When I was six years old, my parents decided to come to Australia. They didn't tell me until we were at the airport. Not only was I uprooted from my idyllic peaceful childhood existence, but I didn't get to say goodbye to my friends, most of my toys, my room, my pet dog. This might sound very unfair, but we were living in Communist Poland where people had very little freedom and things were becoming very restless. To cut a very interesting story short, we got out HOURS before a "State of War" was declared and the borders were slammed closed. My parents had been too scared to tell me in case I mentioned it to anyone, or chances are they would have ended up in jail (or "disappeared").
We arrived in London and stayed six weeks over Christmas, during which time we applied for a visa to Australia, which was granted just days before we would have had to leave England back to Poland.
Thus we came to Australia.
My last memory of Poland was of sitting in the car at the airport, clutching a few coins in my hand and refusing to get out, and my parents pleading and threatening, themselves feeling on a knife-edge.
My first memory of Australia was the impression of a martian landscape. There had been a drought, and as the plane landed I peered out the window looking for kangaroos jumping over the dead red-brown landscape (mind you, we were landing at Melbourne Airport heh heh!).
Some other things I remember clearly of that time are the HEAT of that summer, the first huntsman I ever saw, and watching Playschool (Bonita, Noni and John sure sounded funny when they sung their guttoral la-la-la's compared to the flatter European "la" sound).
For the first couple of weeks we lived with some (distant) family friends who were very generous to share their house with us, then we found a house to rent in Springvale. This is a picture of me enjoying the summer at the Springvale house (the days before water restrictions! Remember?).
So that's my little piece of vintage Australiana. It means so much to me -- I'll never tire of declaring my deep love for this country and the incredibly rich mix of people who live here peacefully together.