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Goodbye to My Country

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Saying goodbye to loved ones and country

A ship full of migrating people ready to say goodbye to their loved ones and their country of origin. This is how it was in those times when I left Italy, people had to move from one country to another overseas by ship.

A ship full of migrating people ready to say goodbye to their loved ones and their country of origin. This is how it was in those times when I left Italy, people had to move from one country to another overseas by ship.

Saying goodbye Italy my native country

Welcome to our article (28), goodbye Italy my native country

Dear readers, this is my second group of articles in hub pages, starting with when I left Italy to emigrate to Australia; so, I said, ‘Goodbye to my country’. Here we are going to write a group of articles dealing with my life story in Australia, I hope that my articles are interesting and helpful, especially those hubs about housing and building work, and how to own a house, etc. Anyhow, we will start from the time when I left Italy. So, let us begin to tell you my life story.

We know that during our life, we must make decisions, because of what is happening around us, one of these decisions I had to make when I was young and decided to migrate to Australia. Here we need to say that to migrate from one country to another was a very serious decision, so, one had to make sure that one really needed to move from where you were. This was not easy to do, because the generations before us stayed all their life in the towns were they were born, only a few ventured to migrate, because moving from one country to another was dangerous and also took a very long time, so, for me and for all those that wanted to migrate was not an easy decision to make, but in the end everyone has to make his own decisions, so, after thinking it over, I decided to migrate to Australia, since my brother was already in Australia and he said that it was good. So, I said goodbye to my country and migrated to Australia.

Today to understand the reasons why I migrated to Australia in the sixties, you need to read those articles I have written in hub pages, or one of our earlier articles called, Farming today compared to the old way, where you can compare how hard it was in those days to earn a living in the farms.

Anyhow, today the same decision is easier to make, because people move from one country to another easily; but it was not so a while ago. In fact, if we go back a hundred years or so, most people used to live in their own native town all their lives, and a few of them never even saw another town even when they were close bye, then life was very different and people accepted that they would die in the same town that they were born. Today life is different, and we find it easier to move from one town to another and from one country to another and this is what I have done in my lifetime, I moved from Italy to Australia.

Here I want to explain my position, there are times in our lives when we have to say goodbye to the dearest things in our lives and move to another country. When people move to another country it has become necessary for them to do so; perhaps where they are and what they are doing has no future in it, so, they are looking for a better life in the future. For this reason, I decided to leave my family farm in my native country of Italy to migrate to Australia.

Now, to explain why, and keep my life story in a chronological way, I am going to write a bit more about my last time working in the farm, and then when I had to leave the farm, first to go in the army to serve my country and then leaving Italy altogether to come to Australia, and also my voyage in a ship called the Sydney that in those times was taking passengers to Australia, I will be telling you what impression Australia made on me when I arrived. Of course, I am going to be brief about all this, as there is a lot to tell if I try to tell you everything in details. So, now let me explain my position why I left Italy.

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Photo of army soldiers, Italy

This is just a photo of some soldiers in the army, I have been in the army to serve my country as required when I was young.

This is just a photo of some soldiers in the army, I have been in the army to serve my country as required when I was young.

Map of Italy, I was born in southern Italy and embarked at Naples to go to Australia.

Map of Italy, I was born in southern Italy and embarked at Naples to go to Australia.

Explaining my position

Let me explain, to understand the reasons of leaving Genzano di Lucania my native town and not wanting to return to work in the farm is this: there were many issues and most of all was that it was very hard to earn a living in the farms, even when we had average harvests; and then, the ways of working in the farms was changing and there was less need of man hours work, because the tractor and other machines were coming in, so, either we had to buy these machines or we had to move out of farming, for us to buy those machines was out of reach, as our farm was not big enough; and the last year that I worked in the farm we had a very poor harvest, in fact we made so little wheat that it could not cover the cost of buying the seeds we had sown.

All these facts put together made me see that I was wasting my time to work in the farms as my forbears had done for hundreds of years before me, so, I took the opportunity to migrate to Australia.

But before I could migrate to Australia I was called to serve in the army, you see in Italy all able males over 21 must serve in the army, so, I went to serve in the army as prescribed by the Italian laws. I served in the army and when the army let me go, I migrated to Australia.

