Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Kororoit Creek Solution


PERHAPS it was the slight weight gain stemming from the recent addition to the Billabong’s library of a book chocka with American barbecue recipes and marinades. Or it may be that the desk chair, like the bottom it has cradled for so long, simply fell victim to time’s wear and ravages. Whatever the reason, there was an explosive crack when a poor Bunyip sat down last week to tickle the keyboard and ended up sprawled on the study’s axminister. This turned out to be a blessing, as the skirting-board perspective revealed an unopened packet of Silk Cut under the desk drawers, bringing back happy memories of the last passage through an airport duty-free shop.

The smokes were still tasty and the chair, now fixed, brought its own blessing en route to the repair shop, which is in an industrial estate on the border between Williamstown and Altona. To get there one needs to drive along Kororoit Creek Road, where a maze of town houses is under construction beside the bird refuge, which looks a lot like a tidal swamp. They made quite a sight, those units, so striking that the Bunyipmobile came to a stop while memories consumed its driver. Once, in a different Australia, the address had been the site of a migrant hostel, where New Australians were housed while finding jobs and coming to terms with their new homeland. Some remained in residence for three or four years.

How different things are today. Earlier, on Melbourne Road en route to the upholsterer, one of the most arresting sights was the spectacle of three tented women, veiled from head to toe and escorting a posse of nippers, near Newport railway station. Perhaps their husbands -- mind you, it could be but a single hubby for all -- are productive new arrivals, and perhaps there is not a penny of public subsidies supporting their homes. Perhaps, but not likely.

How much better would it be, rather than arguing about Nauru or sending children to the waiting procurers in Malaysia, if Australia turned back the clock and re-introduced the hostel system? The message would be that you are welcome to come, but the only taxpayer largesse you can expect will be a bed in a hostel’s Spartan accommodation and free meals at its cafeteria. Other than that, you will need to learn English, pick a footy team to support and build your own future.

It would blunt UN criticism of Australian inhumanity and, one suspects, diminish the appeal of the land of milk and welfare cheques those people smugglers have found so easy to sell. One suspects the number of illegal aliens arriving by leaky boat would see a precipitous decline. Those who did arrive, however, might be precisely the sort of fresh citizens we need – the sort who are grateful for the chance to get ahead in a new land, expect no public charity, and won’t mind a little discomfort while finding their feet.

It’s just an idea, and. these folks’ recollections, testaments to how well the hostel system worked, suggest it is a good one.

33 comments:

  1. PhillipGeorge(c)2012June 27, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    get real Prof,
    a tent wearer cannot be grateful to an infidel. Haram. Full stop. End of story.

    Without a bible there was/ is/ will not be a Western World.

    the Balkanized future is your future. Get used to it. A gated community in Spain somewhere perhaps? Good eating there.

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    1. PhillipGeorge(c)2012June 29, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/the-koran-is-our-constitution-egyptian-president-promises-to-ignore-egyptian-constitution-for-the-sake-of-sharia-in-chilling-speech/

      for all you, "she'll be right mate", sacred seularism, rationalist, multi-culturalist, darwinist pseudo scientist, progressive free speech liberals,

      infidels bro, you're mere infidels

      Delete
    2. Mr. George,

      Given that Hamas is renaming street in Gaza after past Islamic conquests, a gated community in Al-Andulus is as safe as an old canvas tent amongst the Pashtun. Europe no longer can produce any Charles Martels or Jan Sobieskis, Eurabia is stuffed.

      On a previous thread you mentioned Rabbi Kahn. I don't know if his book mentions that Samaria was in the territory of Manasseh - this would be interesting as the Orthodox Jewish organisation Britam.org believes that Manasseh is nowadays in the USA.

      The watchmen have been called down from the wall and told it's time to leave, Babylon Mk. III is about to fall - see endofamericabook.com

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  2. I fondly remember the Springvale hostel , housed with those exact types , families , and all , looking only for safety and a fresh start , back in those days people became part of Australia's future not an economic burden , they were fairly open and honest ....which is the type of person you don't mind making way for ! , with the passage of time it almost seems a halcyon period in the asylum time line .

