British Cypriot passport issued to Rejeb Eyiam in Cyprus in 1949. Cyprus was a crown colony of Great Britain until 1960.

Redjeb Eyyam, born in 1922, migrated to Melbourne in 1949 to escape the economic hardships of post World War II Cyprus. His name was changed to Eyiam at the passport office in Cyprus. His wife Yildiz Dervish, born in 1925, migrated from Polis in north-west Cyprus on the 'Corsica' in December 1951 and arrived at Station Pier in Melbourne in January 1952. She had married Redjeb by proxy (interestingly, the marriage permit indicates that Redjeb was present at the ceremony and a proxy stood in for Yildiz, suggesting that the ceremony took place in Australia). The couple had never met. Neither spoke English and they were among only a small number of Turkish Cypriot migrants to come out to Australia. Redjeb found no work in his trade as a bootmaker and worked in factories, taking in boarders to help pay the mortgage in Footscray. The couple had four children and over the years sponsored other relatives to migrate to Australia. Yildiz returned to Cyprus a number of times; Redjeb never went back.

Physical Description

Passport with black hard cover, and text and British coat of arms printed in gold (faded). Contains 32 pages including bearer's name and personal details handwritten in blue ink, black and white photograph of bearer (Redjeb Eyiam) and series of stamps and handwritten notes relating to Redjeb's initial entry into Australia and passport renewal.


This item is part of a collection which represents a small and lesser known community of migrants in Melbourne - Turkish Cypriots. The collection of photographs, documents and the suitcase also all help to tell stories relating to proxy marriage (common particularly amongst the Italian, Greek and Maltese migrants), and the practice of changing the names of migrants both before and after arrival in order to adapt to the demands and expectations of an English-speaking country.

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