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Port of Naples and some views

Ship docked in the port of Naples waiting to sail somewhere, this is one of the last sights one remember all life long.

Ship docked in the port of Naples waiting to sail somewhere, this is one of the last sights one remember all life long.

Some important buildings near the port of Naples

Some important buildings near the port of Naples

Naples is a very interesting town, this is a door of the old Naples

Naples is a very interesting town, this is a door of the old Naples

Leaving Italy for Australia

Goodbye Italy, I am leaving for Australia.

I remember that my mother with a friend came with me to Naples to farewell me when I left Italy. I suppose it was hard for my mother to let me go away from the family farm, but it had to be done, because we had debits we owed too much money, so, we the young and strong members of the family had to find a way how to pay our debits, to find a way how to pay your debits sometimes you had to borrow more money, as it was in my case, because I had to pay my fare myself and that was a lot of money. Anyhow, one of the options was to migrate make enough money to pay our debits and then return home to live a better life. Well at least that was as my mother wanted it to be, but it did not work that way for us for many reasons. Anyhow it was the year 1961 when I left Italy and embarked on the ship Sydney for Australia. I have to say that when you leave a place that you know well for a place where you have never been it seems an adventure, starting with walking up to the ship deck for the first time and looking at all those things that you have never seen before.

In those times voyages that took a long time, like going to Australia would worry people, so, old folks like my mother was worried, because the voyage from Italy to Australia would take one month by ship and in those times it was the only way available to come to Australia.

Anyhow, we are in Naples with my mother and her friend, who had a couple of sons in Australia already, we went on the ship and after visiting the ship, my mother and her fried went back on the dock, they stayed on the dock waiting to say goodbye. Anyhow, I embarked on the ship and this ship is going to take me to Australia a faraway land, I wonder how it is going to turn out, because I have never been to sea before, I also cannot swim and this worries me a bit but not so much, because I know that most of the other passengers cannot swim as well, so, we are all in the same boat, so to speak and also in reality, because we are all in the same ship. Anyhow, I am on this ship liner Called the Sydney and the ship is about to depart from Naples; the ship makes this low strange sound a couple of times and we see that it is slowly moving away from the sore. We all look for our relatives and friends and wave goodbye until they become so small in the distance that we could not recognize them.

And after that many thoughts came to our minds and we were saying within ourselves; goodbye mother, Goodbye my friends, goodbye Italy, goodbye Genzano my native town, who knows when I will see you again; and thus, the journey begins to unfold. We left Naples in the late afternoon, and next morning we were docked in Messina. While we were docked in Messina we were allowed to come ashore and walk around if we wanted to, of course as I was a young man I wanted to see as much as I could, so I walked the streets of Messina, which seemed to me a nice clean Sicilian town. Then we went back to the ship as we were told and we left Italy for good; Goodbye Italy, who knows when I will see you again?

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The Suez Channel

A ship navigating The Suez Channel

A ship navigating The Suez Channel

Suez Channel and the Red Sea and Aden Yemen

Suez Channel and the Red Sea and Aden Yemen

The long journey begins

The real journey outside Italy begins

Next evening, we were in Port Said Egypt. Here again we were allowed to go ashore, and here for the first time we met with real foreigners who talked a different language, you see, until then I and a lot of the other passengers who were also migrating to Australia had never been outside Italy. In Port Said I saw for the first time that the people of this world are not all the same, in fact I am going to describe to you the way as I have seen it at that time. We came down the ship and we were walking by instinct in small groups, or it was one of the ship crew that took a group to show us the way, and to see how things were done down there.

There were a few very young and poor people that wanted to shine your shoes for a small coin, there were others that would sell you anything, in fact they sold to a few of us a piece of well reaped wood for a piece of chocolate, there were a few shops open that you could buy a bargain if you knew how to bargain, because they would ask a high price and who knew how to bargain could reduce that price to one third of the original price, or something like that.

