Welcome to our website! Frank-Menchise.com (Page 27) 

    You are invited to read about amazing real life stories. 

 The stories in this page might not be as amazing as we would like them to be, but they are real life stories. 

   This page will be about leaving Italy and happenings on the ship to Australia (2)


In our next few pages this is what we are going to tell you, my trip from Italy to Australia. 

Going to Australia

 Going to Australia

Migrating to Australia

Welcome to my hub, Going to Australia

This is the story of my life that I am writing here in hub pages, which is going to be several articles; in this article we are going to tell you about how I felt during my voyage when I was migrating to Australia. 

While I was on this ship called the Sydney, in my heart I was already saying: Hello Australia, here I come with my dreams in my heart of finding a better life for myself and perhaps for the future generation of my future family, if and when I can have a family of my own.

I know that I might be dreaming these dreams that may not happen at all, but I am young and there is no harm in dreaming to find a better life if I could.

So, as I have said in my last hub, we left Port Said to go straight to Australia and while we were on the ship crossing the Indian Ocean we started to think already about what we had left behind in Italy, and at the same time we were eager to see what Australia was like, on the ship we made some acquaintances and everyone had some story to tell, most of us would be talking about the reasons why we were migrating to Australia and what we would like to achieve in Australia, but really we didn't know a thing what we could do in Australia, most of us did not have any job qualification, so we were hoping to do whatever job came our way, as long as there was enough money to earn a living for a start, so we hoped for the best.

Anyhow let me tell you a bit more what else was happening on this passenger ship while we were crossing the Indian Ocean.  

             Welcome to our website 

My name is Frank Menchise

and we are going to write in next few pages about the town I have come form, Genzano di Lucania. And also the town history as we know it. 


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We were crossing the Indian Ocean on this ship called the Sydney and with me I had two demijohns full of local wine from the town I came from; when the sea was rough these two demijohns were sliding in the cabin until one of them broke and all that good wine was lost. With me I had also these small wild onions called lampagioni that I realized that could never go through customs in Australia, so I dumped them in the Indian Ocean.  

Happenings on the way to Australia

During the fortnight that the ship took to cross the Indian Ocean, every one of us was wondering his own way about the future in Australia and what we knew about Australia; in my own case at some stage of this crossing I would start wondering how hard it would be to live in the driest continent on earth, as I had learned at school that Australia is very dry compared to other continents or countries. So what would the supply of water be like, and what about the westerly wind be like, I remember that my teacher had said that these winds last up to three months, so, I was asking myself, is it going to be just as bad and as cold as winter times winds of Italy, who knows? You see to cross this stretch of water of the Indian Ocean was taking too long and therefore it was becoming even boring to go out on deck just to see the sea water and the sky above. So no wonder we were thinking so many strange things.

There is something else that I found out on the Indian Ocean, which was not good news for me; but let us start this story from the beginning. You see, in those times when you went overseas from these small towns like Genzano, anyone that had relatives would like to sent a present or something to their relatives, or at least their greetings or something like that, and also if you went to a relative house to stay when you arrived in Australia, you could not and would not go there without bringing some presents, from your family and their families, so you can imagine how loaded you were with your own presents and friends presents when you boarded the ship, and I tell you I was loaded too with all this stuff.

Now forgive me my readers if I all of a sudden I start talking or thinking, or comparing if you want about today TV shows like border security, instead of talking about my journey to Australia, but you see, I was coming from a country town and most presents were not bought at the shop, they could be food or something that could not be allowed to go through customs in Australia, so every time I see something on TV like border protection show, I cannot help thinking that I have been in the same position myself, when I first came to Australia, but anyhow on the ship I had plenty of time to work it out, as I was talking to some people that had been in Australia before, so I was able to avoid the worse.

Among other things on the ship I had two demijohns of local wine, which I was sure that would be very much appreciated from the people that I was going to stay with in Australia, for people that don’t know what a demijohn is I will explain, A demijohn is a large round glass container dressed with something like woven straw, in my case I had two of them one was ten litres, and the other seven litres, in addition to that and strange as it may seem I had some (lampagioni) small wild onions, which I slowly realised could never go past customs, so when I was sure that they would not be allowed to enter Australia, I dumped them in the Indian Ocean. I had also some local homemade large beautiful biscuits and other stuff. Anyhow let me talk about the two demijohn of local wine now, because for a long time anyone that were sailing with me on this ship would remind me of this event; these two demijohns were in my cabin and there wasn’t any way to restrain them properly, so, when the sea was rough they were sliding across the cabin floor until one of them broke that is why my passenger friend always remember and remind me about the good lost wine.

These are some of the happenings during my journey to Australia. Anyhow after a fortnight we reached the continent of Australia and docked at Fremantle in Western Australia. Hurrah  we have made it to Australia, now we have to see what Australia is like and if it would brings us good fortune.

