Summary

Single sheet from a folio of 18 loose sheets featuring hand illustrations, glued pictures and handwritten text by school children regarding life in Ringwood, Hampshire England.

The folio, which includes a cover letter and the envelope in which the folio was posted, was addressed to Merle Hathaway on behalf of her school class in Ballarat as part of an exchange between her school and the school her sister Hazel once attended - Ringwood Country Secondary School, Hampshire, England. Merle migrated from England at the age of 2 with her sister and parents Stan and Lucy Hathaway in 1951.

Stanley and Lucy (nee Simmons) Hathaway and their daughter Hazel survived World War II in heavily bombed Coventry, England, remaining there until 1946. They attended the Victory in Europe celebrations there on 8 May 1945. The Hathaways relocated to Buckinghamshire (where second daughter Merle was born in 1948) and Hampshire between 1946 and 1951, finally deciding to migrate to Australia. They applied successfully to the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme but had to wait two years before departing, living and touring England in a caravan until departing on the 'New Australia' 17 November, 1951. They first stayed at the Bathurst Migrant Camp in New South Wales before being relocated to a housing commission estate in Ballarat, Victoria. Within six months they had purchased a block of land, living in a caravan while their house was built. The family became active members of the local Ballarat community, with Lucy working for the newly established McCallum House Centre for Retarded Children at Sebastapol and continued her strong interest in the Brownies and Girl Guides associations.

Physical Description

18 sheets of card of varying colours on which are glued various hand illustrations and stuck-on cut-out illustrations of a school building, wildlife, school crest, photos of buildings and bridges and a map. Most sheets have hand written text about Ringwood and stories about the wildlife. The cover letter consists of two sheets of cream paper with a school letterhead and handwritten on one side only. It is addressed to 'Dear Merle' and signed 'R. Harris'. the envelope is buff coloured with two post stamped postage stamps and addressed to 'Miss M. Hathaway'. It has been torn open at one end.

Significance

This collection represents the experiences of thousands of post-war assisted migrants from England who brought with them memories of danger, sadness, courage, austerity and celebration in both tangible and intangible forms. This family survived one of the most severe bombings of any English city during World War II and brought with them material symbols of endurance and triumph in the Victory Day dress and Union Jack flag, symbols with almost universal resonance. The collection also includes items which tell stories about the goods migrants select in order to start new lives, the adventure of the ship voyage, and the seeking of familiar interests in a new community. The collection also explores the theme of maintaining connections and loyalties to homeland, in this case through memorabilia relating to the British monarchy and exchange projects with former local communities.

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