday on the JVO on the 7th June 1952 in the Port of Freemantle and arriving in Sydney @ 15th June 1952. Would appreciate a copy of the passenger list Yelly. Also the date we departed Amsterdam.
Adriana Coppens 27 January, 2014 01:33
To John Burggraaff - I believe that the JVO departed from Holland on the 9th of May 1952. I have this information from a letter that may father wrote shortly after leaving. The ship arrived in Fremantle on the 6th June 1952.
Hebe strong Dogterom 17 July, 2010 18:44
I forgot a few things the last time I made a comment.I also have some menus from the trip over to Australia.And I remember capetown as if it was yesterday,lots of white buildings and palm trees.My mother bought me a pair of brown sandshoes in capetown and I thought they were terrific.But I was laughed at ,at school because they were not white,but they were the only shoes I had so I wore them.till they were too small for me.I also remember when we arrived in Sydney the AMP building was the tallest,and the stranger that asked me to hold his tie while he helped get our cabin trunks was my brother who I had not seen for 3 years.And where were all those koalas and kangaroos they had told us about.I also remember that the ANZ became our bank because they were the only bank represented on board when we arrived.
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Maria Bergsma (known as Marian) 20 July, 2010 16:55
We came to Perth, Western Australia on the ship in June 1952, we migrated from Nijmegen, The Netherlands. My parents names were Theodorus Hubertus Peters and my mother's name was Adriana Maria Peters (nee Eggenhuizen). I can't remember a lot of the journey because I was 5 and my brother 4 years old; but have many photos; my mother was very sea sick; I do remember Port Said in Aden with the colourful boats trying to sell things to the passengers and spotting dolphins one time.
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Richard Vandenakerboom 23 July, 2010 09:28
My father came to Canada on the JVO in 1957 and arrived in Halifax on August 29th. Over the years he's lost his copy of the passenger list for his voyage. Would anyone have an extra passenger list for the Aug. 29, 1957 voyage they'd like to part with, or possibly know where one could be purchased? I've looked on ebay, and other websites, but haven't had any luck finding one yet. Any help would be appreciated. I enjoyed reading the great stories you folks have told here too. Keep up the good work.
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Discovery Centre 24 July, 2010 12:57

Hi Richard. The museum specialises in Australian Immigration History but, like in Australia, Canadian immigration records can be found in the national archives. The Library and Archives Canada's Canadian Genealogy Centre will give you information about passenger lists and contact details. There may be a charge to obtain these but they should be available. Thanks too for your great comment on the site!

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Lee Schulze 27 July, 2010 01:56
According to National Archives Australia my father came across to Australia in 1955 on this ship with his brother and parents, he was 6 years old at the time. Apart from this and that he was born in Hannover, as well as their names and dates of birth, i know very little else about my father's side of the family. His name is Heinz, as was his fathers, his brother was Edwin, mother was Anneliese. would be interesting in hearing if anyone knew or remembered them.
Christl Bubutievski 14 May, 2013 14:52
Hi Lee I arrived on the same ship with my parents and 5 children leaving Bremerhafen or Cuxhafen in December and arrived in Australia in Sydney via Fremantle- Adelaide-Melbourne on the 16th January 1955.We settled in Newcastle and my maiden Name was Thann. I dont know but maybe if my parents were still alive they would know your family. My goodness it was a long trip from Germany to Australia and I was only 12 at the time and found it fascinating although it was a lot harder for the adults ... Interesting.
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Tom Van Loon 31 July, 2010 16:17
My parents Thomas Petrus Van Loon and Alaida Elizabeth Van Loon and my two brothers Paul and Jeff left Amsterdam in 1954 on the JVO to Melbourne via Fremantle. It was agreat experience and a wonderfull 5 week voyage. I recall others being seasick during but I fortunately did not.
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Erik J. van Loon 12 August, 2012 03:01
Your father was a brother of my father; Adrianus Philippus van Loon 1908-1945. With the internet I'm searching the FAMILY TREE. Hoping of any contact. Erik van Loon
Hein Muileman 2 November, 2012 21:23
Are you part of the Van Loon family who started a nursery in Geelong, or Wallington? Trip -Amsterdam 1st April 1954 JVO
Wendelina Eggenhuizen 19 August, 2010 19:35
My Dad Johannes and Mum Wendelina sailed from Holland to Melbourne Australia in 1956 on the JVO with four children Wilhelmus (Willy), Wilhelmina (Mia), Alberta (Betsy), and Wendelina (Lil). We settled in Adelaide. I was too young to remember the journey, but do know we had a choice between Australia and Canada. I would love to know if anyone remembers our family on board?
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Wendy winspear 15 December, 2012 09:12
My parents also came out from holland but in 1952. Their names were Johannes and wendelina koster and my brother is also Johannes and my name is wendelina. Please contact me.
Shannon Martinovic 19 August, 2010 23:55
My Oma ( Grandma ) sailed on the JVO in 1957 arrived in Australia in November 57 - her name is Trudi Bouwman - she was 13 when she sailed with her parents and siblings.... If anyone recognises the name please contact.
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aletta dogterom 11 September, 2010 17:24
Gerard de Jong, We were also passengers on the jvo when you came out. My Father Johannes (Hans), Mother Ika, sisters Bertha, Margriet, Hebe and I. my Father and Bertha gave English lessons on board. Thanks to Gerrie Ort Soetenveerder for supplying the departure date of the JvO from Djakarta and arrival in the Netherlands. We were also on that voyage minus my Father as he stayed in Ind. for another two yeaes. I was 9 at the time
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Theresia De Kroon 12 September, 2010 22:00
I came to Australia in 1955 on JVO at the age of 5 years old with my Dad (Franciscus) and Mum (Cornelia)DE KROON...We disembarked in Melbourne but I dont know what day or month. I was one of eight children and my mum was pregnant with the nineth. I was wondering if there may be a passenger list from this time and if there is, how do I go about getting a copy
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Discovery Centre 13 September, 2010 16:50
Hi Theresia, all immigration records are held by the National Archives of Australia. For information on how to access passenger & migration records, please visit our infosheet on Researching your family history, under the section on the NAA, towards the bottom of the page.
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Bruinsma Jannetje 19 September, 2010 14:23
I also came out on the JVO departing Holland 12 february 1957 and my Dad Mr John Moman still has an original copy of the Passagierslist. We left the boat in Sydney and travelled to Brisbane by train. He also has the train ticket. On arrival in Brisbane our photo was published in the courier Mail. I was too young to remember the trip so love to hear Dad talk about the experience.
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Peter De Jonge 23 September, 2010 09:30
My father Marinus and mother Maria and two brothers landed in Sydney Oct 1950.We were taken straight to Bathurst Migrant Camp,from their we went to St Marys "Dutch Camp" (old chook pens) My father died Mar 1951 leaving my mother to look after 3 boys in a foreign land.My mother worked hard as there were no handouts in those days, she achieved a great deal.My brothers and I have a lot to thank her for. One question would anyone have the passenger list for JVO passengers arriving in Sydney around 12-14 October 1950?
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segers 19 September, 2013 06:14
hello peter,i am looking for relatives ,the were in the same year in the same camp,please can you help me out here,its for my mother she lives in holland
Discovery Centre 23 September, 2010 15:11
Hi Peter, as indicated above, in our answer to Theresia, passenger lists can be obtained through the National Archives of Australia. You can also obtain all your migration records through them.
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Tom Boelen 26 September, 2010 16:47
Hi, You will find the story of the Boelen family migrating to Australia on the JVO on the link hereunder http://www.ssmaritime.com/jvostories.htm
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Annette Nieuwenhout 29 September, 2010 22:23
My father and his family arrived in Australia 17th September 1952 on the Johan van oldenbarnvelt. I have tried to find a passenger list on the recommended site but i'm having trouble. I'm also trying to find other information regarding my fathers family, documents etc. Many thanks
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Discovery Centre 30 September, 2010 15:19
Hi Annette, please see our previous answers to Theresia and Peter above. Only about 10% of the NAA records are online so if you don't find what you are looking for you'll need to contact them personally to obtain these documents.
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Martin Frysteen 5 October, 2010 17:02
Great memories. I was 10 in 1956 when parents and 4 sisters came to Aus on her. My now neighbour remembers it as a troop carrier that he was on. We saw headline pics when it sank. Posting this maybe others were on the same trip in June 1956
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Geesje Dykstra 8 October, 2010 16:04
There were 383 passengers on our ship. When we arrived we were sent to a migrant camp at Bathurst. Dad hated camps as he had been sent to a concentration camp during the war, when Mum was pregnant with me at the time. At Bathurst we were given a small room to live in and there was a Mess Hall where we used to eat. My parents could not speak English, which made it hard. They had to speak to an interpreter in order to get work. This would allow us to get out of the camp. They were able to get jobs on a farm. Mum was a cook for 4 jackaroo boys and Dad was a gardener. There were no handouts given to foreigners in those days. They worked very hard for living. We stayed there for 2 years.
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clemencia joore 11 October, 2010 17:24
Clemencia Joore - I arrived on the JHO in Melbourne in October 1954. I would like to know of others on that journey as both my parents and 9 of my 15 siblings are now dead - not able to get much information and my grand child wants to know more. My parents were Cornelius and Jacoba Joore who crossed from Amsterdam to Melbourne with 13 of their 15 children. I have never been able to adcertain why they undertood this mammoth journey when they were both in the mid forties and with so many children. Can anyone help please?
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Joe Duyvestyn 27 November, 2013 15:40
Hello Clemencia, I was on the JvO for that journey as well. I was the youngest of 12 children. (Born March 1954) We stayed at The Gables migrant hostel in Daylesford, before settling in Tyabb. 2 more children were born there. This site has been fascinating for meas well. I was fortunate enough to visit Holland in 1979 while backpacking around Europe and stayed in the house I was born in. This was in Westland.