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    1. There was the Holmesglen Hostel too, beside Gardiners Creek just off Warrigal Road. Very basic accommodation in those Nissen huts. Families hung blankets from ropes to give themselves privacy.
      I was reminded of those Spartan appointments when Ian Rintoul described today's hostels as 'hellholes'. Hellholes compared to what, I don't know. Maybe he was just hyperbowling...?

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    2. Very true , yet the springy hostel was almost luxurious in comparison , but given the path a lot of these passport throwing assylum seekers take , it does not endear trust compassion or understanding . A friend in america who has been doing it tough for the last couple of years , asked me if he could get to Aus without documents , would he be able to avail himself of our governments generous compensation ! Amazing what living hard on $7.50 an hour will do . He was quite serious ....now that's the pull factor at work !!!

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    3. I often wonder how the refugees would handle the hostel life. At Dundas Hostel, in NSW, where we spent five years while Dad built our house, we had Nissen huts with only bar heaters in winter and fly screens in summer. We had communal showers and toilets and canteen.Rent was 25% of whatever you earned. It was rough and ready but five of the happiest years of my life. Wouldn't do for this mob though I fear. No free TV, no air con, no free computers...

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  3. How do you know they were women? How do you know they weren't off to rob a bank? Makes a joke of high-tech security cameras, eh? And a bigger joke of us.

    Pedro of Adelaide

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  4. Ha! An evil scheme to increase the number of Western Bulldog supporters.

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  5. I grew up in an old weatherboard cottage on Kororoit Creek Road and went to North Willy Primary. I have lived in Adelaide for 30 years but recently went for a drive to the world of my childhood. Ghastly and gentrified but at least the old place was still there. Yes, plenty of people in tents around Spotswood and Newport

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  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.June 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Hostels could solve a lot of problems, Prof. Any backpackers hostel could tell you this.

    Decent hostels as way-places to something better for the homeless and mentally ill would be an improvement on the streets or long-term public housing dereliction. A hostel would do for a start, with a place available to anyone genuinely needy. Such hostels would need adequate policing by the cops for civilised behaviour (with a 'move on' sanction) and, paradoxical though it may seem, fewer attempts at nannying 'intervention' and 'rules' than current very short-term charitable bunk-downs, which just turn the customers off and send them scurrying to the nearest unwillling backpackers hostel and, when refused there, the nearest sheltering doorway or bridge. The hostels could be 'pepperpotted' throughout urban areas, thus avoiding the ghetto effect.

    Nissan huts and communal kitchens on a large campus would do for genuine refugees, so no luxury pull factor. No welfare either, just employment assistance. No multiple wives, no 'single parent' benefits. No phone and internet paid for. TV in a TV room, plus table tennis for recreation. Friendly neighbourhood charities to provide for special needs. Kids to go to local schools, no special benefits. This is the way it once was, and it worked. Today add: no nonsense, or no long-term visa with eventual residency rights.

    Genuine refugees waiting in desert camp hellholes in Africa would jump at this chance to get a foothold to making their contribution to their own advancement and the wealth of Australia, as did the refugees from war-torn Europe last century.

    Dream on, Lizzie

    ps Prof, trying to read these faded Frenchy house numbers is giving me eyestrain. Perhaps I could buy a robot to do that job for me ...

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  7. I totally agree Prof .I have many freinds who started in hostels as migrants ,all have done well and their offspring too ,All are Aussies now , they are Catholics , Orthodox Protestants and Atheists but All Proud Aussies. I wonder if they new migrants will fit in ? i think not,their culture is non European and the Islamists rely too much on Government handouts ,like the Indigenous no incentive to get off their backsides and get a job..

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  8. Professor, by any chance was the new addition to the library a Steven Raichlen tome? If not, why not? The man is a genius and I recommend ALL of his barbeque cookbooks (the latin american ones are a stretch becasue you just can't get many of the ingredients here).