After a fortnight we reached Australia and we were all happy to go down and walk again on dry land, the first impression that I had of Australia was good, I saw pretty houses standing on a block of land with a green lawn that seemed well looked after. So I thought there is no shortage of water in this part of Australia, if it is the same in the other cities it is going to be all right and I am happy I made my mind up and I have come to Australia. 

 First positive impressions in Australia

The first positive impressions when I came to Australia

The first impression I had of Australia was positive, as I could see from what we saw near Port Fremantle. I have to say that it was not much what I saw, but it was enough to make a good impression on me. Strange as it may seem the very first time that I set foot in Australia I saw an emu, I don’t know why or how but somebody took us to this place where there was this emu and another animal that I don’t recall what it was. Anyhow because we stopped in Fremantle for a while I was able to go down twice, and the second time guess what I saw, I saw that here in Australia they build single houses on a block of land, and they grow a nice green lawn around the houses by watering the lawn with the town water, in fact these little houses look so pretty that they seem like dolls houses. No bad for a country that is supposed to be the driest continent on earth, and it was also great as my first impression I would say? And also seeing that they water the lawns with town water my fear of water restriction disappeared. But anyhow Fremantle was only the first port in Australia, but I had to disembark in Brisbane, so there were a couple more ports to go past and another week on this ship before the end of my first journey.

 Anyhow we left Port Fremantle to cross the Great Australian Bight, which took us a few days to navigate, during this crossing I could not help thinking, how vast is this country of Australia was compared to the European countries since it takes days to navigate from one port to the next? I suppose these thoughts came also because I was starting to be tried of this long journey as it was taking too long, and we the passengers all longed to reach our final destination; anyhow next stop would be Melbourne, in port Melbourne there wasn’t much to see or say as I had already seen Port Fremantle and Melbourne was very much the same, the only thing was that by now most of the people that I had become friendly on the journey were disembarking in Melbourne. Anyhow we left Melbourne and next stop would be Sydney, where I was going to meet some people that I was bringing some presents from their families, so, I knew already that Sydney was a very important city on Australia and therefore I was eager to see what it was like.

 Next stop Sydney

My next stop of this journey is at Sydney

Before I tell you my story about when I reached Sydney, I want to say my impressions of Sydney; I believe that Sydney is one of the few towns in the whole world, or the only town in the world that make people feel welcomed at once, because this has also happened to me.

We docked in Sydney a short walking distance from the harbor bridge, and soon we were aware that some people were already there on the dock waiting for us, so I went to look to see if my family friends were there also to greet me and collect their presents; and sure enough they were there on the dock waving at me and I knew now that I could take their present to them. But what should I do to do that, because in Australia everything that comes in has got to go through the custom to be checked out? This procedure was something new to me, although I had heard people talk about it on the ship. Anyhow I got their large parcel and took it down the ship under the direction of some people that directed all people carrying anything to a large building on the dock, and here I learned for the first time that the custom can look at everything you bring in Australia and if they find anything forbidden you can get in trouble. Anyhow there was nothing forbidden to enter Australia, as the people that had made the parcel knew what would be allowed in. After that I delivered the parcel to my waiting friends.

In Sydney I had good time with my family friends and exchanged all the news that we had, besides going to a restaurant to eat and then went to see Sydney Harbor Bridge together, as it worked out, they had to leave early because they came to meet me from another town, so I was left on my own in Sydney looking at the tall building around the harbor and walking around, where I saw the site of the future Sydney Opera House, at that time construction had stopped and there was plenty of still bars stacked on the site, so, I guessed that this was going to be some large and important building, I also visited a garden nearby, and by the time we left, I knew that those sights of Sydney harbor and everything else around could even last a lifetime, they are very impressive to anyone that is lucky enough to see them.

On my way to Brisbane, we had to stop at Melbourne, where a lot of passenger had reached their final destination and left the ship. (photo of port of Melbourne on the right) then we left for Sydney. Now, there are no doubts about it that anybody that visits Sydney and sees the harbor bridge and all the docks around it is unforgettable as that sight will be in their memories all their life time; to see this sight when you come in with a passenger ship is even better (photo of Sydney Harbor Bridge and a large passenger ship on the left.  

