I waited and I waited

“I married the year after I returned home from a 12-month hitch-hiking trip around Australia with a friend. My husband’s brother was a priest and after the war my husband came out here as a post-war refugee but his brother got sent to Chile because they were very short of priests. His brother talked him into selling up and going to Chile because he could make a fortune. We had a very good business in Darwin, you see. It was steel constructions and he had two Czech partners. So, he pulled out a third of the business and we took off for Chile. We had to go by ship and then his brother told us to take all this marvellous machinery with us – including a truck, a jeep and an eighteen-foot-long trailer – and we took it to Peru because that was the only place we could land the whole shebang. We had a terrible trip over and then we had to drive it all overland to Chile which my brother-in-law had said was a Pan-American highway – actually you wouldn’t put a goat on it! Then he was supposed to have built us a house. He didn’t. It was something that looked like a big concrete block but it wasn’t a house. I don’t know what he did with the money we sent him but I think he gave it away to the poor. It was one disaster after another. I had quite a lot of experiences over there, after earthquakes and the devaluation of currency, one disaster after another. So, we decided to cut our losses and come home, because my eldest was going to start school the next year, she was going to be 5. So, that’s what we decided and I came home ahead with them and he was going to continue selling up. I came home and I got her into school and I got a job and I waited and I waited and I waited. He never came.”

– Peggy Stransky, 21 November 2015

Photo of Peggy Stransky in the entrance to Wentworth Lane from 81 Wentworth Street, taken by Nina Kourea in 2017.