‘I was born in Spain, in 1927, to an extremely poor family.
‘From 1936 to 1939 we experienced the extreme terrors of the civil war, with constant bombing by Hitler’s Luftwaffe. My childhood was spent queuing for food or begging, or stealing from fields. After the war, school was impossible, as my father was imprisoned for defending our republic.
‘In 1962 I arrived in Australia with a young family, and worked at Fishermans Bend building military guidance equipment. Life was good until a serious accident in 1973 left me with spinal injuries. My supportive family had to survive some very difficult years.
‘I began to paint and write poetry, eventually publishing successfully in magazines and anthologies. I also became active in supporting the Spanish community, and I received the Knight of the Civil Merit medal in 1996 from the Spanish government.
‘My old dreams were broken by the work accident, but I did not give up; I dreamt new dreams. I looked in different directions and I found unexpected treasures within myself and others.’