Contributed by Naomi Sant. This story is part of a collection of stories from the Skola Maltija’s Maltese Migration Projects From Malta to Australia.
In 1947 the Australian government signed an agreement with the Maltese so they could migrate to Australia. Thanks to this my grandmother was able to come and live here in Australia.
Josephine was born on the 29th of May 1939. She lived with her mum and dad whose names are John and Jane Camilleri, she also lived with her 4 brothers and 3 sisters which all together it would equal 8 children and 2 adults. Their house was located in Rabat, 41 Victoria street.
When my grandmother was nine years old she went to a public school and unfortunately only stayed there for around about three years. Once she was twelve she left school and started working at stradalyarly which is a small washing floors business in Rabat, she worked there for about one year. Then she left that job and went to work in a factory making candles which she only stayed there for 2 years.
When she was 15 my grandmother and her father left Malta to come to Australia the rest of the Family then followed after 6 months. They left at the end of March 1955. It took six weeks for them to get here because they had to travel by boat and they were traveling in rough conditions; there boat was called the P and O. Once they arrived here it was the 6th of May 1955 and my grandmother was now 16.
Josephine’s family decided to come here because they wanted a change in their lives and my grandmother came with her father 1st so she could look after him. Their first impressions of Australia were that it was very different to Malta, the weather was very nice and they fell in love with it straight away.
Their house in Australia was a small shed on a farm in Pendle Hill. My grandmother’s job when she came here was working in a Maltese grocery shop which was located in Pendle Hill and she only worked for three years.
My grandmother also found her true love here in Australia. While working at the Maltese grocery shop. His name is Joseph Sant and they got married on the 28th of December 1957.