First Impressions

Detail of diary, 17 November.
Extract from Ally Heathcote's diary: Tuesday, November 17th 1874.
Source: Museum Victoria
After we left the boat we walked across the railway pier up to the station. We had first class tickets given us from the Ship Owners as our passage was paid up to Melbourne. We had to wait till a train came up and as soon as we had sat down, they came and locked us in, and off we steamed to Hobsons Bay Railway Station in Melbourne. As we sat in the train we could see along the bay all the ships at anchor. Then a little farther we crossed the Yarra Yarra, and presently the train steamed into the station. Then the guard came and let us out.
– Ally Heathcote, writing after landing at Sandridge Pier in November 1874.
Well, arriving in Australia. See… Austria is so spick and span, and so clean that it is nearly not natural! Then we came… to Port Melbourne, oh, it looked so black and smoky and oh!! Then I said to my husband "now, how dirty it looks here!" "…oh that is only the port" he said.
– Leopoldine Mimovich, remembering arriving at Port Melbourne in July 1948.

And then near Melbourne the sky gets brighter and brighter. The flight slower, lower and lower. And then I can see and we very anxious… All we see is the brown, the browny colour of the ground, of the land, of the soil. Then we don't see any house. We only see trees, but then we only see… all the squares, square by square, you know from the aeroplane. And then I say "How come Australia look very funny, only squares?" And then I say "Oh my God, I've travel to a desert or something! How come we haven't got a city life like I imagine?" You know, and things like that… Then my brother say, "Well, we can have farm"… So we start to plan from imagination until we landed on the airport…
– Mai Ho, recalling arriving at Tullamarine Airport in December 1982.


Download Google Earth, which gives access to aerial images of the Earth.

Imagine that you are a migrant arriving in Australia by air. Trace the part of the journey from where your aircraft first crosses the Australian coast until it lands at the airport nearest your intended home.

Describe what you see from the aircraft window.