Saturday, October 6, 2018

How A Young Man From War-Torn Germany Found His Utopia On The Other Side Of The World Part Three

"It's been a long while till I'll see you again..." these words were hautingly beautiful when I heard them today and I sadly remembered that on this day eleven years father passed away, suddenly. There were no goodbyes, in an instant he was on his next journey, without me. We had shared a unique experience back in 1975/76 when we visited the area of his birth Bamberg, Germany. (Discussed in Part One). He shared with me, then, a lot of his experience as a young boy growing up in Bamberg, Germany.

However, part of his story, that he didn't share with me, has been the nature of my research for the past two years. It's taken a while, because of my health and the lack of information that I've been able to find. But today, I think it's time to tell the rest of what I've found...if you missed the second part, or need to refresh your it is

Once Arno arrived and had cleared all the immigration details in Fremantle, He was then taken to Holden Migrant Holding Centre/Camp for processing.  The centre was located 96km (60 miles) from Perth and The Department of Immigration was responsible for the camp.

Alien Registration. 

Due to the World Wars, the Australian Government at this time, required all non-British immigrants to be registered. Alien registration forms may include: Name of Ship, Date of and Port of Arrival into Australia. Date and Place of Birth. Occupation, marital Status, a physical description, or a photograph, and, place of residence and in some instances who the employer was.

Luckily for me, my mother pulled down from storage, some papers of Dad's, and inside the stash of paperwork, was a 'gold nugget', a piece of my Dad's history, that I had never seen before...his "Certificate of Registration.

Certificate of Registration 

Within this 'passport' type document, is a wealth or treasure trove of information, that opened up a huge puzzle for me...
What I found was so joyous, as I knew nothing about those early years...I had it totally wrong...wrong...wrong...!!!  So the whole purpose of recording this story is so I can get it into a timeline and correct all the misconceptions that I had and replace them with facts.

Personal Information & Ship Arrival Details

Arno arrived in Fremantle on the 18 October 1953. I couldn't imagine what his first impression of Australia could have been.  So, I did what any researcher would do...I went there.  It took me longer than I imagined, but to stand at the spot where my father, with his battered brown suitcase arrived by himself in a foreign country, not able to speak a word of bought tears to my eyes and a big lump to my throat...

Fremantle Immigration Wharf

Fremantle Immigration Wharf

Fremantle Immigration Wharf

 Wharf at Fremantle - Where Immigrants Arrived in 1953

Immigration Museam, Fremantle, Western Australia

I can only imagine Dad's first thoughts...Where do I get a beer???  I also think that if he could have, he would have found the nearest pub and had his first Aussie Beer...
National Hotel, Fremantle

Instead, he was taken by train, directly from the wharf and leaving late in the night traveling to 'HOLDEN' which was stamped in large red letters in his Certificate of Registration, arrived in the early hours of the next day.With the arrival of the train in Northam, they were quickly transported aboard a bus and taken to the Holden camp. Where they were given a hot meal, and allocated quarters. 

His paperwork was issued in Perth on 20 October 1953. He was a tall strapping lad 6' 4" (195 cm), so he probably wasn't going to be sitting around for long waiting for work.  The Migrant Camp was rough and ready. Huts had been transfered from the Army Camp in Northam to the Holden Migration Camp, in Northam. Where the newly arrived immigrants were assigned employment. 

Source: Trove 
West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), Monday 19 September 1949, page 8 (Accessed 07 Oct 2018)

Information about meals at Holden Camp
Source: Trove Northam Advertiser (WA : 1895 - 1918; 1948 - 1955), Friday 10 July 1953, page 1

West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), Monday 30 August 1954, page 3

With his skills, as an electrician (Arno, had immigrated as an unskilled labourer in the Australian Government Assisted Passage scheme), he was quickly snapped up to work (as a labourer) for the Kwinana Construction Group, in Kwinana, on 26 October 1953. He was involved in the work of the construction of the largest oil refinerery.The Kwinana Refinery, operated by BP, is located on the shore of Cockburn Sound at Kwinana, near Fremantle, Western Australia. It was constructed by the then Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and completed in 1955. It is the largest oil refinery in Australia, with a capacity of 138,000 barrels per day (source: Wikipedia).


In July 1954 Arno was working in Rockingham and living in Smythe Street. Then in January 1955 we find that he is working for the Public Works Department in Broome, Western Australia. It's here where Armo is told that to get his electrical qualifications, his best option is to go to Victoria, where the licencing will give him the ability to use his licence in other states of Australia. Since his best friend Theo Kello is now living in Melbourne, he boards a ship and arrives in Melbourne in August of 1955.  Living at 13 Princess Terrace, St Kilda, Victoria.

In Part Four, I will cover the final chapter of Arno's life and we will finally get to find how a young man from war-torn Germany, found his Utopia on the other side of the world.


Fiona Tellesson (nee Zapf)
Sharing the passion of family history
Chief Genealogist
Experts In Genealogy

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