Michael Griffin

Ship name / Flight number: Mooltan

Arrival date: 26/11/1951

My name is Michael Griffin. The Big Brother movement sponsored my migration to Australia from Britain in 1951. I and 33 young lads travelled on the SS Mooltan from Tilbury docks to Sydney, arriving on November 26 1951, I had just turned 17 years of age.

1951 was an interesting time, Britain and most of Europe was recovering from WW2, the country was in the early stages of reconstruction and redevelopment of its war damaged domestic, industrial, agricultural and educational infrastructure. Food, clothing and fuel was still rationed. Governments “Local and national” were struggling to maintain and rebuild the economy whilst creating a feeling of hope and security amongst its war weary population.

I lived in a small country semi-industrial town, (Dursley) situated in the West Cotswold Hills. During the war years the town was targeted by the German air force, the town’s industries were manufacturing military munitions Many residential areas were subjected to aerial incendiary bombing raids. I was aged six when the war started and eleven when it finished.

My father was a tool maker prior to which he had been in the military as a member of the South Wales Borders having served in the Middle East and Kowloon near Hongkong, my mother was fully occupied looking after the family (I had two sisters and a brother) we were a typical working-class family, living day to day, like so many English families.

Immediately following the war, I won a scholarship to what was then a Grammar School; left that school after two years, I was just under 14!

There was clearly little opportunity for me and of course so many others in those post war days to achieve much in life, consequently my parents believed I should emigrate to Australia it was under British control, and was in the midst of a program of attracting a growth in immigration especially from the UK.

Early in 1951 we contacted the Big Brother Movement, an organisation that for many years had assisted  underprivileged young men from the UK to travel to Australia, helped them to establish a new career, find suitable accommodation and then assigned to them a Carer, this Carer would act in a sense as a “Big Brother’ to the lad who was known as a “little brother”. This Carer was involved in that role for a year or two until the little brother was well and truly settled and, on his way, forward.

In my case, I was assigned a local businessman’ who for about two years looked after my interests, visiting me often, always offering useful advice and where appropriate, assistance helping me to settle in and so on.

The BBM had found me my first job, as a jackaroo on a very large, successful sheep and wheat farming property at Bribbaree NSW. I was welcomed and treated very well at the property (Eurabba) by the owner, the staff and my assigned Big Brother. From the very beginning, and after initial pangs of homesickness I thoroughly enjoyed my work, created several strong friendships, and found farming to really suit me. My life was busy and rewarding.

Sadly, this adventure changed direction in 1954 when I was called up for military service, the total period of training and therefore enlistment was 2 years with an optional 12 months in the Army reserve.I was given no choice, National Service was mandatory , I together with thousands of other young men were conscripted, the Korean war was then in a state or armistice and Korea was occupied by a combination of US/Australian and South Korean forces.

The National service training was in my case conducted at Holsworthy, and Marrickville, suburbs of Sydney, as my term could run for three years (2+1) I had to leave my job at Eurabba and move to Sydney.

I completed my National Service military training, it was an illuminating and, in many ways, an enjoyable experience, to be in an organisation, a mix of City and Country (rural) young men, all strangers thrown together and subject to strict discipline, rules, regulations subject to military discipline, brought out the best and the worst in us.

I really enjoyed the experience, this period of military training, coupled with 3-4 years of farming experience aided by my association with my BBM Big Brother, resulted in my “growing up quickly” which in turn resulted in shaping the rest of my life, including family, career and, community service choices.

Upon completion of three years of a mix of fulltime and part time military training I considered it was time to engage in and establish a long-term sustainable career. The first step of which was to improve my education. I spent about six years at various educational institutions undertaking secondary and tertiary. education, basically focusing on commerce and business. Over that period, I gained membership of:

CPA Australia (Fellow)

Institute of Internal Auditors. (member)

Australian Computer Society (member)

Graduate, Australian School of Management.

Australian Institute of Company Directors (Fellow)

All of this was enhanced by many ongoing professional development  courses.

From 1967 thru to 1984 I undertook executive roles in three publicly listed companies focusing on business reconstruing (trouble shooting) these were at CEO level and generally required significant overseas ventures and often long-term residency.

In 1984 I formed my own business consultancy, its focus was on Tax law, Business reconstruction, and start-up businesses. Clients included client exposure in, US, China, UK, Indonesia, Malaysia as well Australia based enterprises.

In closing I have always acknowledged none of this would be so without the involvement of the BIG BROTHER MOVEMENT.

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