- Boer, Helena Gerda de
- PLACE OF BIRTH
- Diemen, The Netherlands
Helene’s father had moved to Indonesia in 1947, In 1948 Helene, her mother Johanna and sister Gerda joined him.
The family returned to the Netherlands early 1950 on a British ship called the Dorsetshire. read more
“We were due to go to Melbourne; However, when we arrived in Fremantle, we were asked if we would like to get off in Western Australia instead. My father had a brother and his wife in Perth already with a large family, so we decided to get off here.”
The family was housed in Holden Camp. read more
“We arrived late at night and told to be quiet. I had jaundice. I couldn’t eat the food. We were not used to salads. I went to the doctor at the camp. Mum walked into Northam, bought a cooker (pump-up primus stove), and prepared white rice, which I could eat with sugar.
Helene’s mother ran a boarding house for Dutch emigrants.
“My family also had lots of young Dutch migrants, mainly males, staying in our house. Mum ran a boarding house and they were probably sent there on arrival by the Dutch Consul or members of our Hervormde Church congregation.”
The family moved several times, but kept attending the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk
“We attended church services in Irwin street in the city centre, organised by the Hervormde Kerk. We travelled to the church in our first car, a Standard Eight with a canvas roof.”
Helene got a job at Lands Department
At work, I felt multicultural. When I applied for a job at the PMG, you had to be an Australian citizen, so I applied for naturalisation. I became a naturalised Australian in 1960. I thought I had no choice. I would think twice about it now. I was the first in the family to do so. At the time, it was the “done thing”;
Helene left her job because she got married with Pieter (Peter) Meinema.
Helene went back again in 2002 when her cousin was dying.
“Returning recently in 2019, I know where my roots are. All the sights about early times. It’s around us all the time now. I would love to live there now. It may not be realistic, but it’s where my roots are.”