National Geographic : 1956 Feb
The National Geographic Magazine named the Golden Mile contribute about half its wealth. And the State mines about three fourths of all Australia's gold (page 239). As could be expected, New Australians have come to Kalgoorlie. Some work at the mines, others elsewhere in the area. On the city's main street I entered a small goods shop and met Jovan Dimitrijevich, a Yugoslav. Signaling to a pretty young woman to take care of customers, he sat down with me. A small boy rode a tricycle in and out of the building. Before Jovan saved enough money to buy this shop, he worked two years for the Trans Australian Railway as a fettler, or mainte nance man. "I had an accident on the job," Jovan said, "and had to go to hospital. But I couldn't speak English to answer questions. So the doctor got a young Yugoslav woman to in terpret, and now"-he nodded toward his wife behind the counter-"there she is." When I rose to go, I mentioned the name of a Dutch baker I wanted to see. "Do you know where to find him?" Jovan asked. "Well, sort of," I said vaguely. "Then I will take you to him," he said. "Come with me." He led the way from the shop and opened the door of a new automobile. "Please," he motioned for me to get in. "This car may explain better than my words how I am getting along in Australia; it is mine. I bought it with my savings." Perth Perks Up After the arid, flat emptiness of south-cen tral Australia, Perth seems a delicate pleasure. Its few tall buildings are surrounded by green playing fields and parks full of blossoms and flowering trees. At the foot of the city's front lawn sweeps the Swan River in a graceful bend that makes a quiet bay. New Australians like this capital city of Western Australia, too; 36,000 have settled here, raising the population to some 350,000. In fact, along with the State's oil prospects, they are changing Perth from a tranquil town by a sleepy river into an active city. I watched a New Australian conduct Perth's symphony orchestra, talked with for eign students at the university, enjoyed a French film and Ukrainian opera on the screen, dined at Italian, French, Czechoslo vakian restaurants, and reminisced about Heidelberg with a German taxi driver. Even when it came to a laundry Mrs. Apollonia Reis from Yugoslavia washed my shirts. To me the spirit of New Australians is one of the remarkable features of this mass move ment of people from the Old World to a new one. Faced with a housing shortage, many immigrants build their own homes. Some take jobs Australians scorn; others do better; all are glad to have the opportunities a free country affords. Australia seems to give them great faith in the future. Life Begins at 42 The attitude of 48-year-old Geza Igloi, a Hungarian who brought his family to Aus tralia in 1950, is not unusual; it's that of most immigrants, young and not so young, willing to start from scratch. "It is much harder to transplant an old tree than a young one," Igloi said, "but possible." He told me how he struggled 25 years to build up his import-export business in Hun gary, then lost everything when the Germans and Russians fought through the country. To day he's foreman in the crockery division of a Perth department store. One Saturday Geza Igloi asked me to come to his home and meet his family. The neatly built brick house of one story contains three bedrooms, living room, kitchen, pantry, bath room, and laundry. Igloi and his son had done all the construction over a period of two years when not at their regular jobs. Mrs. Igloi and the daughter helped as they could. When Igloi had shown me around, we went into the living room for tea and Hungarian cake baked by his wife. The daughter sat at the new piano to play a czardas, their national dance, and the son joined in with his accordion. "I have applied for naturalization because I feel I owe so much to Australia," Igloi said during a lull in the music. "I saw this land at the bottom of the globe, but here I am on top of the world. We have come 12,000 miles after 25 years to get a new house and a new life. "Now we never look backward." He waved away the past with a gesture of finality. "In Australia we look only forward." For additional articles on Australia, see, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "The Making of an Anzac," by Howell Walker, April, 1942; "Beyond Australia's Cities," December, 1936, and "Capital Cities of Australia," December, 1935, both by W. Robert Moore.