I’m a Ten Pound Pom – we were crammed in iron huts & got measles before our family split… but there's a surprising twist | The Sun

WHEN cousins Linda Candy and Valerie Linden boarded the SS New Australia in Southampton on August 29 1951, they had high hopes for their new life in the sunshine Down Under.

Crammed into a tiny house in the wake of WWII, their fathers – who were brothers – were desperate to build a better life for their families.

They emigrated to Australia as part of the Ten Pound Pom scheme, just like Michelle Keegan’s character in the new BBC series.

But soon after arriving, Linda, now 75, and Valerie, 76, were torn apart after a bitter family fall out.

They moved thousands of miles apart, and although Linda often thought of the cousin she’d grown up with, she thought they’d never see each other again.

That was until Valerie tracked her down, more than 70 years on, using an ancestry website before hesitantly sending her a message on Facebook.

Earlier this year the pair were finally reunited in the exact spot they entered the country in 1951, at Pier One in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Linda says: “It was really an incredible feeling to see Valerie again after all this time.

“I’d given up hope of a reunion many decades before, as we had no way to get in touch."

Linda says her and Valerie were "more like sisters than cousins", adding: “I would often think about the fun we had on the ship on the way to Australia.

Most read in The Sun


This Morning fans slam 'insincere' and 'bizarre' tribute to axed Phil Schofield


Eamonn Holmes hits out at Phil & Holly in furious new rant


This Morning star reveals she's pregnant with second child amid show turmoil


More shocking details of Phillip Schofield’s This Morning axing revealed

"We both had brothers so we gravitated towards each other and were more like sisters than cousins.

“Even though a lifetime had passed, it was as though we had never been apart.

“We got along like a house on fire. We went to Valerie’s daughter’s house, near Sydney, and we were dancing at 2am, behaving just like we did when we were four and five, I suppose!

“I’m so grateful she managed to find me again. We’ve got a lot of making up for lost time to do now.”

New life

Linda’s father, Charles Rossiter, had been a seasoned soldier and served in Africa and the Middle East before and during the Second World War.

Meanwhile his brother Les had worked down the mines in County Durham.

But by 1950 they found themselves living in one room with their parents, spouses and young children.

Desperate for housing and job opportunities, and with Charles longing for sunshine and adventure, they decided to migrate together to Australia.

They set sail when Linda was aged just four and Valerie was five.

Linda recalls: “I remember the boat journey quite well, our mothers were always terrified we would fall overboard so we were kept on quite a tight rein for the journey.

“When we finally landed in Australia, I remember just being overjoyed being able to play on grass, and my mother had quite a hard time getting me onto the train to Bathurst.”

'Worst mistake'

The two families lived in migrant hostels, which were huts made of corrugated iron with basic fittings and no fans, let alone aircon, in the searing heat.

“It was very difficult for us all,” Linda recalled. “It was scorching hot, the middle of summer, we had no money and we all caught measles.

“There was no medical care other than calamine lotion. I remember my mother putting paper over the windows of the hut because we couldn’t bear the light.

“Our mothers must have thought they had made the worst mistake of their lives.”

Family feud

The two brothers both planned to travel west to South Australia for work – but their plans were disrupted when Les persuaded Charlie to loan £70 to a friend so they could buy a truck to make the journey together.

Somehow, this didn’t work out and there was a fierce argument – resulting in Linda’s family setting off alone.

From then on, the two families went their separate ways.

“There was no way to keep in touch; we moved south to Salisbury, South Australia, and they stayed in Fairy Meadow, New South Wales," Linda explains.

It was very difficult for us all. It was scorching hot, the middle of summer, we had no money and we all caught measles

“We had been used to being playmates. It was a huge change getting used to life without them.”

Within two years of moving to South Australia, Linda’s family’s fortunes changed after they won £15,000 on the lottery. Australian currency was still in pounds at that time.

They moved back to England and bought a farm – but within three years the Aussie lifestyle was too much of a pull and they returned to South Australia, where Linda went to university and completed an arts degree and became a teacher.

Valerie’s family also returned to England in 1959, but she and her brother Ian eventually returned as adults, having been schooled in England. She lives there now, as do her children.

Back together

The two cousins discovered they had both spent a lifetime yo-yoing between the hemispheres.

Valerie says: “I had been building my family tree on a genealogy site and had tried to track down Linda’s branch of the family.

“Over the years my thoughts had often wandered to what and where Linda was.

Read More on The Sun

Vets share seven items super toxic to dogs including healthy snacks & vegetables

ITV game show legend a ‘serious contender to take over’ from Phillip Schofield

“I couldn’t believe it when I found her husband. The rest is history!

“It might have taken 70 years but it was worth the wait.”

Source: Read Full Article