“Old ties, new beginnings” presents the stories of twenty Dutch-Australian women who migrated along with thousands of Dutch and other post-war migrants to Australia during the 1950’s and 60’s. Very little is known about those Dutch women who settled in Australia. Their “homesickness”is sometimes mentioned and blamed for “unsuccessful” or return migration to the Netherlands (Beijer et al 1961, Blauw and Elich 1984, and Hofstede 1964). Why did they come in the first place, and why did they mostly stay? What was it like for these women to start new lives in an unknown country on the other side of the world?  And how has life been for them in Australia? These stories go some way to answering such questions.


ForewordElly Zierke    I
By Way of IntroductionWendy Walker- BirckheadVII
“Living in the land of promise and new opportunities.”Petra, Victoria   1
  “I had dreams of this country, dreams about working in the outback.”  Tieneke, Victoria   9
  Bride by proxy.  Jenny, Victoria   15
  “I have never been sorry.”   Laura, Queensland   21
  “Australia has a character all its own and  I love that !”  Ellen, Victoria   27
  “My creativity saved the day.”  Henriette, South Australia   43
  “On the whole I love the freedom here and Australia has not been bad for us.”  Saskia, Victoria   49
  “Wappan” or our first home in OZ :  A Sheep Farm.  Janneke, Victoria   55
  “Farewell dear Fatherland.”  Hester, Tasmania   61
  “We were never disappointed.”  Johanna, Victoria   65
  “One hardly knows what it’s going  to be like to be a migrant.”  Leonie, Victoria   71
  “In the end you belong to neither country”.  Katrina, Victoria     81
  “To have most of your close relatives here  really makes a difference.”  Hetty, Victoria   85
  “We really did not have any idea what it would be like to live in Australia.”    Noortje, Victoria   93
  “I never lost my optimism, nor regretted  that I came.”  Margreet, Victoria   97
  “As soon as I land in Amsterdam I am  at home, yet I choose to live in Australia.”  Els, Victoria  103
  “Migrating is an adventure when you are  21 years old.”  Ineke, Victoria  111
  “This is home !”  Nel, Victoria  117
  Pictures in my mind.  Martina, Victoria  123
  “All I wanted was somebody to talk to.”  Monique, Victoria  131

Dutch children at the Bonegilla Migrants Camp

See also:

Where waters meet, Bonegilla : the Dutch migrant experience in Australia / Dirk Eysbertse, 1997

Never good enough : assisted migrants from the Netherlands at Bonegilla / Bruce Pennay, 2007