Jeannette Easton-Klein 12 October, 2010 16:03
My family came out from Amsterdam to Melbourne in Feb. 1958. My dad's name was Cornelis Klein and my mum's was Jacoba (Co) Cornelia Klein. I was one of 5 girls and mum who was seesick virtually the whole trip gave birth to my little brother in October 1958. As I was only small (4 yo)I don't have any recolections of the trip. Both my parents have passed away and beside me there is only one older sister still living in this country, the others went back to the Netherlands. Does anybody remember us? as there doesn't seem to be anybody from that voyage in this list of comments.
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Edith Moore 29 October, 2010 12:08
My Mothers family the van houwelingen's travelled from netherland to Port Melbourne on 17 August 1956. Does anybody know if there is a passenger list available?
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Ria de Smit 25 September, 2013 22:04
I know a van Houweling Family, my school friend Gerda, and her parents , my parents, and brother, also my Uncle Aunt and cousin were on board this ship. Arriving in Port Melbourne on the 17 August. My maiden name is Ria Vermeer,
Discovery Centre 29 October, 2010 14:12
Hi Edith please see our answer to Theresia on 13 September for information on how to get passenger lists from the National Archives of Australia.
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Connie (vanVelzen) Hoffman 7 November, 2010 13:18
My Father came over from Amsterdam August of 1954, his name is Hubert vanVelzen, he would have been 19 years old at the time. He arrived in Ontario, Canada I believe - but I am not certain of the province - just that it was near Ontario. If anyone remembers him I would love to hear from you. He never talked about the voyage over, he was so young and left all his family in Holland and then my mother and my brother and I became his family here. thanks.
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Herman Adrian Oosterman 10 November, 2010 20:02
My family, totaling 8 arrived in Sydney from Amsterdam in the heat of January or was it February 1956. I believe it was the last boat through the Suez canal. I was 9 yo & had a ball on the boat, a real adventure but hated craft classes & escaped often. I was introduced to gelentin. On arrival, we were driven to Scheiville camp near Windsor, a real dump, earth floors, rats, standing in classroom. The bus driver left us all in the hot bus at Parramatta while he had a few beers ! No sooner after arriving the skies opened & we were isolated by floodwaters. How dad or anyone else was supposed to find work there remains a mistery. Slowly things improved. There are 5 of us left, 4 in OZ with Frans the eldest in Holland.
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Denise Gamble 12 November, 2010 19:34
I and my family travelled on JVO from Britain to Sydney early in 1961. A movie was shown - Doris Day in 'Please dont eat the daisies'. I was ten. We were returning to Australia after going out in 56 and then going 'home' to Northern Ireland after 4 years. 'Home' turned out to be not where the heart any longer was and my family settled happily in Australia the second time round. I remember a little boy watching that film asked me my age - in Dutch. I was too embarrassed to let him know I spoke only English - but worked out what he was asking and held up ten fingers in response! He never knew the difference. Anyone from that trip out there? must have been about Feb or March leaving UK
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candice 20 November, 2010 06:11
Does anyone know how i would go about finding a passenger list for the MS Skaubyrn for the voyage from Canada to England in September 1957? This would be very important to me as my mother was on the ship and I need this information to confirm something very important. Thank you so much.
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Caroline Greenwood nee de Wolff 20 November, 2010 20:04
My newly-wed parents Albert Antoine (Bob) and Antonia Hendrika (Anne) were bound for Melbourne but after learning they would be housed in a camp, left JVO in Fremantle with Dad demanding their luggage be brought up from the hold! Mum was very sea sick but Dad had a great trip. They settled in Perth, had 5 children and Dad (80) still enjoys life there. I have photos and menu but no passenger list. They arrived in November 1953.
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Discovery Centre 22 November, 2010 14:14
Hi Candice, to find passenger lists from Canada, you will need to contact the Canadian Archives, details can be found here: http://www.archivescanada.ca/english/index.html 
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Jan Siemers 28 November, 2010 18:02
My family Albert and Jantje Siemers and four children had a wonderful trip on the JVO from Nederland and arrived in Melbourne November 1955. Moved to Woodside South Australia on the train in a camp then three months later moved to Glenelg SA. Albert and Jantje have since passed. We are all glad we came.
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Martina Bahre 10 December, 2010 21:03
I was wondering how to obtain a passanger list. My grandparents, uncle and aunty arrived in Australia in 1953 they departed Amsterdam on 01/10/1953 and I believe that they disembarked in Brisbane.
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Ben Vandenberg 11 December, 2010 20:19
My Mum (no father) migrated with 7 of her 8 kids on the JVO in 1956 (eldest brother got married and came 1 month before us)Iwas the youngest and turned 12 on the ship, we left 7th Oct.and arrived in Melbourne on Nov 7. In the pouring rain we got on a train to Bonegilla camp and after 15 days we went to Sydney and went to Bradfield (West Lindfield) Migrant Hostel. never went back and never wanted to
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Hans Zomer 24 August, 2013 16:42
Ben, I think that your dates may not be correct. Our family left on the JvO in early November 1956, we travelled around South Africa, and arrived in Melbourne on 8 December 1956, the last day of the Olympic Games. (See new separate entry) Regards, Hans Zomer
Discovery Centre 13 December, 2010 14:45
Hi Martina! You'll want to contact the National Archives of Australia, who keep all passenger lists from this period. Hope this helps!
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paul walsh 20 December, 2010 19:42
I travelled from Southampton to NZ, along with one of my brothers and my mother, in Jan 1960, a six week trip. It was with sadness that I saw it catch fire, and sink from memory, while under another name and company, several years later. Still it was a big adventure for a nine year old, one i'll never forget.
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john achterberg 23 December, 2010 06:40
my parents two brothers and my sister arrived in australia 1951 or 52 and settled in tasmania where i was born both parents hated aaustralia and move back to holland in 1969.i remember my father telling me what a great ship the jvo was he was a bit sad when the ship was destroyed both my brothers now live in qld and i live in the nt ,another migrant success story even though my oldies were never happy in tasmania.john achterberg darwin nt.
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Carla Heineken nee AARNINKHOF 26 December, 2010 19:20
I too arrived in Melbourne with my parents and five siblings in October 1952. As I am reading all the previous comments my heart is racing with memories long forgotten. I remember the smells in Port Said, I remember fancy dress parties on board and I remember the fear.
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Christine (Ross-Bain) Kirby 31 December, 2010 02:19
Oh my God, I am astonished to discover this site with such recent posts. It’s wonderful! My family also traveled on the JVO, from Indonesia to Australia in 1958. Even though I was only three at the time, I remember a lot about it, especially the dress up dinners and balls. In 1957 my Dad was sent to work in Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia (from England). He was supposed to be there on a 2 year assignment with the British company he worked for, but we arrived during a time when Indonesia had recently become Independent from the Dutch and rebels opposed to the new rules coming out of Jakarta were clashing with the military. While most of the clashes were in the surrounding mountains, they were getting very close to the cities and Dad decided to move our family to Australia. I was 3, my sister was 4 or 5 and Mum had one incubating. Shortly after we arrived in Sydney, my brother Jeffrey was born; September 21, 1959. I am 55 years old now and writing my life history so various searches led me to this page, for which I am grateful. My father passed away 20 years ago and my Mum is 81. She is a wealth of information, however, her memory is fading so time is of the essence. Thanks to all of you for reviving the memories. How does one go about getting a passenger list from so long ago? I noticed some of you mentioned this.
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Discovery Centre 31 December, 2010 11:39
Hi Christine, thanks for your comment. Please see our response to Martina on 13 December 2010, which gives information about how to obtain passenger lists.
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Joachim (Jerry) Schellhorn 6 January, 2011 15:28
I was 9 years old when our family of 4 emigrated to Australia from Berlin, sailing from Cuxhaven on the 12/12/1954 (delayed due to fog). The mighty JvO stopped at Port said, Aden, Fremantle, Melbourne & delivered us safely to Sydney on the 16/1/1955. That the 56th anniversary is coming up prompted me to search & find this great site!.We have very fond memories of our great adventure, especially the unlimited & delicious food served individually in a 1st class dining room, with us kids eating at a separate sitting from the adults !A far cry from many other migrants experiences !If I remember rightly, us under 12 were supposed to be "kept" in a kindergarten at the stern of the beautiful JvO & it was a constant adventure to avoid the "kinder-shreck" officer trying to keep us there.I'm still friends with some of our fellow pasenger & it is scary just how quick the years have gone."Someone" really should organise a reunion before we all drop off our perches, there can't be too many of the Parents left ?
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Heike Schelllhorn 10 October, 2012 01:52
Hallo Joachim, maybe vi har in family relation with each other ? I´m looking for my dads and grandfathers family. They lived in Berlin.
Monica Illgen 11 January, 2014 00:19
My grandmother and her first husband were on this same journey - her surname was Zeissner, Margarete and Hermann - it is so interesting reading all the comments on this page :)
Rosemarie Connolly 17 January, 2011 23:30
My Omar & Opar -Corrie & Johan Geerts Immigrated to Australia on the Johan van oldenbarnevelt with my mother Hendrika and her brother Johan, they arrive in Australia in December 1952. Setteling in Adelaide. I am trying to find out any information I can on their voyage. I would love a copy of the passenger list containing their names, if anyone has one 
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Dianne 5 August, 2013 18:12
Hi Rosemarie. We have a passenger list from that voyage and your Omar & Opar are listed. Please email me if you'd like a scanned copy
Discovery Centre 20 January, 2011 09:11
Hi Rosemarie, thanks for your comment. Please see our response to Martina on 13 December 2010, which gives information about how to obtain passenger lists.
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Adrianus Luyben 22 January, 2011 01:00
I left the city of Tiburg in The Netherlands on the JVO 9/05/52.on my own aged 18. arr 06/06/52 at Fremantle W.A,. Found employment on a farm near Wagin and have never regretted it. I found the JVO a magnificent floating palace.
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R. Klaassen 23 January, 2011 23:06
My father was a printer on the ship.He was working bij de boer in hilversum en tru them he had his work on the boat
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Kay Turner 30 January, 2011 12:01
Pieter Cornelis BRONKHORST & his wife Adriana Cornelia (DE RONING or DE KONING)arrived at Sydney aboard JVO on 21 Jan. 1951. They lived on the farming property "Sans Souci", Ganmurra, near the village of Currawarna, NSW, where, unfortunately, Adriana died in June 1951. Pieter remarried the following year to Edna Frances GRIMMETT who had arrived in Australia in Dec. 1947. My husband is the current owner of "Sans Souci" and we would welcome any information about this family.
