Gur mbi gur bën mur – ‘stone on stone makes a wall’

Suleman and Nezi Ymer
Suleman and Nezi Ymer and their children, Rushan and Jeanette lived on land bought with lottery winnings. Biloela, Queensland. 1928.
Source: Hanife Ymer

(Albanian proverb)

Albanian migration to Australia before World War II consisted almost entirely of young single men journeying to different parts of the country. Some settled in Queensland, where a few earlier kurbetxhi had found work as farm labourers on cotton, tobacco and sugar cane farms. Others came directly to Melbourne or else moved here from rural areas. They worked on the docks and in manufacturing industries, or ran small businesses such as cafes, boarding houses, milk bars, fish and chip shops and fruit and vegetable shops.

As seasonal labourers, some Albanians found work on farms in Shepparton and in the Yarra Valley. Albanians from Queensland, Western Australia and elsewhere soon joined them, and in time they were able to pool sufficient resources to buy small farms of their own. Soon Albanians established market gardens and orchards in other areas around Victoria, such as Werribee and the Goulburn Valley. Theirs was a life of hard work and isolated existence, with rudimentary living conditions.

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Ramadan and Ferit Ymer Mono internment camp Rexhep Mustafa, his son Angle and Zeqir Halim Rahime Meka Remzi Mulla and other family members Ismail brothers