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Emigrating to Perth as "Ten Pound Poms"
- George T Marshall & Family


A New Life... as "Ten Pound Poms"

  

This fascinating account describes emigration under the "Ten Pound Pom" scheme. It involved a life changing journey to Oz back in 1968.... for George and the Marshall family... 

  


Marion, Sheree, Linda, Lorraine and George Marshall - 1968

  

So, 'ang on to your tucker bags.... 'Ere we go....

  

The Marshall Plan! 

   

Let's start at the beginning with the seeds of a plan being formulated on a wet day.... in Swalecliffe! The first few sentences of George's account have been extracted from the Simply Whitstable Visitors Book.....  

   

My wife (Marion), three daughters and I were "10 Pound Poms"

In 1967, I was a carpenter and joiner working for two great guys - Ashby and Castle (Bert & John). I was doing a job at Swalecliffe with Ronnie Revell and toasting our cheese sammies on a fire with a bit of metallic lathe in the middle of August. It  was so cold and raining hard.  Reading the paper, I saw this ad to "Come to Sunny Western Australia". So, I filled it in and posted it on the way home. 

Six months later, we were on the high seas to our new home!

George T Marshall

   

In post war years (1945-1972), the "Ten Pound Pom" scheme  provided a one way passage to Australia for a tenner and , during that period, approximately one million people joined the exodus. A more expensive scheme existed for New Zealand. In fact, another of our contributors, Bob Court, has pointed out that his journey to NZ cost a whole 20!. 

   

Setting Sail.... and Charting a Route

    

Since 1972, emigration has usually been achieved by a swift trip with British Airways or Qantas... but, back in 1968, it was a more relaxed 4-5 week cruise by sea. Thanks to George's mementoes, we can get a glimpse of what was involved.

The small emigration fee provided George and the family with this "life changing" passenger ticket....

  

  

It also provided a bit of democracy. Notice that tickets were "One Class" whereas even today, liners often divide passengers into two or three groupings depending on the ticket price.. 

The family were booked onto RHMS Ellinis and George has carefully preserved this post card of the vessel....

  

  

  

Like many other ships, the Ellinis became quite famous for its role in the emigration scheme. In fact, from 1963, it operated a 'round the world service' - proceeding from Southampton to Australia and New Zealand via the Mediterranean and Suez Canal.... before returning to the UK via Central America and the Panama Canal. However, by the time the Marshall family made their journey in 1968, the Ellinis was being forced to take a rather different route as George explains ....

  

The Suez Canal was closed due to the 6-Day War and sunken ships.

   

   

We left Southampton on Friday the 8th March 1968 and called at Las Palmas on Gran Canaria (where we spent a day) and Cape Town (South Africa) before arriving at Fremantle (a major port just 20 kms south of Perth, Western Australia) on 1 April.

George T Marshall

       

The 6-Day War had taken place in June 1967 and the impact on the Middle East was long lasting. In fact, Egyptian troops blockaded the Suez Canal until June 1975. 

   

The Journey...

  

The ship's RHMS title is interesting as I believe it stands for Royal Hellenic Mail Ship. This gives us a clue as to one of its functions. (In those days, a considerable amount of correspondence still travelled by sea). It also tells us something about the ship's owners - the Chandris Line. Basically, Hellenic means Greek. The Chandris Line was founded in the Greek islands but, by 1968, it had become a London-based enterprise.

The reference to "mail" might give younger readers the impression that it was something of a cargo ship. However, that was not the case. Like other ships involved in the "Ten Pound Pom" scheme, it was originally a cruise liner and it was still used for that purpose at times. Thus, it provided a relaxed trip for George, Marion and the family....  

  


The Family on board the RHMS Ellinis

   

It even had a pool for the youngsters...

  


Linda (aged 3), Sheree (aged 4) and Lorraine (aged 5)

 

... and entertainment for the whole family...... 

 

   

Mind you, it wasn't without its problems for children! Schooling was available for a short time each day!

There was a set dinner menu.... 

   

  

.... and it included an interesting note at the top.

The Chandris Line appears to have numbered the voyages. I am only guessing but, with the service starting in 1963, it could be that the Ellinis averaged as many as 4/5 tours to the Antipodes per year  

 

The final approach to  Fremantle was marked by a more exotic "Farewell" menu - arranged in a way that would provide a permanent reminder of the ship's name. 

  

    

   

All this makes me wonder about the size of the Farewell Dinner menu on another of the Chandris Line migrant ships..... the Queen Frederica!

  

Arrival...  

  

When the family disembarked, things didn't quite match up to that "Come to Sunny Western Australia" ad that George had read in Swalecliffe.....

    

When we arrived on the morning of 1 April, it was, of all things, raining hard!  

George T Marshall

   

.... and arrangements didn't quite run to plan either....

   

Our family and another family must have been forgotten as we were still at the docks at 11 pm that night.... and it was still raining!

Then, a bus arrived to take us all to Point Walter Hostel. The children were starving as we had very little money with us and had not had a meal since breakfast time. We had cold potatoes, sausages and eggs - not much but it sure went down well. 

George T Marshall

   

There was even more heartache when accommodation proved to be a bit more basic than anticipated....

  

We were taken to our little hut. The guy said this is "not Buckingham Palace but the best we can do"

       


The Hut at Point Walter Hostel. 

    

When he opened the door, we could see most of the walls were red.  We assumed that some one had been busy with a paint brush but how wrong we were. We soon learned that it was mozzie blood.

What had we come to? No wonder Marion my wife cried - after having the "second top" class cabin on the Ellinis.

George T Marshall

     

Settling In.....

  

It all took some getting used to and there were some immediate priorities....

  

My.... was it different from Whitstable. Australia must have been 10 years behind - so much open space and so many flies. You just kept your mouth shut to avoid eating them. 

The first thing you had to buy was a set of wheels to get around in - not only for work but also to get to the shops. Next was a fridge to keep the food and milk in to beat the heat.

George T Marshall

   

There was also the question of finding a permanent home.....

 

 Our first home cost just  5000 pounds in 1968....

  

   

  

Western Australia is nearly all sand, not good old dirt. 

George T Marshall 

   

And Forty Years On....  

  

Quite understandably, some adjustments spanned a much longer time frame....  

 

  

It took Marion about 10 years to settle down.
  

George T Marshall

  

Faced with the reality of emigration, quite a few participants in the "Ten Pound Pom" scheme returned home... via an unsubsidised ticket and considerable cost (at one time this was around 150). However George, Marion, Sheree, Lorraine and Linda stayed to forge a new life in Perth and they are still there.... forty years on. I'll leave the last word with George...

  

I think that we could write a book about our ups and downs in Australia since 1968, but all the girls are now married and have children of their own.

  

 Above: The Marshalls in March 1968
Below: The Marshalls in March 2008

 

So, life goes on.  But what an adventure it has been over the years.

George T Marshall

  

Our Thanks....

    

On behalf of all Simply Whitstable readers, I would like to thank George, Marion, Sheree, Lorraine and Linda for sharing their story with us and for making all those photos and mementoes available for use on.... Natives Abroad!

  



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