Australia has become a divided, uncertain and troubled country. Our current leadership is mediocre, lacks vision or integrity, and fails to display any semblance of a soul……
May 1959 saw me — a young hopeful among thousands of migrants flooding into Australia from post war Europe and the British Isles. All were intent on leaving the lands of our birth for the promise of a better future on the far side of the world.
We and many others who arrived since from the four corners of the known world have put down deep roots in a vast, still relatively thinly populated island continent.
The Australia of the late 1940s and 1950s was still in the process of recovering from a debilitating war. It was an ancient land, while still a young democracy. Australia and its rapidly growing and diversifying population was seeing the need to grow and establish itself as a respected member of the world community.
At the time, the ‘antipodes’, as Australia and New Zealand were also known, were still being regarded as far-flung distant British colonies, ‘down under’, relatively remote amidst the South Seas.
My decision to move to Australia was regarded as foolhardy by most of my British friends. Some even suggested that my sail into uncertainty and risk on the far side of the world would prove a folly.
How wrong they were. I and many thousands of other newcomers to Australia during the 1950s found a higher and healthier standard of living than we had left so recently back in Britain. Not only that, our new home also offered the promise of well rewarded work.
During the five decades that followed, Australia’s population expanded four fold. Life continued to offer a wide range of opportunities to migrating Britons and post-war Europeans alike — the vast majority of the latter having escaped their still shattered and slowly recovering post-war homelands and disrupted economies. Australia at the time was crying-out for new settlers — particularly those prepared to join the task of casting off its earlier sleepy, easy going colonial status. Australia’s population by 1956 had risen rapidly to 9.42 million.