Oral Histories

Oral Histories


HansName:
Carstedt, Hans
Place of birth:
Berlin, Germany
Gender:
Date of birth:
05 Jun 1933
Reason for coming to Australia:
His marriage to Australian Miss Joyce Deakin.

Mr Hans Carstedt, eldest of three boys, was born in Berlin in 1933. His mother was German and his father; Danish. At the outbreak of WWII his family were living in the German village of Schleswig, on the German/Danish border. His father’s refusal to join the Nazi Party made life very hard for the Carstedts. Hans’ father eventually joined the Party, requesting to serve in the medical core. He did not return home, but died as a Russian prisoner in the salt mines of Siberia. Hans later became a fitter-and-turner and later a marine engineer working for the Maersk Line. It was during his Marine Engineering studies in Copenhagen that he met Miss Joyce Deakin, an Australian woman working as a nanny for a local family. They were engaged in Copenhagen and moved to Sydney Australia to be married.

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Kathleen Synott

Name:
Synott, Kathleen
Place of birth:
Kaweru, New Zealand
Gender: F
Date of birth:
1954 Gender: F
Reason for coming to Australia:
To be with her husband.

Ms Kathleen Synott, the third of seven children, spent her childhood moving around New Zealand with her family due to the nature of her father’s occupation. She was sent to a boarding school for High School, where her studies would not suffer the interruption of her younger years. At age 19 she was married to an electrician named Gary, but after several years of marriage the couple separated and Gary moved to Australia. Kathleen later joined her husband, but after 5 years in Australia the marriage ended. Kathleen remained in Australia with her two daughters, working as a Real Estate Agent to support them. She later remarried and had another daughter, with one more on the way. She has remained in Australia because: “Australia gets under your skin, its wildlife and country are very different to that of New Zealand. New Zealand is a country of the sea, Australia is a country of the land. I love the birds, the trees and the heat.”

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Steve MichaelName:
Michael, Steve
Place of birth:
Suez, Egypt
Gender: M
Date of birth:
08 Aug 1930
Reason for coming to Australia:The political climate and lack of opportunities in Egypt

Steve Michael (Sortidis Michalidis) was the eldest of two children born to his Egyp­tian Greek parents. Prior to Steve’s birth, in the early 1920s, his father had gone to Australia for work in order to send money back home. Steve’s childhood memories were filled with scenes from WWII. The family moved to Ismailia where Steve finished school and worked for the British forces. It was in his role with the British Forces that Steve met his wife, Irene. They were married in February 1954 and a year later they had their first child. In 1956 the family moved to Cairo where Steve worked for a company that made sewing threads, but the cost-of-living was expensive; prompting them to move to Australia. They knew nothing of Australia upon arrival and found it hard until they met friends who had also moved from Egypt. Because Steve and Irene spoke English well they both managed to find good jobs and in 1962 they became citizens.

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Robert ChuriName:
Churi, Robert
Place of birth:
Cairo, Egypt
Gender: M
Date of birth:
26 Aug 1937
Reason for coming to Australia:
His father moved his family to Australia for a fresh start.

Robert Churi lived in Cairo with his younger siblings and Lebanese parents. His father was secretary of the Egyptian Gas Light Company, and also owner of a cork factory and oil transport company; which meant the family enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle and a private education. Despite growing up in Cairo during WWII Robert has very little recollection of it, hav­ing lived a sheltered childhood. In 1949 Robert’s family boarded the Orcades and sailed to Australia due to the “Egypt for the Egyptians” policy. The voyage took 3 weeks and it was a new and exciting time for the family. Despite his father’s position as Lebanese Vice-Consul, Robert found initial life in Australia hard, as he had a minimal grasp of English. After leaving school to work in one of his father’s cafe’s Robert moved around and worked at many different jobs. He met his first wife whilst working as a life saver in Terrigal, and since then worked as a NSW police detective and real estate agent.

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