Vivcani near Ohrid, Macedonia
Genoa, Italy on 1 January 1962
Sydney on 8 February 1962
My husband Zivko’s tailor’s shop in Orange
My husband has his own tailors shop in Peisley Street, Orange.
My husband was the tailor for Bloomfield Hospital, Orange. I later worked there for Central West Linen Service.
I was born on the village of Vivcani near Ohrid in Yugoslavian Macedonia. I was married to Zivko, a tailor, in 1942. Zivko served in the Yugoslav army against the Germans. At the end of the war they pulled all the Germans from Yugoslavia after we got free.
Zivko’s brother went to Italy and got married and went to live in Australia . My husband said, ‘I can’t live with these communists’. He wrote to his brother and the brother obtained permission for Zivko to migrate to Australia.
Zivko arrived in Australia in August 1961. A Greek tailor on the ship gave this tailor’s ruler to my husband. He did some work for this man and the ruler was payment.
I and our three children, Slobodanka, Branko and Kosta, followed in 1962. We travelled from Belgrade to Genoa in a train. From Genoa we went by ship first to Spain. Yugoslavs were not allowed to go ashore during the three days we were at the port. Then we sailed to Australia. A church helped Zivko pay for me and the children to come. The voyage took exactly six weeks – from 1 January 1 to 8 February when we landed in Sydney.
Zivko lived in the ‘Dude Ranch’ (the Commonwealth Hostel in Orange ) for a year. An elderly man he became friendly with gave him a sewing machine and Zivko opened a little tailor’s shop in Peisley Street where the newsagent is now. He had a single bed at the back of the shop. Later the man took Zivko to look for a house to buy. Zivko only had £50 but the man paid £2000 into the bank for the house where I now live in Rosemary Lane, and Zivko gradually repaid him.
Later the manager at Bloomfield came to Zivko’s shop and persuaded him to work as a tailor at Bloomfield Hospital. He also worked from home on weekends.
My first impressions of Orange: I liked it very much in Orange. The living standard and the money – it was good for my children’s future. At first I slept with Zivko at the shop and the children were sent to stay with other people until we got the house.
When I arrived in Australia I didn’t speak any English. Our next door neighbour sold vegetables from a truck around town. One day I asked him, ‘Can I have some onions to cook something?’. But he gave me two bananas. My daughter made me go back with some onion skins so he would know what I wanted. This time I got onions.
Then the children started to learn English and my daughter did a correspondence course. My daughter went to work for a doctor’s wife helping with the children. That’s how she learnt English and later she taught me.
I later worked at Central West Linen Service at Bloomfield.