Moreland quilt project – Migration

The Moreland Quilt was a community arts and storytelling project curated by Tamara Russell, a textile artist specialising in free machine embroidery and hand stitching.

The panels in the quilt record local stories, culture and history though imagery, colour and fabric.

 

 

We came to Australia from Italy after the war.  My father worked in a clothing factory and my mother cleaned for a rich family in Toorak.  My father loved to grow things.  He made gardens all around our house to grow food.  He would always have seeds growing in the glass house ready for planting out all year round.  We had a lemon, pomegranate, olive and grapefruit trees.

My mother would cook all the food in the traditional Italian way.  We had a small kitchen and none of the things people seem to need now a days but the food was always wonderful.  My mother could make amazing meals at of so little.

My father worked in a factory.  Every day he went off to work early then would come home change into his suit and go to the club whilst my mother made dinner.  He still goes to the club at 4.30 every weekday to meet his friends even though he retired a long time ago.

 

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I came from Hungary after the war.  So much of Budapest was in ruins.  I was 16 when a friend and I left to cross the border into Austria.  We went to the Australian High Commission to get visas to come to Australia.  They told us that we had to be married to be allowed to go to Australia.  We married and were then very lucky to be able to take a plane to Australia.  Lots of people took the boat which took about 6 weeks.

We settled in Melbourne and had 2 sons.  But the marriage didn’t last as he started drinking and being violent.  I left with my younger son and went to a hostel in Fitzroy. I took work in the kitchen of a restaurant in the city. I worked hard there and met my second husband who was a Chinese chef.  We had 2 children, a daughter and a son.  After this marriage broke up I met my Australian husband.  He was my true love and passed away a few years ago.  I miss him terribly.  My children visit me when they’re not busy.

 

***

My sister moved to Australia in the 1950’s and sent for my parents and I when she had her children.  We came out by boat which took 6 weeks.  I met lots of lovely people on the boat and some of us stayed friends for a very long time. When we arrived in Melbourne my mother started to look after my sisters children while she worked.  We bought a house in Coburg.  It was on a big block.  My father didn’t like life in Melbourne and went back to Italy.  My mother and I stayed and made a home.

I had one daughter who built her house on the front of the same block of land.  She has a daughter too.  Now that my granddaughter is working I don’t see her as often as I used too.  After my mother died my father become ill.  My brother in Italy wanted to send him out to Australia for me to look after but I wouldn’t let him.  Both my parents are gone now.

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