    I've got a few nice big steaks marinating in one of his dry rub marinates as I write, and its going to be soooo good.

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  9. Further to that Prof: when the families came out of hostel(ry?) accommodation, the Italians in the Western suburbs kept the family together, all moneys earned were pooled and they bought a wooden house, all enclosed together. Next, the money pooled got a house for the eldest son, then on down the line,till all had their own home but still close as a family. We had neighbours with three sons and 15 years after hitting OZ, all four families has a weatherboard in St Albans, West Sunshine or Deer Park(especially around Glengala Rd or in Sunshine, Wright St. They were industrious and law abiding and all the Aussie born of the family had a work ethic.
    There were also many Greek families.I taught their children at Deer Park, Sunshine and Sunshine West Primary and High schools,and the problems we had all related to parents and kids arguing about "Aussie " customs that differed from their native held ones, and were resolved pretty easily with encouragement and time and support to parents as well as the kids. The Greek ladies had no English and the men but a smattering and work related at first, but the kids were soon excellent interpreters. Those Greek ladies I can still see in my mind's eye, roaming the paddocks where progress was slowly constructing a suburb, and the ladies picked among the thistles for greens to steam for the evening meal. They also knew a lot about thrift, work and sacrifice,and made excellent "new Australians" Many years later one lass now a mother about to be a grandmother found me and with her hubby came to visit me. As it was not long before my hubby died of cancer this visit was very special,as we had taken her on holidays when she was a troubled teen who wanted to stay at school when her culture(parents" ) demanded that was the opportunity the son should have not the daughter who was to serve the men of the family--never mind he had no ambition and she wanted to do nursing.. Her own children were absolutely Aussies,as she told it, and she had been born in Greece, but educated from aged 5 in Australia, and seemed a total Aussie also! Pure joy!(Hope you don't mind the nostalgia from a septuagenarian!??)

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  10. Thanks for that link to Aussietrekker. I've just spent a most enjoyable hour reading of her migrant exploits. The lady needs to seriously consider taking up writing a book.

    And for what it is worth; the old Hostel arrangement kept those who wanted to come here most eager to better themselves, unlike the pandering that is carried on today!

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  11. A sensible idea and worth a try, Bunyip. Nothing else seems to be working so Labor should give it a run.

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  12. A great idea Prof. It was a hard start for many migrants but also an incentive to get on with learning english and getting a job.I know it grates on many Australians when asylum seekers are housed ahead of locals.In past years many coming out of displaced persons camps in Europe were happy to have a roof over their heads that someone wou;ld not take off them.

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  13. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.June 27, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Prof, that Big Bear's Chair must be very precious to be repaired not replaced. How I love these old-fashioned ways. It is like camping every day, when the power of ingenuity comes to the fore and repairs are made.

    Now, to address the ultimate rather than proximate issue: you won't get too fat on an Aussie BBQ steak, as most of it is cinders, so go Oi Oi Oi. Lay of the Yankie sauces and extras - Bunyips are evolved to eat lots of charcoal. Soaks up the alcohol. :)

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    1. I've spent many hours in it, Lizzie, and yes, it is precious. First, I have a back that's mostly OK but goes berserk every now and then and, second, I tend to sit very high when I type. I've tried those modern aero-type chairs and they made my back hurt in new places. So the old red leather thing is my sweetheart -- nice and high, comfy, and with a pocket in the side for an open bottle. An ergonomics guru would throw a fit, but it works.

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    2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.June 27, 2012 at 8:39 PM

      Hey, whatever floats your back and backside, Prof. Go with it. You could patent that side pocket.

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    3. James In FootscrayJune 28, 2012 at 7:04 AM

      Professor B, not too long ago I too was driving down Williamstown Road taking a chair to the upholsterer. If it's the one on Williamstown Road in Newport they do an excellent job. Good choice.

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  14. Taught at Altona High round that period (64/68). A veritable United Nations of migrants, including many English, from the hostel. Over the four years, only one whinge: a mother who would not repair her child's spectacles on the grounds that it was my "responsibilty as the teacher to get them fixed for free under the National Health Scheme". Fondest impression of "salt of the earth" hardworking "tradie" types at the Willie dockyards, carving out a future for their families in a new land. Probably the happiest four years of my life.

