from the editor's desk

Full Circle: Episode Two

‘Full Circle’ is a collaborative research project between The University of Western Australia, Centre for Western Australian History (CWAH) and The University of Hertfordshire (U.K.). The project is an investigation of the testimonies of British migrants to Australia, as well as their families who remain in the U.K.

With the aim of exploring how emigration has affected their relationships, connection and communication with their families, the project was begun in September 2014 when students in the Department of History at UWA interviewed British migrants of varying ages and backgrounds at Crawley and Albany campuses. This was the first part of the project—the second will feature the families of these migrants giving their testimony at the University of Hertfordshire.

‘Full Circle’ focuses on oral history and its value in conveying both the realities and emotions of the migrant experience. In order then to fully realise the aims of the project, selected interview material has been collated together for the Full Circle Podcast, a co-production by Westerly Magazine and CWAH. Join host and narrator Oliver Cope and hear from the interviewees about their many journeys, hardships, tragedies and triumphs.


One interview later and you’re on a steamer ploughing across the sea. Cabins are cramped and the children are restless. Fremantle is sunny, and when you step off the ship you’re hit with a blast of hot antipodean air.

In this week’s episode we look at what it was like to arrive in a new and (relatively) foreign country. Interviewees discuss the immigration procedures they went through, including their exit interviews and the difficulty of departing from their loved ones.

We also hear about their first impressions of WA, the exciting but exhausting state of flux they often found themselves in, and the curious long-gone migrant camps they stayed in at places such as Graylands and Point Walter.

Disclaimer: Due to the nature of the project and the conditions in which the interviews were conducted, sound levels do vary, and listeners may need to adjust volume as necessary. Please consider it a mark of the authenticity of the material dear listener!

Image credit: Immigrants for Australia, August 1949, 1983-5236/14190/1, Diary Herald Archive at the National Media Museum. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalmediamuseum/8416663904. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

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  1. Bernadette Martin says:

    My parents and 5 children (one is me) arrived in WA on 8 January 1965 and we were sent to the Graylands Migrant Camp. We arrived on the SS Oriana having immigrated from Hertfordshire UK.
    Would love to hear/share history of the camp and conditions, very grateful to be Australians.

  2. David Brown says:

    Hi Bernadette,
    I came across your contribution whilst I was jumping all over the place in relation to anything to do with Graylands Hostel.
    I migrated from South Africa by ship in 1973 as an 11 year old, 8 years after you did. On board were primarily Italians, Greeks and Maltese and a few hundred of us from South Africa.
    There were combinations of the old Nissen huts and more modern flats which my family of 4 was grateful for. The rec hall, the canteen etc are as clear today as they were then.
    Many of my new friends were English but so too were the Vietnamese later.
    I was contemplating collecting and writing about these years because most of us ‘kids’ are now in out 60’s and beyond and this history will be gone forever, given that not many people have any idea of the migrants , their families, jobs, the schools we attended ( Graylands and Swanbourne for me), for our parents experience and so much more.
    It would be great to have a chat about your experience which will be different to mine, yet some will be similar I’m sure.
    Regards, Dave Brown

  3. Karen reinholdtsen says:

    I also came with my family 1973 and lived at graylands hostel, my maiden name was charlton

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