 Journey ends at Brisbane

My journey to Australia ends at Brisbane

We left Sydney and next stop would be Brisbane my port of destination; I was looking forward for this journey to end, because to stay on a ship for a month is a very long time for anybody that has never been to sea or gone on a boat before. And to tell you the truth I really wanted to see my relatives and see how they were doing, so that I could have a better idea if my coming to Australia was a good thing. You see, one can never be sure what it is going to be like and whether your decision was the right decision until you are there and see it for yourself. Of course what I had seen already in Australia seemed very well, but that does not really mean much until one finds out what sort of living an unqualified manual worker can earn and other things. Of course I knew that whatever job I had to do I was going to work hard, because that is the only way to earn your living for yourself and whoever was going to give you a job. These were the thoughts that most times would come to my mind during the journey and more so towards the end of it. On reflection I have to say now that to migrate to a country that you have never been is a very hard thing to do, so, lucky are those people that during their lives do not need to migrate anywhere. Anyhow I will come back to these discussions later on, because now I want to tell you about the end of my journey at Brisbane.

We reached Brisbane early in the morning and our ship was slowly navigating at the entrance of Brisbane River when some sailors told us to look in the river for a rare sight, because this event was too rare to miss as it happens rarely so far south of the equator, we looked and we saw hundreds and hundreds of jelly fish that early morning, for us that had never seen them before we thought that the jelly fish are strange creatures they look like a large mushroom or a very small umbrella, they have tentacles attached at the edges and swim slowly by pulsating their entire body, what a sight it was indeed that early morning in March, at the mouth of Brisbane River.

Finally we docked at Brisbane at this merchants dock to disembark, thanks God I had reached Brisbane my destination and was eager to see my brother and other relative and friends.

We disembarked and I went through customs with all my belongings and presents that I was bringing to my relative and friends. And here is when I got caught and learned something that all travelers should know; anyone of us that goes to a different country should make sure that what they take into that country is allowed; anyhow I was caught just because I had bought a small toy at Port Said that toy could contain some forbidden substance and it had to be treated to enter Australia, so it cost me a fair amount of money. The demijohn of wine and all other stuff that I had with me was all right; after all I had dumped my wild anions in the Indian Ocean, when I found that they were not allowed. After going through customs I was free to go with my brother and friends. The friends of course were there not only to welcome me to Australia, but also to collect their presents that their families had sent them and to hear news of their families and their native town. I believe that I have said enough in this hub. So see you soon in my next hub where I am going to talk about my first impressions of Brisbane Australia.

Dear readers, I am ending this article by reminding you that this article is just one article of my life story, so, hereunder I am going to post some links of my life stories for you to check them out. 

 Welcome to Brisbane Australia

Welcome to Brisbane


Or should I have said welcome to Brisbane city and the land of the Kangaroo, because this is how my friends made me understand how we would be labelled from now on. Anyhow, let me say a few things and my impression when I reached my final destination Brisbane.

Dear readers as I have said in my last hub, in this hub I am going to tell you my first impression of Brisbane Australia, which are those impressions that we keep with us our entire life; so let me start from the docks where I have just disembarked; as soon as I disembarked in Brisbane I met with my brother and other friends, so, I let them guide me what to do next, after all they were there before me and they knew where we had to go, as usual to all newcomers we had to go through custom to check all our belonging out, and then we were free to go to our new destination.

So, we left the port in a car and they took me to one of our friends house not far from the port, here the lady of the house had prepared something to eat for everybody and while we were eating and everybody was trying to make me feel welcome, we were also talking about Genzano di Lucania and the people that I had left behind in that town; you see those friends were from the same town and I had brought presents and news from their families. I have to say here that in those times when transport and news travelled much slower that today, anybody that arrived from overseas and from where one had come from was very welcome, which was a good thing and it also helped, as one did not feel that complete detachment from your country of origin that we had left behind.

Here I guess that everybody that has migrated or moved away from home for a long period of time knows what being home sick is; therefore this finding that there is a group of people from your own town and they are staying in touch with each other is helpful wherever one goes and they make the new comer feel welcome.

Now I have to say that at first sights Brisbane did not look as good as Sydney, but anyhow Brisbane is still a city and our friends home was a unit in a brick building, so that was not bad, after all one has to accept whatever there is available when one goes to a different place. But little did I know that next I was going to see that in Brisbane most houses are made of timber.

Later on after having eaten and talked for a couple of hours with our friends, and given them those presents that I had brought, I was driven to my final destination a few kilometers away, where we had to go was on the other side of the river, we went across the Brisbane River on a bridge called the Story Bridge, which is a very important bridge in Brisbane, but perhaps not as important as Sydney Harbor Bridge. So, Brisbane has also its own unique land marks the Story Bridge and City Hall are the most important, there is also Parliament House and the city centre with tall modern buildings, these were the things that gave us some hope, because to us it meant that Brisbane was a growing prosperous city.

In Brisbane city there are many tall building and some older style building, overall it is modern growing city, but for us European and perhaps to most other people one of the best is the City Hall, this is a very large building with a clock tower that chimes and can bee seen and heard for miles (photo on the left); it has also a large hall, this hall has also a very large organ.    