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Corien Broekema 8 February, 2011 08:56
I am looking for Jan Siemers who wrote at 28 november.My grandmother is his aunt and likes to hear from her family in Australia
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Hebe Strong....Dogterom 9 February, 2011 19:02
I have finally found the childrens menus for the voyage to Australia in February 1957,here are some examples..Ontbijt..havermout,gekookt ei,leverworst,goudse kaas,pindakaas,marmelade,stroop,jam,witbrood,thee...Lunchwitte bonen soep,gestoofde snapper,wortelen,gekookte aardappelen,vruchten ijs..Avondmaal vanille custard,hamworst,goudse kaas,pindakaas,gestampte muisjes,hagelslag,jam,witbrood,beschuit,thee,fruit..I wonder what they would feed us now
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Marion Slater 14 March, 2011 15:58
I came to Australia with my family from Holland on the JVO, landing in Melbourne in November 1955.I have read all the above comments with some interest, because my main memory of the trip is that children of around my age (7) were locked in a compound of some kind, whilst younger children were locked in another. I remember standing at something like cyclone fencing, trying to hold the fingers of my little brother who was three through the wire, both of us crying because we had been separated from our families and from each other. Is there anyone else who has a similar memory?
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Emma Cooper 18 March, 2011 02:21
My Grandfather Johannes Vanderweegan was on that ship in 1955. i no it was a long time ago, but i was wondering if anyone knew him. I am attemping to work out my family tree and he passed away before i was born. thanks
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Marion Slater 19 March, 2011 11:06
To Emma Cooper. You can access your grandfather's details at naa.gov.au. You can search as a guest. Search for VAN DER WEEGAN 1955.
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Clare Fitzherbert 29 March, 2011 07:12
My Aunt, 90, has fond memories of travelling on the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt in 1938 to Algiers. There were great celebrations as they went through the Straits of Gibraltar when Princess Juliana (later Queen) of Holand gave birth to Princess Beatrix! Has anyone else got memories of this voyage as she'd love to hear them? Thanks.
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Anita Nieuwenhuys 30 March, 2011 18:36
It is to my amazment to find this site. I was reseraching the JVO journey to assit my son in he's project. Finding myself lost in the journey my mother Thea Sturk also my father who found true love on the trip that left Amsterdam on the 5/1/1954 arrived Melbourne 7/2/1954. Forgot to mention my fathers name Bernard Nieuwenhuys. My father was a steward on the ship. Mother being 12 was to young to engage in the adult activites, to old for the jouniors. My mother befriended my farther and assisted in genral cleaning duties. My mother went by train to camp Boneigella with her family to begin a new life in the land of milk and honey. Meanwhile my father continued he's journey on the ship to next port of call Sydney. My father decided to jump ship hitch hike to melb to seek my mothers family out. Where he stayed one night in prison for jumping ship. Sherching for my mothers family, being told that they were sent by train to Bonegiia. Dad then hitched hiked to the camp near Albury. Once there seeked out my mother who was doing some washing in the laundry, to mums surprise hearing a floor boared creak turned and seen dad. Six weeks later my mothers family moved to Moe victoria. This is where my grand father obtained work at the S.E.C in yallourn. My dad boarded at my mum's family home for six years. My father asked for my mothers hand and they were married in a chuch in Moe.They last year celebrated there 50th wedding aniversary. Mum and dad still live in Moe. They have four children and five grandchildren.
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unknown 31 March, 2011 09:31

Peter Van Stralen migrated to sydney Australia with his whole Famillie has anyone heard of them THANK YOU

Please see if you can find this Familie.

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Willem &Johanna Veldmeyer [nee Laan] 3 April, 2011 10:39
We arrived on the JVO on may 5th in Melbourne and settled with our families in Adelaide ,we married in 1965 and have now been married for 46years ,love to hear from other people arriving in may 1959 !
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John ( Jan ) Meurs 17 April, 2011 16:12
I arrived in Melbourne In February 1956 at the age of seven on the JVO with my mum,dad,three brothers and two sisters. We were than sent to Bonegilla, what a nightmare that was, give me Holland anytime.
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Elsa Maertzdorf 21 December, 2012 20:27
hi John pleased to meet you we were on the same voyage and I remember youre familie well in Bonegilla youre familie occupied two huts behind us i can still hear the noise one of you beds made when you turned over it creaked something horrible the food was not very nice either we moved to Wangaratta after two weeks in the camp but we love this country
Marion Keating 9 June, 2013 06:38
Hi John, My relatives came on your trip on the JVO ahead of the rest of us. My u cle and aunt - Kees and Gonda Ooijkaas. My cousins - Aneke 14, Kees 12, Connie and Bea around 4 yrs old. They went on to Sydney. Are there any happenings on that trip which are interesting? Coming by plane, we had two engines catch fire and crash landed into Australia. I'm trying to get a feel of how it was for them.
Tennille McCoy 29 April, 2011 13:17
hi, my grandma left Rotterdam in 1957 heading for Melbourne Australia, they stopped in the canary islands, Capetown and Fremantle before reaching Melbourne. Her name was Frances Manders. Her parents were Susan and Herman manders. She has a brother called Joss that came too. She befriended a young mother called Corrie that had Two twin baby girls. I don't know what month they left from reading other comments I think it was February. Anyone with any information or if anyone remembers them please comment.
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Leo Van Vliet 13 May, 2011 22:30
My father (born 1929 Leendert Van Vliet) (from Oud-Beijerland) was a ship's carpenter in the 1950's on the JVO & Sibajak and another (Willhelm ???) . He took many Dutch migrants to Australia, Canada and the USA. My Mother's family (Hoenderop) immigrated to Australia in 1955/56 and settled in Melbourne. My father immigrated to Melbourne Australia in 1955. My parents/family first stood on Australian soil in Fremantle (Perth) in 1955/56. I grew up in Melbourne - served 27 years in the Australian Navy then settled in Perth. I now work at Fremantle Docks - the same place where my family stepped onto Australia some 55 years ago. This must be fate - and I picture my family arriving here and wonder what it looked like.
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Jen Blake 18 May, 2011 14:49
It is fantastic to hear from people who were on the same ship as me so many years ago. I was on the JVO leaving Southampton on 17th April 1960 and docking in Fremantle on 11th May 1960. I was almost three and travelled with my 5 year old brother and my mother. I remember being terrified when we crossed the equator and people covered in paint were thrown into the pool as first time Equator crossers. I thought I would be thrown in too! Another memory was of knocking myself unconscious when I slipped on the deck and woke up in the doctor's cabin with my mother looking on very anxiously. The children were not permitted in the dining room with the adults and I remember a child minding centre and being lifted up to the round window in the door to see my mother returning to collect us after her meal. We continued in the JVO to Adelaide where we lived for 5 years before moving to Canberra.
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Carla van Delft 19 May, 2011 21:25
We arrived in April/May 1956 on the Johna van Oldenbarnevelt then went to Bonegilla camp what place to sent people too . We moved to Seaford after that we moved to Drouin the boat was really beautiful and I have many memories
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Albertha Hofste Alcock 25 May, 2011 09:00
I came out to Australia with my sister Rita and my mum Gerardus Maria Stam/Hofste(my mum) and Gerard Hofste (my dad)on JVB in 1958 or 57 not overly sure. My dad & sisiter have since passed on. WE landed in Perth I now live in NSW.
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wen 29 May, 2011 13:01
Hi - Maria Dekkers immigrated to Australia on this ship in 1961 - if anyone knows her married name or knows her would love to hear -
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Roma Harris 2 June, 2011 17:40
My husband Henk (Hendrik) Mulder, aged 17 years, came out on the JVO arrivng Nov 1956. First stop Fremantle then Melbourne. He remebers they had to go via Capetown as the Suez Canal was closed.
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Margrieta Johanna Fels 4 June, 2011 18:25
I came out to Australia on the JVO in May 1959, with my dad Wim Fels, my stepmother Fenna and my two brothers John and Harry. As a !7 year old girl, the prospect of coming to a new land was very scarey!! My brother John and I made many friends on the journey over, two of them being Willem and Johanna Veldmyer who i knew as Wim and Jos. We landed in Melbourne and caught the train in the middle of the night to Adelaide where we were housed in the Woodside Army barracks for a short time then spent a very hot summer in a Glenelg hostel. was very suprised to come across this sight and see a name from the past, would love to hear from other people who shared the trip over, thank you
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Leon Paap 18 July, 2011 11:11
My mother, Ine Westerkamp, came out on the JVO on the February 1957 voyage. Mum was 25 years of age at the time. She lived in Sydney. Would love to hear from anyone that may remember her.
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Symon J Uidam 27 July, 2011 16:40
Written by Symon J Uidam (27 July 2011: In January 1960, my parent, Reverend Sir Cornelis Uidam (1924-2005) and his wife Emilie Uidam / (nee Van Asselt)(1026-2010) together with 5 children (the eldest was 11 years old) emmigrated from The Netherlands on the JVO. The ship sailed from Amsterdam via the Suez Canal, Aden (Yemen)Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to Melbounre and finally to Sydney, Australia. We landed on 18 Feb 1960. My father was the ships chaplain providing church services and pastoral care for protestant migrants. He spoke 8 languages including English. At that time (unlike today) most Dutch passengers could not speak English My mother was the ships Immigration officer assisting migrants with information of procedure and what to expect when they landed. So my dad and mum's assistance was invaluable to migrants stepping into the unknown. My Dad served a total of 53 years in the ministry serving the Dutch protestant community all over Sydney. The Dutch protestant church became part of the Uniting Church during unification of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches. Rev Uidam was knighted by the Dutch Government for those services. My Mother and her identical twin Sister (Ger) were both active members of the Dutch underground during World War 2 and served their country with distinction in Holland. Since our migration, the Uidam children grew to 6 children (last one in 1963) and the overall family now numbers 65 people. The JVO played a key part in all of our lives and we recall with sadness when we learned of her fire and sinking. Even though i was 5 years old at the time, I still vividly recall her grand dining rooms and pomenade deck.
