Yeni Hayat = New life
Kenan Besiroglu migrated to Australia with his wife and son in 1970.
This is a story of hard work, perseverance and the promise of a new life.
My name is Kenan Besiroglu, my family including myself, my wife, and my son, we departed from Sumsun and took a flight from Ankara to Australia. We were excited because we were going to a new country, and sad because we were leaving our loved ones.
On 12 July 1970 we arrived in Melbourne at Tullamarine Airport at 4:00 in the afternoon. They took us to Broadmeadows Hostel. We were tired. Our relative who arrived here before us took us to his home.
Before long we found jobs. We found a carer for my nine month old son. We started work, I was at General Motors in Port Melbourne. I had been here for a week. I took a train from Abbotsford to the city and then a bus. I was working at Number 11. My workmates were from other countries. I was working the day shift.
One day the boss came to me with someone who could speak Turkish. He asked me to do 4 hours overtime. I said to him I can stay but I wouldn't be able to go to the train station. The boss said, "Don't worry about it. There's also a Greek guy from Richmond. The Italian leading hand will give you a lift to the train station." I said "Ok".
When we finished work the Italian guy gave us a lift to the city. But we couldn't find the train station, it was raining. We spent an hour trying to ask people, but couldn't explain it to them. We were not able to talk to each other either. He was new in Australia as well and couldn't speak English. I couldn't speak it either, and we didn't understand each other's languages. We were communicating through signs. I could catch a taxi home but I didn't want to leave my friend. I saw a Richmond sign on a tram, I tried to say to my friend "Take this one". He did not want to leave me, we were still communicating through signs. He took the tram and left me. I took a cab, and explained my address with difficulty, but managed to get home. It was 11 at night, my family was waiting outside the house for me. They were about to go to the Police. But when they saw me they were very happy. I told them why I had been late and we had a laugh.
In 1970 we had our first photo taken. We started living in Housing Commission flats, and started to settle into our new country. Years went by and our son started school. In 1977 we bought a house. I became involved in community activities. I served in various community associations.
In 1980 our daughter was born. We were very happy. When we have time we go for holidays and have picnics with friends. We continue to work.
When I look back it's been 37 years. I am 64. Many of our relatives in Turkey have passed away. I love my two children, and three grand-children, my daughter-in-law, and my wife and Australia very much. On behalf of the Besiroglu family I wish you all a happy and peaceful life.
Australia: per forza e per amore
Yeni Hayat = New life
New life new country
My Second Home
Dad, I made it!
Loving Lebanon and Australia
The spaces in between
Where do I belong?
Heart of Otara
The story of an immigrant filmmaker
A Fishy Problem
My Beautiful Schwesters
Story education resources
Education Museum Victoria: Drama and Cultural Diversity
These resources for Years 2 - 12 students focus on immigration and cultural diversity through drama based activities. School-based activities are provided for before or after an excursion to the Immigration Museum , or may be used as an additional resource for teaching immigration and/or cultural diversity themes in classroom programs.
Education ACMI Generator - Immigration Stories
Diverse digital stories about the immigrant experience in Australia.
Immigrants who arrived in Australia from countries as varied as Ethiopa, Italy and Vietnam describe the sacrifices made, the experience of arriving in a new country and how immigration impacts on the next generation. Each digital story and theme is accompanied by education resources suitable for VELS 4-6.