The long and hard slog to Hamilton By Mick Skrijel

In the early 60’s, I worked in at a Brickworks in Glenthompson for approx 3 months and for all of that time, they were taking £2 a week from my pay for the blankets. As I didn’t have any clothes, I bought some for myself as well as food. There was very little left afterwards for me to save. After 3 months of me working there, the credit squeeze forced the Brickworks to shut. We all lost our jobs.

I had savings of £10, no English & didn’t know anybody. I started to walk towards Hamilton, which was 30 miles away. It took me 2 days to reach Hamilton & I walked through until I found a park and that’s where I made my home. I slept on the bench. I tried to look for a job but where do you look?

Finally one night, the police came while I was sleeping on the bench & they took me to Hamilton Police Station. After a good while of them trying to tell me things & me not understanding a single word, they got an Italian guy in to translate for them & me. They asked me what I was doing there. I told them what had happened. They told me that there is a law in Australia called Vagrancy Law, which meant that without means of support, there’s a one month imprisonment automatically. After heated discussions between several Police Officers, one Police officer took me which I believe was his home where I stayed the night.

The next day he found me a job & he took me to some Italian people where they got me a room & he paid for the first weeks rent until I earned my first weeks wages.

in Hamilton, Victoria, Australia


I was born on 1/3/1941 in Yugoslavia and moved to Australia in 1961 looking for a peaceful life. Here is my story.

See Mick's profile.


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