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Henny 30 September, 2012 19:48
Hi I think you father must have come to our house in Blacktown in1962 we were thinking of baptizing our first child but it never happened .I think he came also in Blacktown to preached . I think this site is good it brings memories back to me I was 19 when I was on the JVO now 77 so that is way back bye.
Gail Inglis 3 August, 2011 02:52
We found a ship's headed letter (NV, STOOMVAART MAATSCHAPPII "Johan van Oldenbarnevelt) addressed to my husband's great grandmother (Mrs Beatrice J Harness), dated 10/09/1930 with the signatures of the captain, doctor & 2 others who had been disappointed to miss seeing Mrs Harness in Singapore - they had thought she was staying at the Sea View Hotel when in fact she was staying at the Raffles Hotel. Cannot make out the signatures, but would be interested to know who they were at this time!
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Maerzdorf, Bertha 5 August, 2011 21:15
My family arrived on the JVO in about 1956. I was a baby, mum was very seasick. Dad, was a sailor so he looked after me. We went to the Bonegilla migrant camp when we arrived in Austalia.
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Frans van de Ven 11 August, 2011 08:30
My parents with 4 kids left Holland October 7th 1955 and arrived in Melbourne on November 7th. Just finished reading through the ships menus, which my father used as a diary and sent back to his buddy in Holland. I also have other ephemera from the same trip. Passenger list, movie and classical music program announcements, Ship announcements, childrens parties announcements. I have lived in Canada the last 45 years, but it was fun looking back.
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Jos Claassens 12 March, 2013 16:42
Hi Frans. We were also on the same voyage. I was 5 years old at the time so remember nothing. All I have is a copy of a photo taken of the ship berthed at Amsterdam the day we sailed. I would give anything for copies of some of the items you have if you feel like sharing!! Regards Jos
Truus van Leeuwen 23 August, 2011 18:51
We husband Aad and son Hans and myself Truus van Leeuwen came over to New Zealand 1n 1960,It is interesting to see how many people went to Australia,Are their any other once that went to NZ like us?
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Nan Holdsworth (nee Moller) 28 August, 2011 16:10
While I did not come to Australia on the JVO (I came here in 1950 from Holland) I am fortunate enough to own an original mirror from that ship as my Mum worked for the shipping company. Does anyone know of a maritime musuem anywhere that may have other memorabilia from this particular ship? I do realise that items would be scarce since the ship burnt down.
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Discovery Centre 29 August, 2011 10:23
Hi Nan, Museum Victoria has a some collection objects related to JVO available through our Collections Online website. You should also do a search through Collections Australia Network to see if selected other Australian museums have anything. This doesn't cover all museums nor include all their collection items so you should do a bit more online collections searches or contact the museums individually. Some of the best ones to search would be Australian Maritime Museum, Western Australian Museum, Migration Museum South Australia and Powerhouse Museum. Maybe others out there know of any other collections in Australian or overseas museums?
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Eddy May 1 September, 2011 11:15
I, aged 17, migrated with my father, mother and brother Johan to Australia, arriving in Melbourne in 1953. I even gave Engish lessons and became firm friends with a violinist, Francis van Dyke. When we left Aden, we run in the last thows of a typhoon, with almost every one one seasick. Wonderful vessel and a great adventure for me at the time.
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C.O. Postma. 5 September, 2011 06:35
I arrived on the ship ms Johan van Oldenbarnevelt at age nine on April 1958 eventually arriving at Station Pier, Melbourne. The JVO (Johan van Oldenbarnevelt) on her way to Australia with Dutch migrants, for the most part an empty ship(five hundred passengers with a possible ships capacity of 1500 migrants) took on board the German emigrants from the ss Skaubrun out of Bremerhaven at the port of (then) British Aden. The ss Skaubrun had sank two days out of Aden while steaming the Indian occean on her journey to Perth with mostly German emigrants on board and some 120 Maltese. The ms. Johan van Oldenbarnevelt took these German survivors on board at Aden that had been repatriated back on two ships, a tanker that first came to the rescue and then transfered at sea to the Italian liner ss Roma. Surviving their burning and sinking ss Skaubrun migrant ship they were taken back to Aden on the ss Roma and two weeks later taken on board the ms. Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and their Australian continent migrant distination. The Maltese and some UK migrant citizens on board of the ill fated ss Skaubrun were flown from Aden to Australia.
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Hein Muileman 11 September, 2011 21:02
Have passenger list JVO -Voyage from Amsterdam to Melbourne departing April 1 1954 arriving Melbourne Station Pier 4th May 1954. Museum Victoria or any one else interested in clopy?
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Ron Peters 27 January, 2014 18:20
I am interested in receiving the passenger list of JVO which left Amst on 1st Apr '54. My parents (both deceased) were on that ship but disembarked in Sydney on 7 May '54. Josef Heinrich Peters and Adriana Catharina Peters/van der Weerden. They were married in February 1954 and left shortly afterwards to begin their new life. They returned again to Netherlands in 1962? but returned to Sydney two years later. I hope you have this information. Kind regards Ron D Peter
C.O.Postma 13 September, 2011 01:57
I'm interested in the passenger list of the motorschip Johan van Oldenbarnevelt ariving at Melbourne station pier April 1958.
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Fred Weber 17 September, 2011 17:27
We came into Sydney 21-8-1956 on the Johan I was 9 I remember having a great time on the ship. I was one of six we settled in Brisbane.
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margriet Dogterom 7 October, 2011 17:18
As mentioned by my sisters Aletta and Hebe Dogterom, we travelled to Australia in 1957. I remember walking around in Capetown and my sister Aletta, showed me some bay leaves growing in a small park. Our boat trip was around Africa, because the Suez canal was closed. During the 6 week trip, I remember being in a play. I was 10 at the time, and the tallest, so I was designated the teacher in the play. Because my parents lived in Indonesia for most of their married life, we ate a lot of rice dishes, rather than food based on potatoes and European fare. One time rice was on the menu. I was so excited. The first course arrived- no rice. The second course arrived- no rice. I thought they had forgotten the rice- but no, it arrived in the form of rice pudding. As far as I can remember, I have never liked rice pudding!
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Jan Töns 8 October, 2011 11:29
Amsterdam 7 October 1959 was our day to join the JVO. 11 years old as I was an alterboy I attended 3 sea funerals - although we had a great time on board and enjoy a good life in Australia - I do agree with a comment made earlier - migration destroys any sense of an extended family - it also leaves yopu with the perpetual question that can never be answered: "What if our parents had stayed; how would our lives have turned out?"
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Rolf Roduner 10 October, 2011 08:05
My father Rolf Roduner a Swiss man travelled to Australia via Genoa and Eygpt in 1960. I have many slides of the ship and destinations. Stunning pictures, just like yesterday. My father now resides in Australia.
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Valerie French (nee Lumsden) 10 October, 2011 15:19
I travelled on the JVO in 1961 from Fremantle to New York and again in 1962 from Fort Lauderdale across to Southhampton and on to fremantle. I was 12/13 and travelling with my mother Thelma and my sister Kerry and young brother Greg. I think that was 13 weeks all up!. Thank you for the site and the comments -it has brought back a lot of great memories.
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Barbara Evans nee Groeneveld 17 October, 2011 20:12
My Mother Johanna Driel and Sister Gemma Driel arrived @ Fremantle July 1953 the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt, wondering if anyone knows them, would like to trace my family roots.My Father Hendrik Harm Groeneveld arrived Fremantle 1952 on the Ship Farsea.
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Michael Breewel 31 October, 2011 20:31
My Father and his family travelled on the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt bound for Australia on the 2nd July 1953 arriving in Melbourne in August 1953 to begin a new life. They began with a family of 10 and now the family has grown to around 140. This ship provided our family with a very bright future.
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Robert Hoogwerf 7 November, 2011 14:28
Could you please advise me if there are any photographs available regarding JVO as I am preparing some family history. My journey was in Dec-1951 to Feb-1952 from Amsterdam to Sydney.
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Discovery Centre 8 November, 2011 15:52

Hi Robert,
You can search for images of the JVO on the Pictures Australia website or Museum Victoria’s Biggest Family Album. There is also an image of the JVO during the mid-1950s in Peter Plowman’s Australian Migrant Ships 1946-1977,  which is accessible at most libraries, the Immigration Museum Discovery Centre, and GoogleBooks.

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Aaltje van Dam Née MOSTERD 12 November, 2011 22:02
Arrived on JVO 13 December 1952. I was 8. The food was fantastic. The pool was a daily experience. Best holiday ever!!!! Thank you for the lovely experiences. The family knew the deJong family in St Mary's and we are still in touch with the son Fritz de Jong. My parents knew the ships chaplain who was instrumental in helping my husband's family when the father died.
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B Wijbrands 16 November, 2011 00:09
Hoi Hoi, My grandmother sailed to Australia in 1956. However, I doubt she could have imagined that her grand daughter would meet a Dutch man and move to the Netherlands. I recently met her family who live in Tilburg. In many ways I feel I have returned home. Although, my Dutch is not quite as good as hers.
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Marie de Graaf 17 November, 2011 16:56
My inlaws, Anthonie & Jantje de Graaf, sailed to Australia on JVO, arriving in Sydney 20 October 1954. They brought their three sons, Jantje, Lucas & Izack. John & Luke were youths & their accommodation was separate to their parents & younger brother. They both thoroughly enjoyed their trip over!
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hebe 21 November, 2011 18:03
to margriet dogterom,I too do not like rice pudding,because on the jvo,we as children sometimes had races and at the start of each race we would have to eat a bowl of rice pudding first.It always made me sick and I too do not like rice pudding
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Johanna Gebben Mannes 23 November, 2011 03:47
I traveled on the JVO in late August 1957 from Holland first stop was Halifax then on to NewYork I was 10 yrs old. I still have many memories of the trip. We now live in Holland,Michigan.
