Home Away From Home


[Music plays]

[Text] After World War II Australia signed an immigration agreement with over 20 countries. By 1995, 1 million post war immigrants had entered Australia.

[Text] From 2003 to 2008 on average over 135,000 people have migrated to Australia each year. Each have a story to Tell, whether good or bad of their migration to Australia and the reasons behind it.

[Text] Home Away From Home

[Constantine Hatzis] My name is Constantine Hatzis, my age is 60 and I was born in Greece.

[Arier Makur] I came to Australia in 2003, January, and I have now 6 years in Australia.

[Janet Marion Mill] My name is Janet Marion Mill and I prefer to be called just Jan. I am 67 years old and I was born in East Barnet which is in Hertfordshire in England.

[Rama Rama] Rama Rama is my name.

[Interviewer] When were you born?

[RR] I was born in 1930.

[I] Where were you born?

[RR] Koula Koula, Fiji Namata.

[I] When did you arrive in Australia?

[RR] I came here in 1989.

[Marta Mokhtarani] The reason why my family and I emigrated to Australia from Iran was a variety of reasons. One was the Iran/Iraq war that was happening at the time. Another reason was purely for opportunities for my sister and I in terms of education, work...

[CH] I arrived in Australia in 1966. And I arrived here with the Australis, which is a big ocean liner.

[I] Why did you immigrate to Australia?

[RR] I liked it here because my children are here. Two boys, two girls. That is why I came here.

[JMM] I emigrated with my parents, my mother and father, my twin sister and my brother who was two and a half, three years older, so he was about 17 at the time.

[AM] The reason actually we came to Australia is because we, back in the 90s we used to have war and war makes the country ...... So, we came to Australia to study and do something better.

[MM] I arrived when I was three years of age, and my family and I flew directly from Iran to Melbourne. Australia appealed to our family because of the fact that it was a totally new foreign country that we knew nothing about - only from what we saw on the television, beaches and vast open spaces and a lot of opportunities for people. At that time I think anywhere different from where we were looked better. So that's why we chose Australia to live.

[CH] Actually coming here was quite easy, the way of life, because it was very relaxed way of life, there was no stress no pressures on life, a lot of work, no reason to be pressured, so it was quite good that way.

[JMM] It gave me a lack of confidence in a way. I was fourteen and a half and I didn't go to a normal school here, I went straight to business college so I didn't have that interaction with other teenagers and I always felt a little bit on the outer.

[I] What difficulties did you encounter when immigrating to Australia?

[RR] No difficulties, I came on a plane. No papers at all. I just signed the immigration papers.

[MM] We had a few issues in coping to Australia life. One was language. I can remember having difficulties fitting in with my peers and finding friends because there was a language barrier.

[CH] The beginning was exciting because I was only young and I was going somewhere different. At the same time when you came here then you miss your mother of course after a few years. It was difficult for me, yes.

[MM] Having no one here, we had a strong close-knit family in Iran, and then coming here where there was nobody was difficult, having no one to play with or share the experience or discuss the problems we were having that I can remember having those issues.

[AM] I'm here with my family, with my mother. My dad is still in Sudan. They actually fit in like Australia because they are young they don't know much about their background, so they cope with Australian life.

[JMM] I didn't have language problems like Dutch and German immigrants, and Italians and Greeks. They had huge language problems, had to learn a different language. And although the actual country was more vast and different from England, it wasn't totally foreign. So I don't think I had any huge, huge problems, just had to get to know people really.

[CH] Well, when I arrived here like everybody else I suppose, names mean nothing to you. Doesn't matter if you're call John or George or anything, your name all of a sudden became Wog. So every time they say wog, you turned around because you know they are calling you - they weren't calling someone else. But it was hard times, but I coped with it well, because I used to call them skips. They can understand, it's no good getting upset over it, because that was the way of life.

[MM] We all went back us three - my mum my sister and I, and we were greeted at the airport with about 50 family members - cousins, uncles, aunties, people we had no idea but it was just amazing, they were all greeting us. So it was a big thing for our family and we stayed for approximately four or five weeks there. We went all over Iran. The capitals of Esfahan , Shiraz. Saw heaps of things, they took us everywhere, spoilt us, basically. And it was fantastic because I realised what I was missing.

[I] What does being and Australian Citizen mean to you?

[RR] I like it here, I can vote. And it's good here.

[JMM] Oh yes, I definitely call Australia home. I've always called Australia home I think really, since I've been here. If people ask me I would say, “Yes, I'm Australian but I was born in England”. But I've always considered myself to be Australian, even early on, because we all wanted to be Australian.

[CH] I call Australia home, I've got all my family here, my wife and kids. I've lived here more years here than I have back home, so it is home to me.

[MM] I call Australia home because it's given me so much, it's given me a great education. I can do whatever I want, I can travel anywhere I want, I've got an Australian passport. All these rights, all these extra privileges I've been given that I don't take for granted, I do remember all the time.

[RR] Australia I understand is my home, it's my everything. My kids and grandkids are all here.

[JMM] Some of us Australians tend to think just because people are hanging on to their cultures they're not becoming Australian, but that's so wrong. People want to be Australian, they consider themselves Australian, but they want to keep their cultures too, and I think that's fantastic and we should all encourage that.

[CH] The language is one thing, your religion is another thing. You can't just become a Catholic overnight or something like that. There's nothing else really that I can regret or say "I missed that" or "I missed this". Here in Australia you can have anything you want, any time you want. You can be at home away from home.

[I] Can I ask what your name is, your age and your place of birth?

[Mohammad Daoud] Mohammad Daoud. My age is 38. And I was born in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

[I] And when did you arrive in Australia?

[MD] May '93.

[I] And what was the reason you emigrated to Australia?

[MD] I was asked to serve in military, there was civil war. I didn't believe in that civil war, just escaped.

[I] You came to Australia to escape?

[MD] Yeah.

[I] How did you actually escape?

[MD] I had to walk on foot from Ethiopia to Djibouti, from Djibouti to Saudi Arabia, from Saudi Arabia to Egypt. Then I asked for asylum over there, in Egypt.

[I] How long did that take?

[MD] Five years to get to here.

[I] And very dangerous?

[MD] Very dangerous. Especially from Egypt to Djibouti, yes.

[I] And would you say it's all been worth it?

[MD] When I think about it, no. No, because I've been in bad situations, like we were kidnapped by bandits. I could have seen some other means to get here than walk.

About this Video

Six immigrants from Greece, England, Fiji, Iran and Ethiopia describe their reasons for emigrating, their experiences soon after arrival and how they feel about living in Australia.
Length: 05:23