|'Passengers' Exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum|
|Looking out onto the harbour from the Australian National Maritime Museum|
|Welcome Wall Plaque|
In 1950, my husband Jim was a three year old and he travelled on the SS Chitral with his mother and father, Rose and Don Simmons and his sisters Patricia and Christine from England to Australia. From the memoirs of Don Simmons : " .... The families saw us off at Snow Hill Station, Birmingham. Rosie's dad rushed down the steps just as the train was pulling out. We were bound for London and the Tilbury docks. I remember little of what happened until we boarded the P&O ship 'Chitral' on her final voyage.... The food and services were satisfactory. The journey took a full six weeks - largely due to a need to fix the engines in place... This caused a delay in Port Said and allowed me to see Pete ( Don's brother who was in Egypt doing National Service) ... I allowed us to be conned by a tout into making a trip by taxi to a native village. I can remember the hectic confusion and outright poverty of this place - the beggars and salesmen, dirt, flies, victims of elephantitis and bad smells. We retreated as soon as possible... We stopped at Colombo but couldn't afford to go ashore. We started out with about sixty pounds as I remember. The Indian Ocean seemed endless..."(Simmons, R.D.: Up There and Down Here, p65-66)
|Rose Simmons on board SS Chitral with children, Patricia, Christine and James (Jim) 1950|
|Panel 78, "Welcome Wall"|
The ceremony was very moving and especially significant for those whose names were unveiled yesterday like Jim and his sister Chris. Some of the stories of the families whose names are on the wall were told by descendants and the contribution by migrants to many Australian communities was recognized.
|Chris and Jim (Simmons) at the Welcome Wall|
Yesterday there were about 300 names unveiled in the second of the ceremonies held this year and I too was fascinated to hear and read the stories of so many people from various parts of the world. I know a little about the stories of those who come from UK and China, but it was so interesting for instance, to hear about families from places like Malta and the Ukraine and why they decided to settle in Australia.
|Jim and Wilma Simmons at the Welcome Wall|
|Australian National Maritime Museum display|
|Australian National Maritime Museum, Murray Street, Pyrmont.|