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Norman Mjadwesch 12 January, 2012 17:21
Responding to Kay Turner: Pieter Bronkhorst died three years ago. He had two children with Adriana and two with Edna. I am the son of his first daughter,Gerda. She would like to get in contact with you.
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Norbert Mjadwesch 14 January, 2012 09:28
Gerda is the daughter of Pieter & Adriana Bronkhorst. Robbert her brother,keeps in close contact with us.Pieter died three years ago. Can we be put in contact with Kay Turner?
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Alison 14 January, 2012 23:46
My mother and her family sailed to Australia and arrived in Fremantle, WA 5 November 1958. They then took an overnight train to Adelaide - woodside migrant camp. Three months later they were transferred to Glenelg migrant camp. Her parents have now passed, but all children on board are alive and well. Hendrick, Johanna, Cecilia, Paulina, Teresa, Joe and Mary ADAM
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Kees van Driel 22 January, 2012 02:45
Left Amsterdam 11-11-52 and arrived Fremantle 7-12-52.Lived in West Aust ever since and still visit my relations and friends in Holland every few years. The 26 day trip on the JVO was a wonderful experience for an 18 y.o.
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Geertruida (Trudy) Cras 22 January, 2012 07:11
As was looking through the names I came across Thea Sturk, Iwas flabber gasted a I lived also on King Street Moe I was friends with Thea's sister Christine and still and friends with her cousin Pieter and Gea - Morwell. As well as Rita Smeele she lived next door to Thea, and yes we were all awere of the story about you mam and dad.We were all camp Bonegilla, my dad Simon Cras took some of the men and went to Moe, where he succered housing for a lot of the Dutch Immigrants, we used to have several boarders in our house , my dad got them jobs at the SEC, and when he was not worrking his shift work , my mam would cook big pots of food and my dad and his friend would drive to the camp and feed the dutch emmigrats , for all the good work he did for the dutch emmigrants he was rewarded by Queen Julliana with a Medal of Knight hood. My dad started the dutch soccer club, as well as the social club, later we moved to Morwell where he opened in his spare time a social dance studio, my dad passed away in Yallourn hospital from an anurism at age 44, he is burried in Hazelwood Cemetary, there were so many Dutch and Australian and Italian mourners there it was a tribute to this good man. On the jvo he also organized a dance competion where he and my mam won the trophy, I still have the photo. My memory from camp Bonegilla was the terrble food, maggets in the cheese ect. Thea, brother and a bunch of us kids would steal food from the other sections of european migrants , we even raided the ministers watermelon patch, unfortunately my brother nannot comferm this as he also has passed away as well as my mother. We were very happy in Australia and I became a citizens. If you want to e-mail me , you may do so. Also the story regarding the voyage, we had a fam cabin, on 1st deck, yes we had to go to the childrens deck. how ever we would go in 1 gate and hop over at the other end, and go play quarts with the older teenagers, one time i went swimming and nearly drowned as the ship lurched from side to side finally a stewart threw me a boewie, took me to my parents and i got the biggest whipping, i'll never forget that. the other thing that happened was a young man threw himself overboard andthe lifeboat got him back on board , we had a window in our cabin so we could see it all. Going thru the red sea we had a lot of bad weather. going thu the suez canal was fasinating , how ever we did have some merchants on board but the women and children did not have to hide because of the uprising, we all went on land and spent most of the day visiting the various moskques ect, As well as the next port of call. hen we arrived in Freemantle it was a vert hot day all the shops were closed, finally my dad was able to rouse a barkeep to get us some drinks, Melbourbe was a disaster we had to wait for hours before the train came to take us to the camp, I was the only 12 year old that spoke both french and englis my dad spoke german, the train system was that of a cattle train, we arivved at Albury, boarded the bus to the camp, where again we had to stand in the heat for our assigned huts they were pretty good as they had been army huts. well i can go on and on, but this only part of my story, am writing a book and hope to be publised.
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Frank Kokshoorn 10 September, 2012 10:49
Hi Trudy, I was pleasently surprised to read Your story it was great, Dad died 5 years ago and Mum is at Andrew House She is still very well.All the very best.. Frank...
Jos Claassens 12 March, 2013 17:04
Hi Trudy. Your storey made interesting reading. We were on the voyage that left Amsterdam on 7 October 1955 and disembarked in Fremantle 3 November. Later we travelled by train to Morwell in May 1956. Did you ever get your storey published? Cheers Jos
Alasdair Shearer 28 January, 2012 22:22
to Jen Blake. I was on the same journey and remember the children's area (I was 4 at the time ). I have a passenger list if you want a copy.
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robin burton(nee Jones) 2 February, 2012 22:01
my mother(doris jones) and myself travelled to england on the JVO 17-11-59 via papeete, panama, miami, arrived in england 23-12-59 returned to nz 12-4-60, via genoa, suez(aden,said) melborne sydney, still have my mothers diary of the trip, and photos, i was just 3yrs old, memories, mainly the smell of the dining room,
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Frans Smeets 6 March, 2012 11:24
To Jan Tons..I travelled at same time and was same age and I also saw a sailor buried at sea. I came with my parents and four sisters and we settled in Adelaide.
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Abbie Verner 21 March, 2012 05:43
I sailed on the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt in late May or early June in 1958. It was a student ship. We lost a propeller in the middle of the Atlantic and landed late in Southampton. We were two weeks crossing the Atlantic and it was a wonderful trip. We ran out of toilet paper but not food or booze. We sailed back to the states on the JVO and again ran into trouble mid-Atlantic. Engines stopped and we were adrift for a bit. Two students decided to jump into the sea from the stern. They were hauled out unceremoniously and placed in the brig by the captain. He was extremely upset as there could have serious trouble as sharks were following us. Canadian aircraft flew over us to make sure we were all right. We were fine and the ship started up again but, our arrival in NYC was delayed. Very sorry to see that she is no more.
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Wim &Jos Veldmeyer 29 March, 2012 10:45
After coming back to the JVO forum after 12months we were pleased to find a person from 1959,and yes we remember you well Margo Fels ! We have now lived on the gold coast for the last 18years and sadly both of our parents have passed !Often talk about some of the families coming out to Australia and wondering how they are doing !Thanks for this wonderful forum jos &wim Veldmeyer
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Ray Bergsma 29 April, 2012 14:42
On 5 May 1951 the good ship JVO delivered Sjors and Anna Bergsma together with their 7 children Rene, Piet, Kees, Riet Ad, Margaret and Yde to Sydney. From there we were trained to Kelso near Bathurst or was it Siberia? Luckily we were there for only a few weeks. After lots of complaining we were transferred to Nelson Bay on Port Stephens. We rented a two bedroom house. Subsequently we bought a 4 bedroom place. My parents are buried there. Four of my siblings still live there. All except one married Australians.We are grateful to our parents bringing us here. Australia has been very good to us. Yes I recall the fire on board not long after leaving Ymuiden.
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Ron de Jong 5 May, 2012 22:35
My parents, Antonie and Tietje de Jong, arrived in Melbourne 18/10/1954 on the JVO. I remember they went via Port Said and they bought a small leather camel (incidentally I saw an identical one in the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour). They went to Bonegilla and later to Broughton Migrant Hostel in Burwood (Sydney). The hostel was meant to be for British migrants only and as far as I know they were the only Dutch migrants there! My father told me they got 10(?) pounds on landing in Australia but by they time they arrived at the hostel they virtually had no money. A local dutchman in Burwood by the name of Frans Le Large heard about these newly arrived dutch migrants and made them welcome. He even organised some sort of fundraising event for them!
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Teunis(Tony) van Rooyen 12 May, 2012 22:12
My mother,father and 3 siblings arrived on the JVO in Sydney Jan.1951 and then by train to Bathurst Migrant camp.I was the eldest child 5 years old.Can still remember the cooking smell in the dining room of the ship and the dog box carriages on the train, We finished up in Ulverstone, Tasmania.Other families that were on that ship voyage and came to Ulverstone are Voorthuizen,Pieterse,Bergman and de Boer.would love to get a copy of the passenger list.
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Joop Mul (Now Jo Mulholland) 20 May, 2012 23:47
I cannot believe that I have not written here before! I was 12. We left Amsterdam in April, 1956 and arrived in May. My parents and I migrated with another couple and their 6 year old daughter. So cabins were swapped. The four adults together and Netty and I shared with a couple, who'd been back to the Netherlands, on vacation.
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Piet Te Nuyl 12 May, 2013 20:42
I was on the JVO at the same Time you were we left in April 1956 from Amsterdam and Arrived in the Port of Melboure in May of 1956 I was 14 at the Time and I had one of the best Time in my Life doing a lot of exploring on the ship from Top to Bottem with someone I met on the Ship and we had a Fantastic Time
Sophia Vandenberg 6 June, 2012 23:02
We arrived in Melbourne on the JVO from Holland the 13th Oct (Sydney 14th) and were taken to Bathurst Migrant camp, my father (Frank), my mother (Nell), my 2 brothers Frank & Harry, & my sister Petra, (myself being the 3rd child). I will always remember our trip on the JVO, Mum & Dad enjoyed it very much and I can remember that my younger sister nearly drowned in the ship's pool...I can still see the pool guard (fully clothed) diving in to save her! Later we moved to NSW, Nelson Bay Migrant camp where my dad first started work as a cook. We then moved on to Newcastle where my father found new work. My parents were never sorry that they migrated to Australia but my mother did suffer quite a bit of homesickness for her home village of Noordwijk NL. They had another 3 children in Oz, 2 boys Bill & Ron and a daughter Carolyn. I remember my first experience at school....I couldn't understand a word the other children were saying, it was like being 'deaf & dumb' I guess, but children adapt very quickly. I never forgot my birth town and went back to live there for 30 yrs after I turned 31! Returned to Oz about 10 yrs ago. My eldest brother is now 70yrs of age and the youngest 49, Dad passed away in 1983 (aged 66yrs) in a car accident & Mum lived on to the good old age of 79 in 2000. All their 7 children are alive & well, thank you Mum & Dad for making us all proud to be Australian!