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    1. Well I never .... the phrases "hardworking" and "Willie Dockyards" sitting cheek by jowl.
      Never thought I'd live to see that.

      The Irish Lion

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  15. As one who arrived in January 1970 and lived in one of those Nissan huts during what had to be the hottest summer of my life. I can say that living primitively was a great motivator to get a job and a home of your own. We were legal immigrants and were not given any "home starter" kits, the dole or any other freebies. I don't know that the asylum seekers here would tolerate those conditions.
    Daisy

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  16. Professor,

    There may have been worthy arguments in the remainder of the piece but I simply could not proceed beyond the spelling atrocity in the first paragraph.

    Ax-min-ster ( ks m n st r). n. A carpet with stiff backing and a soft, colorful cut pile usually arranged in a complex pattern. Named for the town in South West England where the carpet style was originally woven.

    Ax-min-is-ter ( ks m n isst r). v. The act of removing an elected government minister from office by stealth (see Rudd, Kevin). Often perpetrated by ambulance chasing rangas with a low centre of gravity (see Gillard, Julia) assisted by pudgy, guileless Union officials (see Howes, Paul).

    Please lift standards, Prof.

    Pedantic of Pascoe Vale

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  17. Yes Bunyip, no need to build new camps offshore, quonset or Nissan huts you show your age. Old for humans but teens for bunyips.

    You have earned a whole carton of nodoze and 27 bottles of Nescafe' special aroma brewed essence, take it from petty cash (the future fund).

    How do we know you are not a robot, I take offence of this proof of identity. Har Har.

    Capn Jack

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  18. As a former student at Footscray High I went through school with many children of migrants from the old Brooklyn Hostel. Many had parents who were highly educated, but their qualifications were not recognised here. Former doctors working as hospital porters or as factory hands, often with two jobs, working 20 hours a day. A lot were refugees from central and eastern europe escaping communism, many from Italy and Greece as well. Not to mention the Poms and Irish. This is also where I met my first Ceylonese (as they were then) the sister of one became a Moomba Queen another a Phd in Education.
    One couldn't help but admire the courage of these people to arrive in a country on the other side of the world, unable to speak the language - but all determined to build a better life for their children.. As a result there are many success stories from our school, teachers, scientists, doctors, historians, psychologists, a number of multimillionaires and yes, even a Footscray Footballer or two. There is no doubt that the old Migrant Hostel system produced many more successes than failures and the inhabitants greatly added to the culture and wealth of our society. Many are still lifelong friends after fifty years or more.

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  19. I arrived in Sydney as a migrant on the "Big Brother" program, The hostel was run by an old ex wrester who could only cook sausages, can't remember a TV but there was a radio. I was out of there in 2 days and have lived happily in Western Australia for the rest of my life.

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  20. My father came to Australia in 1930. He would think these people are weak lazy b*****s (the current lot)not the folks who stayed in the hostels in later years, great people and a credit to Australia. Another thing, he never sought to change Australia, but he did bring his delicious food, music and a lot of other things. When he dies, he was Australian through and through. Cheers.

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  21. Whatever happened to "New Australians"?

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  22. A little off topic but relevant: seeing a picture of the Indian Ocean with Christmas Island sitting just off Indonesia I saw the solution. Give Christmas Island to Indonesia! It already has purpose built accommodation and they can use it as a place to put all those who pay good money to get to Indonesia. Then they can all settle down in a culture that is their own.

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    1. Giving Christmas Island to Indonesia, which has no good record when it takes over places, is not such a good idea. Giving independence to Christmas Island, with a trade alliance and monetary union contracted, would ensure (as ought to be the case already) that if “asylum-seekers” land thereon, they either stay or return home, with no free trip to mainland Australia.

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  23. If my memory of the area is correct, you would have been close to Lalor. Perhaps you should have dropped in on the local member and discussed the issue.

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