A New Life


Safia: My name is s Safia Parkar. My name is Nasima Heron and I am her daughter and migrated to Australia from Mumbai, India in 1970.

We wanted to move out of India for a better future and better life. And it just happened that my husband went to the Australian embassy [in India] with his relatives and he saw the application form and so filled it out and put that form into the pool. And that is how we immigrated to Australia. And we moved here for a better future and better life with our three kids.

It was a long process in those days and it was not that a hard to migrate from another country to Australia. So it didn't take that long and within 6 months we got the approval and...

Nasima: Because my Mum and Dad's qualifications were recognised in Australia due to India being under British rule, his qualifications were accepted and it made the approval process much quicker and easier.


Safia: I thought it would be a better life living in Australia - would be in better houses and a better life. India is far more crowded than Australia, and at that time people saw it as much cleaner and better.

Nasima: In India we live in a small apartment. So we had better housing. I thought we would have bigger houses, and from my perspective as a child, I thought there would be lots more varieties of things you could get, from foods to toys and those sorts of things.


Safia: When we moved the Australian government did not allow us to bring much money. We came to Australia with a $100 in our hand. It was not easy to settle in Australia and we had to struggle in the beginning.

It was not hard to find a job, so my husband found a job and we got the house. But life wasn't easy as it was in India. In India we had servants to do the housework and things, but here you had to do it yourself.

After a while I got used to doing the housework and things and it didn't take long to settle in Australia.

[Religious pursuits]

Safia: My husband kept a diary and he used to write in Urdu. He said (Sofia reads a section from the diary in Urdu), and says that her husband noted that Australia was a non- Muslim country and that there were no [religious] activities, or Islamic education, and so for my family (her husband) had to start Islamic educational classes. There were also others from our community here and so he got a chance to service [and provide for] these communities so that their children could come and learn as well.

Nasima: Actually when our family had been here for over 15 years, there was an article in the newspaper (and interview) telling how dad and a few other family members and members of the community started societies to promote Indian culture. So, it was not only for the Muslim community but also so that the Australian community could see what the Indian community was about.


Nasima: As this interview took place 25 years ago, he was proud to be an Australian and have citizenship. Even though he loved India and the homeland, Australia was where he made his permanent home. And still 25 years later we consider Australia to be our home and where we will live for the rest of our lives.

About this Video

For the Parkar family, a new life began after migrating to Australia in 1970, balancing assimilation into Australian society whilst still maintaining their family’s culture, traditions and religious beliefs.
Length: 7:59