Romulus, his wife and son migrate to Australia in 1950.
| ‘...migrant reception and clearing camps...’
| They experience patronising attitudes from some Anglo-Saxon locals. Ethnicity is highlighted as a point of difference, not a multicultural melting pot where everyone belongs.
| ‘New Australians’, ‘Balts’, ‘incompetent Australian tradesman’. When Romulus sets fire to a stook ‘The local newspaper ridiculed the New Australian for his folly.’
| They are appreciative of the new start in Australia.
| ‘None looked for trouble. Everyone was joyful that the war and hard times were over.’
| Their problems are exacerbated by the fact that both Christine and Romulus suffer from mental illnesses at various points in time.
| The Ballarat psychiatric hospital ‘...represented a foreign world for me.’
| There is a part of Romulus’ identity that will always be European.
| ‘He longed for European society, saying that he felt like a prisoner in Australia.’
* An affinity to place
The Australian landscape may be alien to the migrant.
| ‘even after more than forty years my father could not become reconciled to it.’
| Christine cannot become reconciled to the Frogmore farmhouse. She lives in isolation and exile in the new culture and landscape.
| ‘A dead red gum stood only a hundred metres from the house and became for my mother a symbol of desolation.’ AND ‘A troubled city girl from Central Europe, she could not settle in a dilapidated farmhouse in a landscape that highlighted her isolation.’
| Raimond has an affinity with the landscape which creates an epiphany (he refrains from killing a rabbit). This is an individualistic experience, not a communal one.
| ‘For the first time in my life I was alive to beauty.’ AND ‘The experience transformed my sense of life and the countryside, adding to both a sense of transcendence.’
When we first see Romulus he has poor, Yugoslavian beginnings. At the end of the memoir we...
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