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Wilma Borninkhof Hendriks 10 June, 2012 18:30
My parents immigrated to Australia from The Netherlands on the JVO, my mother came out with her family when she was nearly 17 in late 1958 & my father came out in early 1959. They were from the same town Enschede, but didn't meet until they lived next door to each other in Upwey Victoria. My mother tells me she had a pretty good time checking out the sailors & men on the ship haha (well she was 16) & she could've been sold when the shop went through the Suez canal as well. Mum & dad married and had 6 children and we are all grateful for them for coming to Australia and making a new life for us.
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Ernst Zimmer 2 July, 2012 17:26
My parents (Ernst and Rose Zimmer) came immigrated to Australia on the JVO in 1954 with two children including myself and we got off in Melbourne. Some of you might remember, my father processed some B&W photo prints for other passengers on board at the time.
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Valerie Jarred 6 July, 2012 09:51
My Grandparents (Herman & Johanna Willems)immigrated to Australia on JVO 5 January 1954; with their 7 Children (Wouter, Caterina, Adelheide, Allegonda, Jacobus, Herman & Hendrikus) My father (Wouter) turned 13 on the ship on the way to Australia (7 Jan '54. The Willems family settled in Drouin Victoria, and now have many children & grandchildren.
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Tom Boelen 13 July, 2012 17:30
Read the Boelen family story coming over in 1959 on the JVO to Australia http://www.ssmaritime.com/jvostories.htm
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Betty Maertzdorf 24 July, 2012 21:20
I was a baby traveling with my parents Johannes Maertzdorf and mum Elsa Maertzdorf/Hendriks. Mum and dad are now in their 80's they have always wondered what became of the friends they made on the JVO, Henny Crabbe and his wife.
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Nick de Weger 10 August, 2012 08:53
I was the eldest of 6 children who migrated with our parents to Australia on the JVO in 1952 terminating in Sydney and traveling to Brisbane by train. I was 7 at the time and my brother Rob and I remember exploring the ship every day and playing hooky from the regular organized programs. The ship was more exciting. I do remember we were all sea sick after leaving Rotterdam but were over that in a day. We were introduced to our bounancy vests on day one and had safety lessons frequently. I vividly recall the smell of the cafferteria when going to eat and the noise of clanging cutlery. The shop inboard was great and I remember my parents Nic and Louise buying me a toy sports car. I vaguely remember passing Gibraltre and stopping at Port Saud seeing the American aircraft carier with planes on deck; the pyramids of Egypt from the Suez Canal and the death of the King George the 6th while we were in Aden - we went ashore and all the shops were closed in mourning. I remember our call into Columbo Ceylon and the bartering boat which came to meet us, the warfies strike in Fremantle WA which kept us there for an extended period. The arriving in Sydney. My memories may be a little distorted with age but i will never forget the JVO adventure. The whole family NEVER regretted making the trip. After the 7 of us migrating another 5 were born in Australia and now we have a family of 130 something to be proud of in Brisbane. Nick de Weger
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Jon Klopper 16 August, 2012 16:33
My mother arrived on the same voyage as you arriving in Sydney I'm March 1952. She was on the voyage with her mother and father sister and two brothers you most likely would have run into her brother who was 8 yo on the trip his name was Hans Bleekemolen. They also travelled on the train to Brisbane after arriving in Sydney. However they could not get jobs in Brisbane so moved back to Sydney shortly afterwards. Unfortunately my mothers biggest memory of the trip was being seasick most of the way but it was certainly a memorably trip on a great ship.
Suzanne Smith 10 August, 2012 19:53
My parents, sister & I sailed from Penang, Malaysia in Dec 1960 when I was 12, travelling with several other RAAF families returning to Sydney after living 2 1/2 years in Penang. We had a fantastic trip on the JVO and I still have mementos from the voyage - photos, menus, daily activities and passenger list. We stopped at Singapore & then Brisbane. I remember the great food, dressing up for the Captain's Dinner, the fancy dress party and just a great time on board. I was lucky I had turned 12 and did not have to stay in the children's area. I was very sad to hear that she had been damaged by fire.
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G.F.Kokshoorn ( Bert) 20 August, 2012 00:20
I came over from holland in 1955 on this boat but being only 10 years old I don't remember a great deal, I'm sure we arrived in July but don't know the departure from holland date or the arrivel date other then July 1955, My Father has passed away and my Mother is 93 and in a nursing home,so I have no where tonget some information. I do remember there was a party on board and think it might have been the Queens Birthday, any information woud be greatly appreciated! I am living in Boolarra Victoria. Thanks in Advanced!
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Discovery Centre 20 August, 2012 10:36
Hi Bert, the National Archives of Australia holds all immigration records and will have some information for you. For further details, please see our Quick Guide to Passenger Lists.
Dini Reijke-Teunissen/Hundman 26 August, 2012 17:44
Hello, maby we are wrong but is your mother Co Hundman and your father Jan Kokshoorn??? When it is right then we have som pictures Please Mail us, My Grandma was 'n Kokshoorn Greatings Dini from Leidschendam
Willi Carney - nee Bosch. 20 August, 2012 20:14
I am in the process of writing a memoir. My father arrived in 1950. My mother, sister and I in July 1951. My mothers brother Wilhelm Klaver, his wife Johanna (Jo) and their daughter Tineke came on the JVO but I don't know when - it was aprrox 1952,3 or 4.??? This part of my Dutch extended family have all died and I am trying to find out the date they arrived. My Oom Wim and Tante Jo were initially placed at the Bonegilla migrant hostel in Wodonga. He used to catch the train from Wodonga to Spencer St in Melbourne where my father picked him up and he helped us build our bungalow. They then left Bonegilla and moved in to the street next to us for some years then later on moving to Brighton. Does anyone recall travelling with the Klavers?? My uncle had been a sailor with the Dutch Navy.
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Discovery Centre 21 August, 2012 09:59
Hi Willi, thank you for sharing your story, and hopefully someone remembers travelling with the Klavers!
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Betty Washbrook (den Iseger) 22 August, 2012 11:40
Judging by the comments the majority of people who wrote in went to Australia. My parents and I arrived in Quebec, Canada in 1954. We then boarded a train for a 5 day journey to Vancouver, B.C. Arrived late in the evening and boarded the Vancouver-Victoria ferry for a 6 hour trip to Victoria, B.C., arriving at 6:00 a.m. where family members greeted us. As an 11 year old, living in Utrecht, I had never experienced such a vast country. It was a journey I have never forgotten. I visit Holland often and I will always have a "soft spot: for anything Dutch. My mother just passed away at age 91.
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Bert Kokshoorn 8 September, 2012 21:07
I was 10 years old when my Family of Mum/Dad and 6 kids traveled on the JVO to Australia in June/July 1955 arriving first in Freemantle West Australia for a short stop over, and then on to Melbourne where we went by bus to Daylesford in Victoria we went to what was called "The Gables" a huge migrant hostel,my Father (Martin Kokshoorn) traveled to Moe in Gippsland where he got a job with the SEC.And we were moved to Moe shortly afterwards into a commission house in Philip Street Moe. Dad opened a bakery first in Elizabeth Street Moe, and then to Moore Street Moe, but due to a lot of ill health with the kids he closed the door of the shop and got back to the SEC so he would have more time to spend with the Family through these hard times. Dad has passed away in 2007 but Mum is still with us at 93 years of age living in a beautiful nursing home in Trafalgar named Andrews House, I take Mum out for lunch and a drive twice a week and she loves it! I thank my parents for taking me to such a beautiful country like Australia and will be for ever grateful!
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Jan Rietveld (John) 5 October, 2012 11:57
I came here on the JVO in 1959 when there was a big storm and we nearly sank.I was 17 at the time and travelled with my family. My father Johannes Rietveld, mother Marietje Rietveld (Den Besten), sister Rita and brother Ben. Rita's fiancee Tony Graat was with us also. We disembarked at Melbourne where we were met by the Bardoel family, who were builders and gave my dad a job and helped me with my apprentiseship at Freighters/Lawton Moorabin.My father returned to Holland after a few years and is still alive age nearly 97. Mum past away shortly after returning to Holland. I now live in Morwell with my second wife.
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Candi Howell 26 October, 2012 14:30
Hi Was just wondering if anyone remebers Wilhelmus & Catharina Hoogenboom, or Gijsbertus Hoogenboom? they travelled to Australia in the early 1950's & got off in Fremantle. Gijsbertus is my father, I would love to hear if anyone new them on their journey to Australis
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Elizabeth Graus 28 October, 2012 13:40
My family and I arrived in March 1957 on the JVO on Station Pier Melbourne. The day after we arrived in Melbourne we travelled on to Daylesford by train. We settled in a Dutch Hostel in Heppburn Springs. The voyage on the JVO was thouroughly enjoyable. We befriended the Martens family who settled in Noble Park. I befriended some Hungarian Refugees who were on the boat. I remember best the food on the JVO. It was plentyfull and delicious... 4.1/2 star quality!!
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Aletta Dogterom 23 January, 2013 22:28
My parents and siblings also came on this date but we settled in Sydney. I recall the rough seas we had in the Gulf of Biscay, the ship moaned and creaked and I thought we were done for. There were usually two sittings in the 2 dining rooms , but on a particular day there was only one siting of 80 people, others all being seasick.
Lowie schutte 1 November, 2012 02:35
I was 9years old whene we left Holland in 1956,with my parents and 3 sisters.Iwent back to Holland in1966,have been backt to australia 4times.The trip what I remember was Great going thought THE seuz canals, I van remember that some one come on THE boat andit à trick with chikens.
