On a dull bitterly cold day in February 1964 in northern England, we looked at each other, my husband and I, and simultaneously said ‘there has to be something better than this!’
We had a 15 month child and a mortgage we could barely afford.
The cost of fuel was becoming prohibitive and life seemed to be a dreary round of meals on a ‘shoe string’, trying to keep the house warm as well as copious amounts of washing using a copper and an antiquated washing machine (no disposable nappies back then!).
We wanted a better life!
Then, funnily the very next day the local paper ran an advert inviting people to apply to emigrate to Australia under an assisted passage scheme.
A mere twenty pounds for all of us. An opportunity too good to miss! To put it in perspective, £20 (pre-decimal currency), equated to slightly less than two weeks wages at that time.
Skilled labour was in particular demand and as my husband was a tradesman, we were considered very suitable candidates.
We attended an information session, were interviewed and accepted almost immediately.
And so we joined the ranks of the TPP’s (Ten Pound Poms).
In early May we were allocated berths on P & O’s SS Himalaya due to sail in late November.
There was very little time to think about the radical step we were about to take as we were swept along in a whirlwind of activity; house and possessions to be sold, treasured items to be packed for transporting, vaccinations to be seen to, and goodbyes to be said.