Each month we’ll bring you an excerpt from the fantastic book written by Nancy Shaw – “In with both feet” – Available on Amazon.
PART 2 – AUSTRALIA
We’re going where?
We’d been happily married for four years when, in February 1967, two Australians visited the Company and Brian was asked to show them around and explain all the processes that went into making steel, and he did it so well that the Australians offered him a job on the spot. He said he’d discuss it with his wife and get back to them, to which they responded, “Just tell her she’s going mate.” I was thrilled when Brian came home and told me that people from the Broken Hill Proprietary Company in Melbourne, Australia, wanted to hire him to work in Whyalla, South Australia, and that he wanted to go, but I was shocked at the same time, “Australia. Why Australia? I didn’t want to go to Australia. If I had to leave my beautiful home to go anywhere it would be Canada. Canada, where the other half of my family live!” Brian thought for a moment, “How about if we go to Australia for a couple of years then go to Canada? I’d like to see something of the world before we settle down.”
It seemed as though everybody was jumping this ship called England. Marjorie, Ken and children and Gran, Lorna and Ted had all gone to Canada and here I was about to jump in with both feet and agree to go to Australia. When I think about it now, most of the momentous decisions of my life have been made on the spur of the moment and this proved to be no exception. I never gave it another thought but said, “Okay then, but after two years we’re going to Canada, right?” I suppose if I’d argued against going we wouldn’t have gone, but when you’ve been born and raised in a small village, to have the opportunity of going to the other side of the world when somebody else is paying for the trip was exciting. It was like something you read in a novel. Of course I was going. Wherever Brian was, I’d be right behind. Both of us agreed that we would look upon our time in Australia as a two-year holiday, nothing more and nothing less; after all, we weren’t like ordinary immigrants, we weren’t really going to settle there, were we?
We broke the news to Nora and Stivvie first and even though I was a bit apprehensive about telling her because she was my nearest and dearest relative, she took it very well and said, “You only have one life to live Nan, go for it!” I should have known she’d be okay, because by now going abroad to live was nothing new. Marjorie, Gran and Lorna had moved to Canada. Cousins Robin, Peggy and Esther Barron had moved to South Africa as well as our best friends Anne and Alan, and cousin Sheila Maguire had moved to Queensland in Australia. So, Brian and I moving to South Australia surprised no-one in my family. Our leaving England was just going to be another letter with a foreign stamp on it and it wasn’t a question of anyone being amazed anymore; it was more a question of,
“Who’s leaving next?”