 Reaching my final destination

My final destination was at my uncle home, where my brother and a few other friends and relatives were also staying. My uncle had been in Australia by now 9 years already and somehow very recently had been able to save enough money to put down a deposit to buy a house; the house was a large wooden house typical of the houses in Brisbane of those times. I will come back to talk about these wooden houses later on.

Now, for us that were coming from a country where almost everything was masonry or built with bricks and mortar and cement, these houses made us feel a bit strange at first; but, they were still houses and they still provided a roof on our heads; therefore even knowing that they were made of timber, I was pleased to have been offered that accommodation. My brother knowing that I was coming had already bought a bed for me, so I was already set up very well. You know it is a great help when you go to a new country and find that somebody has already prepared everything for you. I believe that for this reason I have been lucky and I have escaped some very real hardship. Otherwise it could have been a lot harder.

Let us just imagine you reach your destination, you don’t have much money to pay for accommodation, you don’t know where to go or what to do next; you don’t know even how to speak the local language, you might end up in deep trouble you know. Therefore, I think that I have been lucky somehow when I found that I was welcomed. I believe that when we see some new arrivals we should try to understand that they have left their own country in the hope of finding a better way of living, or perhaps they were forced to leave their country for safety reasons.

Australian Travel Videos

When you live in Brisbane you cannot fail to note that this city has been built on Brisbane river, because this river seems to be everywhere you go, as it is not straight but zigzags through the land for many miles. 
It has a very impressive bridge called the Story Bridge (photo on the left), the city heart is around this river, see photo on the right. 


 At my new Brisbane address

Welcomed at my new address

Now just to keep the story going in a way that it makes sense, let me talk about in a more personal way how I was welcome at my uncle house; we reaching my uncle house and greeted the people that was in at that time of the day, as there were some that had gone to work, you see there were quite a few people living at my uncle house already and they were all from the same town that I came from, so we all knew each other somehow. Here I am not going to be very personal and tell you their name, I am not going to do that for a couple of reasons; you see, if it happens that any of these people read these hubs, I don’t know whether they like the idea of being mentioned here; therefore I am going to tell you in a general way just thing that happened and keep everything impersonal.

So, I was saying that I had reached my final destination at my uncle house and greeted those that were there at that time, then we unloaded my luggage and we started to talk about the town I came from Genzano di Lucania with the people that were present, because they were all from the same town and wanted to know as much as they could about their relatives. While we were unloading at the same time I was telling them about the presents that I brought from my own family to my uncle, they were mostly some local town produce the largest of them was now a seven litre demijohn of wine, since the ten litre broke on the way, I had also some 6 litre of pure olive oil and a large tray of home made large biscuits that we make when somebody gets married, there were also other presents that I was going to give them as soon as I would unpack my own luggage.

Soon everybody came back from work, and I greeted every one of them and told them as much as I could about things that they wanted to know. Evening came and we had dinner and after that I retired to my bedroom, where my new bed that my brother had bought me was ready for a good night sleep on firm ground after being a whole month on the ship.

Here let us talk about the houses in Brisbane; this city seems to be a bit different in the suburbs, because it has many timber houses built on wooden stumps, at the start anybody that comes from Europe where most buildings are masonry finds it strange, but then slowly we learn to appreciate them, as they seem to serve the needs of the people well. See the photos; On the left there is a large Queens-lander and on the right is a workers cottage


Living in the wooden houses

At my new address in Brisbane Australia, even though it was a wooden house I was welcomed and soon I felt no difference at all to live in it, after all that is the way that most of the local people live in these parts of Australia. But now, just for the sake of knowing what I am talking about here let me describe this house for you. It was a four bedroom house, in addition to the four bedrooms there was a lounge room, a large kitchen where there was enough room for a large dining table, there was a bathroom with bathtub and shower that had a gas heated hot water devise that you could light up and have a hot shower, the toilet was downstairs under the house; now all this large house and floor space was set on wooden stumps, I know that those people that have never lived or seen a house on wooden stumps before are saying; what is he talking about a house on wooden stumps, I have never heard of this before what a strange country Australia is.

I know it might sound strange and feel a bit strange too to live in these houses at the beginning, but anyhow they are there and they have a pretty good reason why people built them like that in these parts of the world. After all is not even a new idea when we think about it; you see when I was at school I remember that my teacher was saying that a long time ago for safety reasons, some people that lived by the sea would build their house on stilts over shallow water, so that they could defend them easily if they were attacked; Now we could say, okay that was a good idea then but what are the reasons for these houses to be built like that here?

I believe that I may have to tell you in my next hub about all this, because it would be more appropriate, as I will write it for this purpose in mind. See you soon. Dear readers, I am ending this article by reminding you that this article is just one article of my life story, so, hereunder I am going to post some links of my life stories for you to check them out. 

                   Some links about our life story in Hub pages;