AUSSIES and Poms who have family in both the UK and Western Australia are being invited to take part in a major new memories project which links the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Western Australia in Perth.
‘Full-Circle’ will see teams of interviewers in both WA and the South-East of England recording stories of those who emigrated from, and those left behind in, the UK.
“We want to hear how lives were changed,” says project leader Andrew Green, a research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire.
“That means stories both of the new opportunities that opened up in Australia and also of the adjustments made by those remaining in the UK.”
Green – who has relations in Perth and spends plenty of time under the Southern Cross – is certain that Australians in the UK can help.
“Aussies are great ones for family, so I’m sure expats over here will support ‘Full-Circle’ with their traditional enthusiasm. They can tell us how their families have managed to stay close across the gulf of thousands of miles, handling family celebrations and crises, and maintaining ties into the next generation.
“It’s so important that these memories are recorded for posterity before they disappear.”
Aussie David Cotgreave remembers the excitement of going out from the UK around 40 years ago.
“My parents came to Oz as Ten Pound Poms to find work. We travelled out by ship on the Australis, which was a terrible experience! Gastroenteritis caused the death of something like nine people.
“When we arrived I settled in so easily. But I was the one who made sure we didn’t lose touch with the folks back home – writing letters and Christmas cards, and then making lots of trips back to the UK. Family matters, doesn’t it?”
UK-based Roger Gochin is another example of the type of person the University of Hertfordshire wants to hear from.
“My mother and her brother, who were twins, were separated at the age of 8 and lived in separate orphanages,” he says.
“My uncle was then sent by his orphanage to live in Western Australia. He was told his parents were dead, which was in fact untrue.
“Only when he retired did he start exploring his background. It was amazing for him to find in the UK not only his sister but an extended family. He discovered that he and his sister had suffered exactly the same eye, heart and leg problems during their lives!
“All this has led to me going out several times to Western Australia. It’s been a wonderful journey of discovery.”
“‘Everyone who has experience of emigration will have fascinating things to contribute to ‘Full-Circle’,” says Andrew Green.
“The end-product will be a series of complete pictures of the effect on families. I urge Aussies to please get in touch with me as soon as possible.”
Outcomes of the exercise will include a publication and a CD featuring many of the interviews.
Please contact Andrew Green on 01494 881871 or email@example.com.