Another major milestone in my life.
Fifty years ago today, after four weeks at sea, I arrived in Australia on the SS Orion, with my Mother and two brothers as a ten pound Pom to join my Father who had left Britain almost a year earlier. He had to come to see if Australia was a place worth bringing his family to settle, and if he could find a job after a lifetime of distinguished service in the Royal Air Force. We had left England early in May, a day or so after Princess Margaret had married Tony Armstrong Jones, and I can remember seeing the amazing decorations that festooned London streets for the event. The ship left from Tilbury Docks, stopping briefly on the French coast, then South to the Suez Canal stopping at Port Said and then Aden, at night, where we could go ashore briefly and experience the sights and sounds of a local market. From there we travelled to Columbo in what was then Ceylon, where the boat stopped for a couple of days, and we were able to make a day trip South to Mount Lavinia. I remember the very large, old hotel near a beach where we could swim, and seeing elephants in the streets…. After that we sailed across the Indian Ocean to Freemantle where many people left the boat, and after another day or two, on to Melbourne.
Hanging over the rails as the ship came down Port Philip Bay, anxious to see the place where we were to embark, it was possible to see in the distance, a lone man impatiently pacing up and down. As we got nearer, we recognised it was Father. It was June 8th 1960.