Dorothea Dunzinger nee Freitag migrated to Australia from Austria, arriving on the 'Flaminia' on 31 December 1959. She was a proficient recreational skier and part of a volunteer rescue team in Switzerland. She lived and worked primarily as a mill weaver and seamstress in England, Switzerland and Austria before settling in Australia and marrying a fellow Austrian whom she met in a migrant hostel in Melbourne.
Dorothea Freitag was born on 24 November 1929 in Nestelbach, part of the Gross-Klein village near Graz in Austria. Her parents were Josef (born 20/11/1898) and Maria (born 11/12/1904). Her family had a farm growing cattle and grain, with the grain feeding the animals and chickens and their eggs feeding the family. She was one of six children [two having died in infancy]: Maridl (20 March 1926), Luis (12 May 1927), Cilli (1 September 1928), Dorothea (14 November 1929), Pepi (1 November 1933) and Hansl (16 October 1934). Three of her siblings (Luis, Cilli and Pepi) were given opportunities to learn a trade - dressmaking, shoemaking and butchering. The other three, including Dorothea, were left to fend for themselves, with one of the sons (Hansl) remaining at home to care for the farm and the ageing parents.
Dorothea remained at home throughout World War II and at the age of 16, around 1945, she left to work in a hospital as a trainee nurse. In 1950, Dorothea left for Bury in England to work as a velvet weaver in Freetown Mills for 14 months where she celebrated her 21st birthday (in English rather than Austrian tradition). Here she perfected her English. She then left England at the end of 1951 to work primarily as a seamstress [also as a weaver and waitress] across Switzerland and Austria until 1959. On 14 October 1952 Dorothea had married Heinrich Huber, a baker, who was a former Swiss parachutist. They divorced in August 1957. Dorothea then moved in with a sister in Graz and found life very difficult with an unhappy domestic life and being considered unskilled (despite her accumulated weaving, English language and hospitality industry experience).
In 1959 Dorothea felt compelled to migrate permanently and she applied successfully to migrate to Australia. She travelled alone aboard the 'Flaminia', leaving from Genova on 30 November 1959, and came via the Suez Canal to Australia on 25 December 1959. She landed in Fremantle before coming to Melbourne on New Year's Eve but was ill for much of the journey. She travelled with a couple of suitcases, a sewing machine and her beloved skis. She met fellow Austrian migrant Johann (John) Dunzinger (born 23 March 1936) at the Broadmeadows Migrant Hostel soon after arriving in Melbourne in 1959. John had migrated from Wels having had a hard life of an abusive home, lack of schooling and working in coalmines in the Netherlands. They married in 1960 and after their stay at Broadmeadows the couple moved to South Yarra to board with the Ruskin's, a German migrant family, from mid January 1960-April 1960. It was this family who probably gave Dorothea and John the Noritake coffee set as a wedding gift which their daughter Caroline still has.
They moved to Glen Iris to board with the Molnar family before renting in Armadale in 1962, and in this year their daughter Caroline was born. The family then moved to Hawthorn in 1963. Dorothea worked as a seamstress for the Ernst Gold factory in Richmond. From 1964-1973 the family lived in Camberwell and Dorothea opened the 'Carol Dun' boutique shop on the corner of Burke Road, selling designer label clothes, not far from the family home in Stanhope Grove. John was an insurance salesman.
Caroline suffered from a chronic asthmatic condition and her parents were advised to relocate to a more mountainous location. In 1972-1973 they sold the boutique and built a new home on lot 35/36 Mt Dandenong Road in Kalorama in the Dandenongs, on land that was burned during the 1960s bushfires. They named the house 'Karinya' (meaning 'Happy Home'). In Kalorama, Dorothea worked as an outworker machinist making, amongst other things, terry towelling beach hats. The marriage was not a happy one and in 1978 John and Dorothea divorced and Dorothea and Caroline moved to 39 Gratten Road, Montrose where she worked at the Cadbury factory in Ringwood, while Caroline also worked part time during her schooling. Dorothea returned once to Austria, taking Caroline to meet her family at the age of 13. Dorothea never returned again. She died on 9 January 2001 of cardiomyopathy.
Dorothea learned to ski as a child in Austria, as everybody did who lived near mountains, and she loved it. During her time in Switzerland, Dorothea became a volunteer member of the local ski rescue team. It was also at this time that she had a terrible skiing accident resulting in major neck damage. Dorothea's skis, stocks and boots were precious personal belongings and she brought them with her to Australia. Sadly she never skied here, not as a result of her earlier injury but due to her lack of leisure time and resources. It seemed an extravagance to her and she lacked the freedom, encouragement and motivation. Nevertheless, Dorothea continued to care for her skis, cleaning and waxing them, perhaps simply a way to stay connected to a part of herself and her past that had given her pleasure and at which she had been so proficient.
Details of Dorothea's work history in Europe are as follows:
•Hospital, Liebnitz, Austria. Trainee nurse. 10 September 1947 - 31 May 1948.
•Steyr, Austria. Home of Professor Stefan Mayrzedt. Housekeeper, 1 June 1948 - 28 February, 1949.
•Schwanenstadt, Austria. Home of Frau Terhaag. Housekeeper. 1 March 1949 - 26 May 1949.
•Bergland, Graz, Austria. Seamstress. 20 June 1949 - 16 June 1950.
•Freetown Mills, Bury, England. Velvet weaver. 1950 -51 [14 months].
•Leumann, Boesch & Co, Kronbuhl, St Gallen, Switzerland. Lingerie seamstress 7 December 1951 - 19 April 1952.
•Makos & Mudri, Graz, Austria. Seamstress. 3 June 1952 - 16 July 1952.
•Rucksarke, Austria. Seamstress. 21 July 1952 - 13 August 1952.
•Krauland & Pauker, Gosting, Graz, Austria. Seamstress. 22 October, 1952 - 12 February, 1953.
•Maria Weibes, Austria. Seamstress. 16 August 1953 - 28 September 1953.
•St Gallen and Zurich. Switzerland. Waitress and Househelp. 1953 - 1954.
•C. Cortolezis, Graz, Austria. Weaver of linen. 18 August 1954 - 28 March, 1955.
•Weberei Appenzell, Switzerland. Weaver. 14 April 1955 - 29 September 1956.
•F.M H'a'mmerle Mills, Dornbirn, Austria. Weaver. January 8, 1957 - February, 1959.
•Schloss Hofen, Voralberg, Austria. Waitress 12 February - 18 March 1959.
•F.M H'a'mmerle Mills, Dornbirn, Austria. Weaver. May 13, 1959 - November 20, 1959.