Ship name / Flight number: Orion
Arrival date: 09/07/1961
I grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland and arrived in Sydney on 9th July 1961 on the SS Orion. A couple of guys I met on the boat and I shared a flat in Sydney for a while. The job I had lined up didn’t work out – so I changed jobs frequently. A bunch of us from the boat stayed in touch and we socialised quite a lot. We hitchhiked around Australia and saw quite a bit of the country.
I lived in Brisbane for a year but moved back to Sydney because jobs were more plentiful. In 1965 I sponsored my parents to come out. My sister and her boyfriend came as well, but the boyfriend had no intention of settling, saved up his money and persuaded my sister to go back to Ireland. They got married in Australia and my sister had a baby when they returned to Northern Ireland.
My father was quite happy in Australia but my mother didn’t settle and wanted to go home to see the baby. I decided to go back with them for a holiday, in 1969. I had lived in Australia for eight years by this time We returned on the Fairstar via the Panama Canal.
I have a long-term medical condition that started to get worse, giving me physical problems, so when I got a good job in Northern Ireland, I decided to stay there.
I think that if my parents had stayed, I would still be in Australia.