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Kitty Knappstein 6 November, 2012 07:18
Father Gus (Augustus Theodor Joseph) and Mother (Julia Randoe-Knappstein) my brother Thomas and myself came out in 1956, we hard to go around the Horn because the Suez Canal was closed because of the conflict there. I was just four but I remember getting in trouble because I was throwing the toy wooden blocks over the side into the wash of the ship, so the children's area must have been near the back. I remember also that we ran from one side of the ship to the other as it rocked from side to side in the swell. We celebrated St Nicholas' Day with pepernoten and it was the first time I saw a film, it was a cartoon. When we arrived in Melbourne, and our uncle was there to pick us up, (Oma and Opa had come out two years before, I thought that the whole city was happy for our arrival because there were streamers and balloons and everything was like a party. It was only recently that someone pointed put to me that Melbourne was hosting the Olympics and it was not all about us! To this day, I hear mudlarks with the same strong memories as I did that very first time, and I love the smell of marigolds because it was the first ever time I smelled them that year when we arrived. I love the smell of creosote, too because it reminds me of the ship. If I really want to 'go back' to strong memories, it sounds really silly, but I make a sweet cup of tea with milk, in a plastic mug and I can remember the dining room on the ship, with the edge on the table,(so the plates would not slide off) and the portholes where you could see the water level rise and fall as the ship moved. Was the dining area on the same level as the water line? Dad used to have a keyring from the JVO. And I remember how disappointed he was to have lost it. Does anyone have a spare?
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Hans Zomer 24 August, 2013 19:44
I have been looking at this site for a while and this is the firtst time that I have seen a comment from someone who was on the same journey as our family. The Zomer family, mum, dad and their six sons (of whom I am the eldest) had a memorable five weeks on the JVO from Amsterdam to Melbourne, leaving early November and arriving in Melbourne on 8 December 1956, the day the Olympic Games ended. The trip took us to the Canary Islands, Cape Town and Fremantly before disembarking in Melbourne. Memories from the Canary Islands were palm trees, the many old cars still being driven about and that the milkman came around with milk goats to deliver the freshest milk, it was also the first time that we saw an organ grinder with his monkey. The ship had engine trouble after rounding Dakar and was able to go only on slow speed in the Gulf of Guinee. Cape Town was still in the throes of Apartheid and the separation between white and black was very obvious. Good speed was made to Fremantle, I think the record for a days travel was 408 units (nautical miles?) acording to the on board travel sweepstake. In Fremantle we were picked up by our old neighbours from Wassenaar and they showed us around the town. We also received a letter from an old family friend suggested that we be sponsored by the Dutch Reformed Church and come to the Latrobe Valley, this we accepted and the family established itself in Morwell. Personally my time aboard ship was not all that exiting for a teenager, our mother had broken her arm three weeks before leaving and I had the responsibility to look after our baby brother. We had two four berth cabins down below on E Deck, very close to the Chinese kitchen and no portholes to look out of. The best part of the journey was meal times, there was plenty of all types of food and it was served up by waiters, no coooking, no washing up. Entertainment was not suitable for a young teenager, you were too old for the children's games and too young for the infrequent adult entertainment nights. Luckily there was a library and I was an avid reader. Dad worked on the many power stations being constructed in the Valley until he had a stroke following a serious operation, he lived for a further 13 years partially paralysed and unable to speak before passing on at 78. Mum looked after the welfare of the family, loving her grandchildren and great grand children until her time had come at 98 years old. The six boys, now aged between 58 and 72 are spread around, Perth, Adelaide, Latrobe Valley, two in suburban Melbourne and one living in China. More of the Zomer family migrated on the JVO to Australia. Our grandmother followed us in 1961 aged 73 and our uncle, his wife and five children migrated several years later.
hans eekelschot 2 November, 2013 19:26
came across yor comments must say i was 14 and came on jvo in 1955 june speak soon lovely to read your story xxx hans
Henry Doering 24 November, 2012 11:00
We left Germany for Amsterdam to come to australia on the JVO on the11th nov 1952 and arrived in Fremantle on the 7th December 1952. I was only 2 but I can remember bits and pieces.. How many others arrived on that date!!! We originally came from Berlin. My father was Gerhard and my mother was Erika. Henry Doering (Doring)
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Russ Phillips 8 December, 2012 02:52
My mother and her family (British) were on this ship from Bombay to Southampton in 1946.
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Jank Newton 13 December, 2012 16:43
Thank you very much for this useful information.Please keep on blogging.I am looking forward to read your next great article..
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Albury Accommodation 21 December, 2012 18:31
Wow, what a unique blog. Bravo!
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Albury Accommodation 27 December, 2012 17:34
Wow…. That's impressive such a informative article thanks for it.
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Kristina Geziena Visser 31 December, 2012 22:15
Hi, my parents Johannes Jacob and Adriana Gorrissen immigrated with us four kids, Pieter, Agaat, Johannes J and Kristina G (twins)in 1952 on the beautiful ship The Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt. We touched down in Freemantle but then headed for the east coast. We were in the camp at Bathurst for a while but then my father was head hunted to work for a dutch building company in Geelong.We lived in North Melbourne for a while until settling in Geelong. Life was good but my mother was terribly homesick. She forever kept alive wonderful stories from "home" and her family.I fell in love with her family and in my twenties mum and I went over for a visit.I was six years old when I arrived in Australia. It was like stepping back into a beautiful storybook. Sadly mum's parents were no longer alive, however, her brothers and their wives were and we had the priviledge of staying in my grandmother's (Oma) home where my uncle then lived. I am so grateful for those memories. I am just wondering if there are others in Sydney who would like to have a reunion? I know I would. I would happily arrange it if you out there are interested. Kindest regards Krissy Visser
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Betsie Frost (nee van Berkom) 24 January, 2013 23:14
My family immigrated to New Zealand in 1959 and we traveled from Holland to Wellington New Zealand, we left Holland in June and arrived in Wellington in August My father Wilhelmus Cornelus van Berkom (d17February 2008) and my mum Annie van Berkom (nee Brouwer) travelled with 4 children to a land they didn't know and a language they couldn't speak mys sisters are Elly she was 12, Marianne and me Betsie (twins)were 8 yrs old and my little sister Anja was 4 years old, I can remember a storm where I think the piano player lost his life overboard??? and going through the Suez canal, mum and dad were allowed off the boat but all the children had to stay on board, we arrived in Wellington expecting to see everybody dressed in grass skirts!! My parents settled down in Christchurch New Zealand and made a lovely life for us all in this land which my dad always call PARADISE!!! AND IT TRULY IS A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY.
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john albers 16 February, 2013 16:42
I arrived i wellington with my parents Joop and Elise Albers i do belive it was 1959 i remember my mother telling me about the storm in the Bay of Biscay and how sick I was I was 3 and a half
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tiemen klijnsma 27 February, 2013 11:15
i and my fam whas at the ship i think mei 1985 going to melbourne and whent to bonagila that whas a camp fore imigrants that time i whas 13 and later whe went to nanawading any body been there
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Michelle Pitts 5 March, 2013 16:40
I am reseaching the Cornelissens family particulaly a Roza or Margret who arrived via this ship in Sydney on the 13/10/1950. Any information no matter how small would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
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Discovery Centre 7 March, 2013 10:52

Hi Michelle, you will need to contact the National Archives of Australia for records, if you cannot find their names on the index, you may wish to contact them directly for assistance.

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Michelle 15 March, 2013 18:51
Thankyou I have done that and I am now awaiting for files. If anyone remembers the family Cornelissens who disembarked in Sydney on the 13th October 1950 I would dearly love to hear from you as I am trying to trace my heritage. Anything no matter how small would be very welcoming.
Aloysius (Lou) Artz 18 March, 2013 15:31
My Family left Holland aboard the JVO in April 1956,arriving May the 14th.Our family consisted of my Mother, Father and 9 children of which I was the eldest aged 12, and the youngest (twins) not quite 2, so certainly a handful for my parents I should imagine. It also meant that myself and my brother who would have been nearly 11 at the time were left to our own devices to a certain extent - and we had a ball exploring ALL areas of the ship. It certainly was a great adventure for us boys but remember well that we had to catch a train to Ballarat after disembarking and then a bus to a small town named Linton in western Victoria, where my Aunt and Uncle lived. I recall my Mother commenting that "we're going to fall off the ends of the earth". We lived with my Aunt and Uncle in from what I recall was a 3 bedroomed house for 6 months prior to our house arriving from a town 6 miles away, a shift home as my Uncle had a block of land to put the house on. At the time they had 5 children with another one on the way - a total of 18 people in this house, for us kids it was great especially learning how to swear in English and other children's activities, but for our parents it must have been HELL having to share such a confined space. Mum and Dad have long since passed as has my Auntie, my Uncle however my Uncle aged into his 90's is still alive and only recently sold the house to another family member.
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Fred Ruhland 11 April, 2013 23:30
Our family Bart and Christina Ruhlamd and their seven children arrived in Sydney November 1957 on the JVO, and came to Brisbane by train to stay at Wacol Migrant centre. I vividly remember waking up many mornings to the call of the pee wee bird outside the door. At wacol Migrant camp you were allocated only sleeping accommodation and no actual living area. After about a year we moved to the bayside at Wynnum,( a suburb of Brisbane). I was 9 at the time but I do remember some things from the boat such as eating the bit of cream of the jelly desert and leaving the rest and until this day my eggs have to be hard boiled as on the ship they were very runny. I got a bad nose bleed in the red sea, how ironic. I did enjoy going to wood working classes. I also, like a previous entry, recall during rough weather the water level going up and down the portholes while we were eating. For many years after arriving here I used to think , what if I woke up in the morning and was back in my bed in Holland and it had only been a dream Thanks to this site,( I only found tonight), for the memories.
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Willem(Bill) van de Meene 14 May, 2013 22:44
I came to Australia on the Johan van Oldenbarneveld with my 3 sisters and 2 brothers when I was 14 years old arriving in Sydney in March 1952. We then travelled by steam train to Brisbane where my father became a minister in the then Presbyterian church. My parents have since passed away but thair 6 children are all still alive and have had succesful careers in Australia. I have been back with my wife a number of times, the last time only last month. My wife speaks some Dutch and we like visiting Holland and seeing friends and family. The journey took about 6 weeks and we stopped in Fremantle where there was a wharfies strike at the time. The Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney was not deterred by the strike. The crew anchored its planes to the deck crosswise and revved the engines and the propellers created a wind that pulled the carrier to the middle of the Swan River so it could steam out to sea.
