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Friday 29 March 2024

Kookaburras, Cuppas & Kangaroos by S. Bavey

 A charming travelogue by S Bavey about her late mother's 3 year adventure in Australia in the early 1960s as a £10 Pom

Dear friends.  Today I'm pleased to share the adventures of a Yorkshire Lass down under.  Elizabeth Isle left 1960s England for Australia for the adventure of a lifetime.  She was part of a cohort known as the "£10 Poms" who were encouraged to emigrate by the Australian government. 

This charming memoir is written by Elizabeth Isle's daughter Sue Bavey.  Today is my stop on the blog tour for Kookaburras, Cuppas and Kangaroos.

Publisher's Description

Fueled by her spirit for adventure and with her £10.00 ticket in hand, Elizabeth Isle leaves 1960s England, determined to see it all, not just Australia and New Zealand, but as much as she can on the way, too. She surrenders her passport to the Australian government and must find work to support herself on the other side of the world from her family and friends. There can be no going back for two years. Join this intrepid young woman on the adventure of her lifetime. Share her amazing experiences, discover what exotic animals await, get travel tips and meet her new friends through her letters home and over plenty of cups of tea. Beware - the travel bug might prove infectious!

My Thoughts

Sue Bavey had a lot of material to work with: her late mother wrote a travel journal and also sent airmail letters. 

Elizabeth boarded the P&O ship SS Orcades on 6 February 1960, bound for Fremantle, Western Australia. 

Three weeks later, Elizabeth was met by her mum's friend, "Auntie" Elsie Fawcett and her husband and son. They had also emigrated from England and had been farmers in the wheat and sheep belt. Now retired, it was agreed that Elizabeth would stay with Elsie (and budgerigar Joey) for six months while her husband went to India. She would have use of his car. 

Elizabeth was thrilled to find a toy koala on the bed and roses and scent on the dressing table.

For the next three years Elizabeth's life is a whirl of holidays, travel and work. Her jobs included being a secretary, waitress and house maid.  She makes many friends and after six month becomes "an independent Pom," living in boarding houses with other girls. 

A two week camping holiday saw Elizabeth and her friend trying to put up a tent so badly that they were invited to stay in the house instead. 

Holiday adventures included prawning and a very long trip around Tasmania. Her modes of transport included boats, buses, trains and hitch hiking. Coral "hats" were tried on during a trip to the Great Barrier Reef.  A holiday in New Zealand saw Elizabeth travelling again on the SS Orcades.

After a swim in a dam, Elizabeth was horrified to find her clothes and towel had been eaten by ants while she was swimming. 

She was bemused by the Aussie men carrying bags like the old-fashioned doctor's black bag, rather than briefcases. She also noted that the lorry and bus drivers all had a steel hand stuck out on a pole in order to indicate direction.  "They drive like madmen here."

A Christmas was spent in Brisbane. "It seemed very strange to me to have Christmas in the middle of the summer heat - 101 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade - and also to have to get up at 4am on Christmas Day to see Cora and my uncle and exchange presents before they went off to milk their cows."

She was intrigued by all the wildlife and highlights included seeing an endangered marsupial called quokkas on Rat's Nest Island, and blue soldier crabs on a trip to Bribie island. "Look at them marching along like a little army, pincers at the ready!" she remarked. 

Her ticket home cost £150 and she made the most of the trip, including stops at Tahiti and Florida, USA, and going through the Panama Canal. 

Arriving home in July 1963 Elizabeth was thrilled to see her family. "What a sight for sore eyes they were. I felt deliriously happy and a little overwhelmed after being away for so long."

A very charming travelogue taking us back 60 years. The book will be enjoyed by all expats and Aussies, plus those whose families were also "£10 Poms."

Purchase Link - https://mybook.to/KookaburrasCuppasRoos

About the Author 

Sue Bavey (writing as S. Bavey) is a British mother of two teenagers, now living in Franklin, Massachusetts, having moved to the US in 2003. 

Writing as S. Bavey, she won a gold award from Readers’ Favorite for her grandfather’s biography: Lucky Jack (1894 – 2000), which she wrote during COVID lockdown. She also has a number of non-fiction stories published in various anthologies.

A free prequel to Kookaburras, Cuppas & Kangaroos”, called “A Yorkshire Lass: The Early Years” is available for free download from www.suebavey.com. 

Thanks to Rachel's Random Things and the author for the advance eARC in return for an honest review. 

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1 comment

  1. Thanks for sharing your book club thoughts. Jacqui xx


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