A Multi-Cultural Society

» Read the Tamil version of this story

Author: Amudhan Annamalai
Storyteller: Amudhan Annamalai
Community Language School: Balar Malar Tamil School Holsworthy
Main School: Hurlstone Agriculture High School

My impressions of arriving in Australia.

Australia is a multi-cultural society and lots of people migrate to Australia from different cultures.

My life in India

I was born in India in a city called Karaikudi which is in the southern parts of India, in the year 1989. I then moved to live with my grandparents to Madras. Madras is a beautiful city. When I was living in Madras I would wake up at 7:30 and walk to school at about 8:30. My grandpa worked as a manager in a cotton mill and my grandma just looked after the kids. Our main food was rice but sometimes we would eat such things as "rice cakes" and pancakes.

There is a celebration in India called Deepavali, which is the festival of lights. All the houses would be decorated in bright colours and mums and dads, and in my case my grandparents, bought sparklers and fireworks that we could light. The fireworks weren't dangerous. That is the best celebration that I can remember.

The journey to Australia

I was 6 years old when I left India. I left on January the 24th, 1995. I came to Australia by aeroplane. This was the first time I had flown in an aeroplane and I don't remember how I felt, but I do remember one thing. When we landed in Malaysia, which was the midway point of the journey, I vomited and the carpet in the airport got all messed up.

There were 3 main reasons why we left India to come and settle in Australia.My parents just wanted a better life. In Australia there are more comforts then there are in India. My parents thought that there were more opportunities in Australia than there were in India and they were right!

I arrived in Australia on the 26th of January, 1995. I arrived on Australia Day. What a great start! My dad's friend picked us up from the airport. He took my family straight to a motel as per my dad's request. I don't remember what I thought of Australia but I can remember that it was very different to India. We first lived in a motel for about 2 weeks in a Sydney suburb called Liverpool. We then moved to a flat in Liverpool. I went to Liverpool Public School when the school year started.

Adapting to life in Australia

Learning English wasn't much of a problem. I already knew a bit but my accent was a bit dodgy. It took me about 4 months to learn the Aussie accent and the words. One of the funny experiences was on the second day of school. We were told to glue some sheets in. They gave me a pot of glue. The glue they gave me was a lot different than the glue they used in India. The glue they gave me looked a lot like rice! And I was really hungry. So I started eating it. Luckily I wasn't hurt or anything. My teacher pulled me away after I ate about 2 spoons.

Another experience was when I went shopping with my mum. This was also in the year 1995. I really like grapes. In India you could eat 2 grapes and see if the bunch is sweet and I didn't know if you could do it here. So I asked my mom if we could get grapes and she said yes. I was just about to put one into my mouth to test it and one of the shopkeepers caught me. I didn't really know what he was saying but I could make out one thing, he wasn't complimenting me! So my arrival did have ups and downs but overall it was good.

Other people's experiences

I have interviewed some people on this topic. All of them came from India, mostly from the southern region. Their main reasons for leaving were pretty much the same as my parents. They wanted a better life in general. They knew that there were more opportunities in Australia. Some of the people I interviewed moved here because the jobs here pay higher and there are more work opportunities.

Their arrival was very different to mine since they were all adults. They knew lots more about Australia at the beginning. Their experiences weren't all bad. However one person, who will remain unnamed, bought a phone card for emergencies. He saw an ATM with a card slot and numbers very similar to a phone. So he put the phone card in and started to press the phone numbers and nothing happened. He was very confused. He then eventually understood .