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Peter Heijn 24 May, 2013 10:26
We travelled on the JVO to West Australia leaving Amsterdam on the 5th January 1954 and arriving on the 1st February that year. I was 9 years old at the time and travelled with my parents Piet and Jacoba Heijn with my older sister Lutina ( Loekie ) and my younger brothers Lucas and Verno. I loved the trip from Holland it was quite an adventure! The only part I didn't like is when I had tripped and got concusion and missed seeing Aden. We arrived at Fremantle in a heat wave and travelled to Northam Migrant camp in a bus with just a few families on as we were in quarantine as my brothers had the measles. The bus seemed to have stopped at every pub on the way to get a cold drink. At the camp my introduction to school in Australia, a one classroom, lots of nationalities and grade 1 to 7.
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johanna nee HUINCK 26 May, 2013 15:23
Came from Holland, arrived in Australia feb, 12, 1956. I was only 3yo with my 3 brothers and 1 sister, ages 4yo to 16yo. The only thing I can remember from this journey was staying in the creche they supplied. My mum very sea sick, and my dad, had a great time from what my mum told me. We first went to Bonagella? camp then to the Broadmeadows Hostel, 7 of us in a 3 room Nissan Hut. Mum became depressed, dad and my older brother could not find work, ended up travelling to qld to work in the sugar canes to get some money. My mum missed her family so much, still remember, my older sister and brothers looking after me, cause she wasn't coping. Finally settled in Glenroy after much struggle, but so glad we are in Australia. Sadly mum, dad and sister gone now, but the family lives on and prospering well.
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Betty MacKay (Maertzdorf) 18 June, 2013 16:27
We probably came out on the same boat, I was a baby. Both my parents are still with us, they recently gave me a few photos taken on the JVO, black and white and a little bit blurry, but interesting. My parents live near Geelong now, they also went to Bonegilla when they first arrived.
Willie Kalkhoven 15 June, 2013 21:26
Born in Medan Indonesia back to Holland as the Japs invaded living in Putten Holland during the war then back to Marlot Holland near Wassenaar where I went to school for a year or so then on the Johan van Oldebarneveld came to Fremantle Australia.Lived in Safety Bay with my parents and half brother Hugo Gevers for a while.The my parents got a job in Three Springs on a farm.Went to school there for a year then back to Safety Bay and to Point Peron Convent.Got kicked out for wagging due to too many canes . Then to Fremantle Boys high which was a nightmare for a kid born in Indonesia and more or less brought up in Holland then Australia.It was tough there.I often wonder where my my life would be had we remained in Holland.One thing is for sure I wouldn't have two wonderful daughters a bunch of great grand kids but still missing that ever elusive sense of belonging.
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Louise Evans-Vulling 3 August, 2013 20:23
My parents Marinus & Nel and 9 children aged between 16 and 4 came to Australia on the JVO leaving Rotterdam 8th April 1960, arriving 16th May at Station pier Melbourne. We were the largest family on board that particular journey. We had 4 cabins assigned to us, and my younger sister and I shared one. We had a wonderful time playing on board, it was a great adventure. I was 12 yrs and my younger brother loved to explore all over the ship and took me along to below deck. I even saw the engine room with the huge pistons (like the Titanic)I specially remember the agony of leaving Oma & Opa, and loved oldest brother just married behind, with the ship pulling away from the harbour breaking all the paper ribbons thrown down, and my parents crying their eyes out..tear-jerking stuff! But we played, swam, got sunburnt and sea-sick, and saw many other parts of the world where the ship stopped..so many memories I could write a book! We never regretted coming and love Australia, but remain Dutch and speak the language together with my siblings. One more brother was added to our family in '62. My parents settled in the Dandenongs, Belgrave and my Dad worked hard at his factory job to provide for us all. He died aged 65. Our Mum is 94 and now lives in DutchCare in Kilsyth. Our Aussy family has grown huge with 34 Grandchildren for Mum and 51 Greats so far. I have had 2 trips back to Holland, in '82 with Mum,and showed my husband my school and neighbourhood and country in '08.
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sandra hagenbeek 29 August, 2013 21:29
my grandparents frans de kroon en Cornelia de kroon where on the jvo in 1955 with 8 childeren. my mum (aloysia de kroon) was 6 years old. they arrived in Melbourne juli 12 1955. I'm trying to find out more but that is realy hard from here in the Netherlands. if there is some one how can help me I'm looking form passerlist foto's enz...
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Bert Kokshoorn 8 September, 2013 20:29
I'm sorry but I don't think I can help you a lot because I was only 10 years old when we went to Australia but we must have been on the same boat as we arrived July 12th 1955 I can remember being on that boat for a very long time!
sandra hagenbeek 9 November, 2013 20:47
thanx bert for your replly! you where the same age as my uncle mums older brother maby you remember him, his name is john.but it was a big ship so maby you dont even met. I'm still looking for infomation on the intenet it is really hard still hoping that there is somebody who can help me.
David Livingstone 31 August, 2013 12:13
Working for RIL from 1962 I had the privilege of some vacation coastal travel on the J.v.O., paying the princely sum of 10/6d per diem all-found. At almost 20,000 GRT, the J.v.O. was small enough to be intimate, and large enough to manage hostile seas. Her main saloon staircase was majestic.
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john koote and nelly denis 18 September, 2013 07:00
we also sailed on the jvo to arrive in Sydney on 21-8-1956.what I would like to know is the departure date from Amsterdam.
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Discovery Centre 18 September, 2013 10:51
Hi John and Nelly, the trip normally took about a month, so although I cannot find the exact date you left Amsterdam, it would have been around 4 weeks prior to your arrival.  Perhaps try searching the National Archives of Australia website for your family records. 
w.visser 10 April, 2014 10:36
reis 39 13/7/1956 van Amsterdam arrived Sydney 19/8/56
August Pegel 19 October, 2013 20:09
We came over on the boat in 1957 in March. August Pegel, Johanna Pegel and son Gustaaf Pegel. Love to hear from anyone who was on ship same time.
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Martin Bertens 6 November, 2013 23:50
Me 11 years old 3 sisters and my mother departed from Sumatra/java kade in Amsterdam on 7 June 1950. Stopped in Las Palmas went on to Walvis Bay in South West Africa,where we disembarked together with some dutch and german families.Ithink the JVO went on to Cape Town.The ship was still in the troop carrier configuration.Anybody remember being on the same trip?
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Ron Ruys 17 November, 2013 20:35
Arrived on this boat back in 1953 with my father, mother, brother and sister. Spent 12 months in a Migrant camp before moving to the suburbs of Brisbane.
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Mike Kaaks 3 December, 2013 06:52
what a wonderful site! and what a pleasure to simply browse through these memories. My mother and I were on the sailing from Amsterdam December 1959, disembarking in Fremantle in January 1960. The memories I have of that trip are all associated with fun. I'd love to link up with any fellow travellers from that sailing.
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aysha 5 December, 2013 17:37
I have some relatives that worked on the ship between 1957 - 1958. are there any records of crew members that are available to the public?
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Discovery Centre 13 December, 2013 13:51
Hi Aysha,

The National Archives of Australian hold all the records of individual migrants who came out on the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt, some of which are accessible online, but unless some of the crew migrated, their records will not be here at the National Archives. We suggest searching in relevant archives in the Netherlands for lists of crew members. The Dutch National Archives  have shipping lists, but again they may or may not have crew lists. There are relevant archives and record offices in Amsterdam (Gemeente Archief Rotterdam) and Rotterdam (Gemeentelijke Archiefdienst Rotterdam), and they are apparently responsive to email enquiries. The libraries of shipping museums in the Netherlands might also be helpful, although their website is in Dutch: Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam.

Franklin Piers 11 January, 2014 10:19
Sailed for australia from holland when I was just 18 month old for one of the shortest of migrations, just six month in australia and than back to holland. can't remember but looks like an extended cruise my mum and dad took though my father stayed in australia until now.
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Nathan 23 January, 2014 16:32
Looking for information on: BIELEC Miecislaus Stanislauw born 3 April 1929; Lenna Tannetje nee Stokman born 30 April 1931 (Dutch); Maria Maatje born 10 September 1957; Tadeusz born 15 November 1958 - Polish - travelled per ship NAMA, ORANJE departing in 1963 under the Australian and Netherlands Governments Migration Agreement.
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Discovery Centre 24 January, 2014 14:56
Hi Nathan, all immigration records from after 1923 are held by the National Archives of Australia. Some individuals’ records are indexed online and you may be able to locate a reference to Miecislaus and the others by using the NAA’s record search, if you don't have any luck online, you will need to contact the NAA directly.
Elizabeth 10 February, 2014 05:04
Hi Nathan my name is Elizabeth. Miecislaus Bielec was my uncle(my mother's brother). I have been looking any informacion a long time.I know uncle died August 1981, my mother died too(in April 2005). I have many old photos and letters from Australia.I live in UK since one year. In Poland, in my city (Przemysl) is family grave. I'm very happy that I finded sameone from my Family. Could you send me back any informations about my uncel and his Family please. Best regards Elizabeth
Wim Baas 4 February, 2014 16:38
I was 5 when I migrated on this ship back in 1954. Although I have no memories of the voyage coming over to Australia, I would like to learn more about this ship and those who travelled with me and where they ended up.
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Maria Johnston / Nabuurs 5 February, 2014 23:16
It was a thrill to read so many stories about JVO, though surprised to find only one family arriving on Melbourne Cup Day in November 1953,the same as our family, among so many stories.I was ten at the time but recall a remarkable amount about the early years of hardships and the good times.Sorting through many photos made me decide to write my memoirs,now in the final stages of completion.Thanks for all your memories!
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Jack Bolt 26 February, 2014 11:06
We departed Amsterdam on board the JvO. on the 28th. of March 1951. We were accommodated in large rooms/holds or in Dutch Zaal. Men and boys were separated from their wives and female children. The sleeping arrangements were on metal framed beds in long rows and the beds were in stacks 3/4 high. What I would like to know from people who travelled on the ship in say 1954/55 their sleeping arrangements, where they accommodated in Cabins or were the large rooms/zaal used?
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