Our Journeys


[Music plays]

[Moses Uliny] My name is Moses. I'm from Sudan. I came to Australia in 2000.

[Ivka Stanic] My name is Ilka. I arrived in Australia 30th May 1987.

[Ande Juricevic] My name is Ande Juricevic. I arrived in Australia on the 2nd of November 1966.

[MU] The reason why I left my country is because of war. The war started when I was not born in 1983, and then I was born in 1984. Then I have grown up in it until I joined the army and I spent 5 years in the army. I leave my mother, my father, my sister and my brothers and friends, but after all I realised that even though I stay with them and there is war it is still nothing, no fighting, so if the government say we want your son to go and fight then they don't have power to ??? me and I don't have power to refuse, so I have to go.

After I left the army I went to a refugees camp where many African refugees were put in care and when I went there I started school and I met many pupils who were Sudanese - my tribe, my clan, and I stayed with them for 5 years and actually life in the camp is different from life in Sudan.

[AJ] I had to leave my country because it was impossible to have a decent life. This was the plane that we took from Vienna, Austria, then to Melbourne. It was the first time I've ever been on a plane or saw one. That's me and my husband and our friends who travelled with us. We landed in Sydney. Where I came from, it was really hard for me. We didn't have anything, we were poor. Sometimes we didn't even have anything to eat. That was why we left. There was no jobs available. We weren't allowed to mention god or any religion. You are not allowed to say much. There was no freedom.

When we left for the journey it was very hard. For me it was hard because I was leaving my family behind, my brothers and sister. We decided to go to Australia. First we went through Croatia by trains, then by tram to Slovenia. When we arrived in Slovenia we walked up into the mountains, travelled by foot all the way to Austria. We crossed the border and looked for the police. The police took us to the immigration camp. We stayed at the shelter for 24 hours until they checked all our background information. From there they took us to another immigration camp.

On our journey I remember it was hard. It was raining heavily and was really cold. We didn't have anything to wear, we slept in the mountains. Rain was heavy, frost was falling. It was really hard for us. When I first arrived in Australia it was awkward and hard. We didn't know anybody. We didn't know how to speak English. We didn't know how to read. We didn't know anything and we had no money. It was hard for us - really hard. We thought a lot about back home and what we left behind and if there is a way we would go back, but we had to stay at least 2 years. But after 2 years we go tused to it. Somehow we got on our feet and realised we didn't want to go back.

[IS] My homeland is called Croatia. Before I left my country it was really hard, especially for the young people - there was not many jobs, not much opportunity even though most of us finished tertiary education, but we still didn't have a chance to work. I was 24 years old when I left my country. How did 24 year old girl feel to go to something new? I suppose I feel excited, thinking, "oh yeah, you succeed somewhere, whatever..." And sad too, you know, homesick. I don't jknow, it's very hard to explain now after 20-something years, but that's what it is now, there's nothing I can do about it.

As a young person you don't think much and I suppose that's when you're going to go and live your life and that time I didn't think much. But as years pass, yeah of course, you grow up without brothers and sisters and without your mother. I haven't seen my brothers and mother for 14 years. My brothers were small kids, when you go back and see them, they're grown up men with their own families. That time you'll never make up, there's no way in the world you make up. So, now I feel sad, but at that time I felt excited, I'm going to live my own life. It's a differe nt mixture of emotion. I can't really explain that much, but you miss a lot, your family, parents, a lot.

[AJ] When we first arrived in Australia, we landed in Sydney. After that we went 24 hours by train to Bonegilla. In Bonegilla we were in the immogration camp for about 14 to 15 days. Then I found my cousin who lived in Myrtleford. She came and picked us up and took us to the tobacco farm where she lived. When I left Croatia to come to Australia, it was so hard. My mum was 8 months pregnant and three of my sisters were only little and two of my brothers and it was so tough for me. I knew that they didn't have anything like I did. When I go shopping I always thought how it would be to share it with them, but it was impossible.

[IS] My brother was 21 or 22 years old and you can't be there. It's really, really hard to understand, I suppose for the people living normal lives with happiness and everything, they will never understand. But for me, in the year 1992 I would give anything in the world, a million dollars to just be there, but it's not a possibility so you just pass day by day. And then, nearly ten years later, when first time after about fourteen and a half years I went back to my country, I felt like a stranger.

First, there was ruins everywhere, people were bitter normal more finished than this one and they didn't get nothing there was hurt. Then I went to the graveyard and all those people that went to school with me, you just read the names, and that's the young people - 30 years old, 40 years old, 20 years old, 16 years old. It's really sad and hard. In a sense, probably we are lucky but it's really hard, really, really hard.

And that's why when you ask do I feel happy in Australia, I don't know how to answer that question. For example, my children were safe, sound sleep, but then on the other hand there is the brothers and sisters and cousins that suffered. So I don't really know how I feel. And it's sad, very sad.

[MU] When I left Africa I thought "where am I going? Is it a good place or a bad place? How will it be? And how can I go who with? Who will stay with me when I go there?" When I came to Australia, I spent two hours at Melbourne airport waiting for my cousin to come and pick me up. So actually when the plane landed everywhere is lighting, and I compared, oh, it will be a fantastic place because everywhere is lighting. It is not like ???, it is not like Sudan where I was, no, it is a different world. Whatever you want to do you can because Australia it is a country of freedom and there are many opportunities, opportunity for studying, opportunity for work.

[AJ] My dad passed away last year and now, after 60 years I can't remember having any alone time with my mum, one hour, two hours, let alone a day or two, a week, that was impossible. Finally, after 61 years, I am going overseas to spend alone time with my mum for a few months. If I can. I don't know what more I can tell you. That was how my life worked out, and how it all happened. And today I still thank God that everything worked out OK. And if things could be changed it would be better, but that's how it had to be, and it was the journey I had to go through. Thank you.

[Music plays]


About this Video

This film profiles three migration stories, each touching on the very emotional experiences of migration and the impact of those experiences on life in Australia.
Length: 16:48