Dear Paolo Speranza, I am Lucia Pante, the wife of Giuseppe Lima and the mother of Julius, Giorgio and Isabella. I was born in Possagno, northern Italy in 1929. I spent my childhood there and in Genoa for the rest of my time in Italy. There was not much left for people in Italy after WWII, Australia was seen as a country of opportunities that would provide us with a better life. This was the reason as to why we decided to move here and also our impression of the country. As part of the assisted migration scheme, our fares were already taken care of. We had packed two big trunks to take our belongings for our new life in Australia. Apart from clothes, we also brought things relating to our family history including photographs and our wedding gifts. I give you this memoir so that you could understand the experiences we went through as new Australians and the contributions we have made to the country.
On 25 May 1953, we left Genoa on a ship called Sydney. The trip was the toughest experience we went through. The conditions of the ship were abysmal. Rats scurried about, ventilation and light were poor. The food and dishes also used to slide from one side of the table to the other and would often end up on the floor. Bed accommodation was disgraceful. It was suffocating inside the cabins at night. There was a lot of chaos as passengers dragged their blankets, fought for space to sleep and went searching for things such as hammocks to sleep on.
After two months, we arrived in Melbourne in July. We went straight to the hostel at Bonegilla. Our family had one small room and we had to queue up for meals at the dinning.