Australia · challenges · Changes · freedom · gratitude · happiness · inspiration

A Leap of Faith ~ Immigrating to a New Country

My sister Annette (centre) at Balgownie migrant hostel, N.S.W. Australia, 1951.

“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” ~ Napoleon Hill.

After World War II had finally ended in the mid 1940’s, England spent a number of years in recovery. Ration tickets to acquire certain food items were still being handed out, air raid shelters remained in residential back gardens and ex-soldiers struggled to find their place in society, during the post war years.

A virtual life line was extended to many of the walking wounded and their families, with promises of beginning a new and wonderful life in a land of sunshine.

Paying just ten pounds per adult and with children travelling for free, these English migrants were offered a ticket to board a ship, bound for Australia.

Those who accepted the offer became affectionately known as the “Ten Pound Poms”.

Even in this day and age, packing up your belongings and family, lock, stock and barrel, boarding an aeroplane and moving from one side of the world to the other would take a huge amount of courage.

Can you imagine the risks of making such a move some forty to sixty years ago, with little knowledge of what to expect, taking a voyage on a ship which would see you arriving at an unfamiliar destination around six to seven weeks after leaving England?

I’d call it nothing short of a leap of faith, and certainly not a move for the faint hearted.

And yet tens of thousands of so called “Ten Pound Poms” took up the offer, on nothing more than just a promise of a wonderful new life, which included work prospects, comfortable accommodation and a freer and more relaxed lifestyle in a warmer climate.

Upon arrival in Australia, many immigrants were to discover that the only guarantee they actually had was the warmer climate. Steady employment wasn’t as easy to acquire as they had been led to believe and the accommodation offered was in the form of a small hut, in what was known as a Migrant Hostel.

And yet most of the “Ten Pound Poms” rejoiced at the opportunity offered to them, a chance to start a brand new life in “The Lucky Country”.

Gone were the days of fear, struggle and uncertainty. In the eyes of these people, they had the world at their feet; anything was possible, opportunities abounded ~ they felt privileged and proud to call Australia “Home”.

In this day and age, I see the move these people made as a giant leap of faith; in those days, they saw it as a gilt-edged opportunity to begin a new life in a new country, away from the heartache they had experienced during the war years.

Numerous stories could be told of the families who risked everything, in search of a more prosperous life to share with those they loved, stories of the heartache and joy experienced during those early days of their new lives, in a new country, on the other side of the world.

One day I will tell my story. Am I a “Ten Pound Pom”? No, but my whole family were. My parents and three sisters made that giant leap of faith in 1951, many years before I was ever thought of.

There’s is a story of hope, inspiration, commitment, struggles, happiness, gratitude and simplicity, but most of all faith…faith in themselves and faith in the promises held in an unknown land. And when I share their story, it will be told with all of the pride and admiration I feel towards my courageous and unassuming family.

If you have the means to honour the actions of someone you know, who also took a leap of faith at some stage in their lives, why not share the story and give them the recognition they so well deserve? Why not write your own article of inspiration?

It will offer reassurance to anyone who reads your story that whatever they set their mind to doing, it can be achieved…because it can.

There’s no such word as “can’t”. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “A Leap of Faith ~ Immigrating to a New Country

  1. Hats off to your brave parents! I remember visiting Ellis Island in New York City, where my Ukrainian grandparents arrived in the United States, in 1909 and 1910. I had to sit down and compose myself because I was so overwhelmed with emotion thinking of my young grandmother, only 22 years old, her 5 month old baby in her arms, being processed there to enter this “land of opportunity.” It was a leap of faith in so many ways and I am totally in awe of their courage and resolve to take such a life-altering journey.


    1. I agree completely with you Barbara, and moreso with people such as your grandparents who probably didn’t even speak English! Can you imagine how frightening that must have been, with no means of communication?

      My mother liked to tell a story, which had amused her no end when it happened, so became a repeated story throughout the years; she went into a grocery store one day and asked for a pound of carrots. The shop assistant handed her a packet of Kincara tea! Apparently her northern England accent had been difficult for the Australians to understand. 🙂


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