Here at Last

Streamers sailed through the air creating colourful paper spider webs. Teeming crowds jostled for position with friends, relatives, prospective husbands and employers waving, shouting, laughing and crying. Eager migrants leaned over the ship rails searching the crowd for loved ones while the band played anything from Waltzing Matilda to Greek music. A ship had arrived at Station Pier.

This emotional experience was frequently in stark contrast to the bureaucratic processes of immigration and customs. Migrants immediately faced the need to bargain for the transport of larger belongings and find both work and lodgings.

Finally, with belongings checked and documents in order, the migrants stepped off the pier and onto the next stage of their journey.

Chocolates, chocolates everywhere: scattered on the deck, floating in the water, thrown by the people standing at the waiting station on the water’s edge. Anna Maas migrated from Cyprus in 1956.

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