The two latest episodes on the podcast come from Scotland and Latvia. Both from Northern Europe, but two very different stories in both time, place and circumstances.
Ross ( Scotland)
Of course there are thousands of Scottish-born Tasmanians, and even more with Scottish heritage, and Scots have contributed in so many ways to Tasmanian life over two centuries. In this context, Ross is a relatively recent arrival, coming around 20 years ago. There were a couple of aspects of his story that stood out to me. First, he was one of those rare people who came to Tasmania because it offered him the best chance of a job in Australia. Secondly, he came to work on a salmon farm, and indeed , salmon is something that both Scotland and Tasmania are famous for. It was also interesting to hear him talk about his reflections on sectarianism around Glasgow and being glad to get away from its pervasive and negative impact.
Ieva ( Latvia )
Like many elderly migrants from continental Europe, Ieva didn't leave her homeland by free choice. She was 4 years old when her family made a plan to get out with the retreating German army as the Soviets moved closer. It proved to be a dramatic journey. Despite coming to Australia at a young age, Ieva has tried to keep Latvian language and culture alive, especially the rich Latvian tradition of choral singing. It was through this that she returned to Latvia for the first time in 1990 for a cultural festival, with the country on the verge of independence.
One curious fact that Ieva mentioned was that her parent had applied to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) before realising that Australia was the better choice. It made me research the history of European war refugees in Africa and turned up some interesting forgotten history, that others may find interesting as well.
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