Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chapter 2 - Rowlands Family Settles in Melbourne

When I was informed of the date that Dad, Mum, Muriel, Marie and Percy were leaving Sri Lanka, I advised my Uncle Percy and Aunty Bertha that I would have to rent a house for the family and that I would me moving out when this happened. A month before the arrival date, I contacted and Estate Agent who had an office in the Eastern Suburbs with a view to a house in either Moorabbin or Hampton. Unfortunately there were no houses available in this area and I had to settle for the ground floor of a Mansion in Arkaringa Crescent, Beaumaris. The house was near the station and close to the beach. The family arrived on October 1961. I picked them all up from Station Pier in my Peugeot 203 that I was very proud of having arranged their accommodation and discharge of their baggage through Customs without any hassles. All the baggage and crates were brought to Beaumaris and most of the house was used for storing the furniture and boxes brought from Ceylon. Percy recalls going upstairs to the owner’s apartment and making friends with them. I took the recreation leave that I was entitled to on the basis that I had to transport my family, especially Dad to General Motors in Dandenong. As it was nearly November and the school pupils were preparing for their annual examinations my parents were advised to enrol my brother, Percy in school at the end of the year. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as he did not have to change schools in Australia. Muriel was aged 18 and she started work with the Myer Emporium in the Finance Department and Marie also started at Myer’s not long after. The rented accommodation turned out to be very temporary. Through my contacts in the housing industry, I was able to find a developer who had just put his new sub-division in Springvale on the market. Dad had started working in Dandenong and getting to and from work was turning out to be a nightmare as he had to catch a bus from Beaumaris to Dandenong early in the morning and return back at night. Dad and Mum with the help of Mr Rosen, the developer came to an arrangement with him to move into a new house at 72 Gove Street, Springvale and enter into an option to purchase contract while paying rent for one year to qualify for a State Bank of Victoria housing loan. We must have moved in before Christmas that year. I recall sitting in the Lounge Room of 79 Gove Street with the family after we moved in and enjoying the fellowship in our new house. The house was a three bedroom home with a single bathroom, a laundry and a Lounge/Dining Room and a Kitchen. Dad and Mum were in the front bedroom, Muriel and Marie in the second bedroom and Percy and myself in the third bedroom. The dining table that we had in Ceylon took up most of the kitchen with just sufficient room for cooking at the stove.

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