On reflection today I would say that Egypt was a strange place, you see the people that we talked to, knew a bit of Italian and they would tell us that we were robbing them by calling us (mariul or mariooo) which in the dialect of southern Italy can be translated as robber or thief; but while they were telling us that we were bobbing them, they were indeed robbing us, right, left and centre. But today I understand what they were doing, they were just trying to live their life, they were so poor that what they were doing was the only way for them to survive, may God forgive them if they hurt us by robbing some of us bad.

Anyhow, then we went back to the ship and next day we were navigating in the Suez Chanel, the Suez Channel offer one of the most strange sights, because, while you are in a ship in this man made channel that mankind should be proud to have made, and while you are in this strip of water slowly navigating towards the Red See, on both sides is desert land, what a sight this is?

After navigating the Suez Channel, we went through the Red Sea and next stop was the port of Aden Yemen. By now I and the others were aware that here things would be different from the normal way, but anyhow there was not much to see or report. Because I did not venture too far away from the port, what I can remember of Aden is that there were a few shops near the port, but what I remember most is that the air seemed to have a strange smell like sulphur that day, so, even today I wonder why it was so, and also, does the air in Aden smell like that all the time? If that is so, then different lands have different smells. I wonder if somebody else has had the same experience as I have.

Then the time came when we left Aden to go straight to Australia, this time it would take about a fortnight navigating no stop the Indian Ocean, a fortnight in the middle of the sea with no land in sight, this was going to be another hard take for the people that had never been to sea like myself, but anyhow we had taken that decision to go to Australia, so, let us go and see what Australia is like.

When we left Aden I had already set foot on three continents during my life, so, within my heart I was saying goodbye to them all, starting from my native town of Genzano di Lucania, Goodbye Genzano my native town, goodbye Italy my country of origin, goodbye Port Said Egypt Africa, with your poor people that try to rob all passenger that set foot on their land just to survive, and goodbye Aden Yemen Asia with you strange air smelling of sulphur. Next stop will be Australia that very far away land, which we all think it would be like the Promised Land.

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A large and modern cruise liner

This photo here above is a modern cruise ship, whereas the Sydney the ship that I came to Australia with was a more modest ship, but it did its job of transporting passengers to and from Australia and other world places.

This photo here above is a modern cruise ship, whereas the Sydney the ship that I came to Australia with was a more modest ship, but it did its job of transporting passengers to and from Australia and other world places.

Map of Australia, the new far away land with many future promises for new comers. We arrived in Australia at Fremantle WA.

Map of Australia, the new far away land with many future promises for new comers. We arrived in Australia at Fremantle WA.

Navigating the Indian Ocean from Aden to Fremantle Australia, took us a fortnight; I should say that it was all right considering the circumstances that most of us had never been at sea before. You see, in those days’ people travelled by ship or any other kind of transport only when it was necessary, and even though the ship was not a luxury cruiser like the cruisers of today it was good enough for us who were passengers who wanted to move from Italy to Australia. The ship had embarked over 2000 passengers and we all had a proper bed to sleep in, there was plenty of good wholesome food and meals that were served regularly, we all had a place to sit at the tables, which were attached to the floor, but if the ship moved too much we had to mind the dishes and the drinks. Anyhow, at other times we would go around the ship with some of these acquaintances that we have met on the ship, or just sit in our own cabin. We had also an English class that we could attend, so, we could learn a few words of English and be able to say at least the most Basic English words, in the hope that we could say something and make other people understand what we needed when we reached Australia. There was something else that we learned at these English classes and it was the convict song I believe and it went thus: Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine, you are lost and gone forever, oh my darling Clementine. How appropriate it was in our cases.

Perhaps I am saying too much about my personal story and it is becoming boring, so, I am cutting it short. See you in our next article, going to Australia.

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© 2012 F-Menchise

Comments

F-Menchise (author) from Brisbane Australia on April 04, 2015:

Thanks for noting the difference, in those times things moved very slow, so, we were thinking a lot more what was happening around us, therefore being emotional was there as well, it was the sign of the times and many people ventured to emigrate not knowing what they would find when they reached their destination.

AJ from Australia on April 03, 2015:

I am sure your journey to Australia must have been extremely emotional, but fascinating at the same time - what a magnificent voyage.

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