Sharing the Lode: The Broken Hill Migrant Story

Dad had this little boat and after a while, to survive, they caught perch and cod and sent it to a shop in Broken Hill. - Jenny Cattonar


We experienced language difficulties, isolation and loneliness. We shared extreme weather conditions with our neighbours. Dust storms and water restrictions were part of life.

Every Saturday and Sunday the dust would come; you would clean up and it would come again.
Kata Andrich

I still have difficulties sometimes with the language. When I first arrived, I had a lot of discrimination from other people - mainly Australians, but now forty four years later, I have no difficulties at all. I seem to have got used to the style of Broken Hill.
Karl Karthauser

We had no money so there was no washing-machine. My hands were the washing-machine. I used a copper sometimes and I made the soap.
Bruna Genua

Sometimes I went to the pub to drink with Greek friends. The Australians would push us out but after we had a big fight they would let us in the pub and we would drink together!
Spiros Niarros

Mr King, the Sports Master, appointed me as the captain of the school when I was in sixth class. A letter was written by an irate parent to Mr King, stating that he did not want his son participating in sport while a dago was the captain and that this was the feeling amongst many other parents. When I heard of this letter I left Alma School, very disappointed, and enrolled in the Central School for a very short time.
Rudolph Alagich OAM

Towards the end of the war the Government sent Dad and other men to Barmera in South Australia to cut wood. The men worked in groups of ten and were initially paid a weekly wage. Later a contract system was introduced but morale was low and the men only did enough to earn wages.
Noris Braes

I used to go to the phone box in front of our house with a box full of pennies to ring all the
Angelina (Anne) Attard

I was only home (from war) for a couple of years when dad got killed on the mine. One hundred men walked in front of the hearse at his funeral.
Joseph (Joe) Attard

In about 1980 my son came home to me one day, and said "Dad, they're making fun of my name. What shall I do?" I said, "Well either learn to fight son, or you put up with it and don't let it worry you". So consequently, he ironed out a few and that sorted that problem out!
Reginald (Reg) Pedergnana

It was difficult for a few years when I had to see a doctor. People expected to be paid if they took you. We didn't give them money, but my husband had to work for them for nothing.
Olga Zanette

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There were water restrictions: there was no water in Umberumberka, no water in Stephens Creek. They carried water on the train from Menindee. From eight o'clock to four o'clock there was no water at all...

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Dust storm, Argent Street, 1955

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Afghan camel train