Departure Day

Departure Day
Departure Day
Originally uploaded by MagicTyger

58 Mount Road, Bexleyheath, on 29 March 1965.

The day we left the UK for Australia.

Left to right:
Bruce Ennis (Dad), Sylvia (Mum), Karen and Neil (me). Harold and Anna (Grandpa and Gran) in the background.

Mum’s pregnant with Kevin.

One can only imagine what was going through Grandpa and Gran’s minds as their eldest son, only 22 years old left for the other side of the world with his young wife and kids

The house is next door to a pub called the “Polly Clean Stairs”.

Liz and I visited here in 1997. Unfortunately no one was home. But at least I can vouch that the place exists!

As a matter of interest, it was spring the day we left – as you can see from the buds on the trees. When we arrived in Australia in early May it was late Autumn. So we experienced summer in England mid 1964, and didn’t have summer again till the end of 1965 in Brisbane. That’s a long time between summers.

Mum writes:

On his travels in the merchant navy Bruce had been to many countries one of which was Australia. He had really only seen it through the eyes of a traveller. He was sure it would be a great place to live. At the time we were living in Bexleyheath in Kent in a small house the rent was 8.00 pounds. That was a lot of money in those days; he only earned 16.00 pounds working at a dairy delivering milk.

We decided to apply to immigrate to Australia, our application was successful. We left for Australia on the 29thMarch 1965. Having said that, in sounds so simple. Looking back to that time it was heart wrenching. I had never been anywhere before, Scotland was the only other place I had ever travelled to. Leaving all our families was very frightening; also I was already 5 months pregnant with our third child. This was a chance to start a new life and we would never know if we didn’t give it a go. So off we went not really knowing what was in store for us. Ten pound Poms!

13 Replies to “Departure Day”

  1. This has been great to read. I also came to Australia as a ten pound pom. My Dad had been in the merchant Navy and actually jumped ship in Sydney. He married in england but brought the family back to Aus in 1965. He was from Kent also…My parents met in BexleyHeath

  2. i sailed on the ellinis to new zealand as a £10 pom, lived in nz for 5 years then moved to australia and stayed there for ten back in the uk but i remember that trip, southampton to canary islands then south africa ( capetown ) then freemantle then adelaide then melbourne then sydney then onto auckland. i was 20 years old just finished my apprenticeship as a roof slater and tiler, and that journey was fantastic, i am writing this now because the ship popped into my head last night when i was trying to sleep and tonight the magic of the internet let me see the ship again.

    1. Hi John,

      Is this the record of your arrival?

      HARROP Eric born 27 March 1924; Margaret Ann (nee Perry) born 19 June 1928; David John born 26 October 1946; Allan born 12 May 1949; Eric born 6 December 1950; Carole Ann born 13 November 1952; Elaine Dawn born 18 December 1955; Anthony born 12 June 1957; Terence born 13 January 1954; Steven born 4 February 1961; Shirley born 25 January 1962; Margaret born 23 December 1964; travelled per ELLINIS departing Southampton on 8 July 1966 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme

      The full details of the item are here:

      You can order a complete copy of it if you like.



  3. would the australian gov have a record of me entering freemantle as i was going to new zealand, i arrived in new zealand april 1973 went to the same kind of site for new zealand but seems you have to order online and then view at the office in wellington

    1. John

      Was the record I posted above not yours?

      If you were only in transit at the time and the above record isn’t yours, then I perhaps the Australian Archives doesn’t contain info about transit passengers.

      You might have to do an online order on the NZ website.

      Sorry I can’t help


  4. thats ok i went to the new zealand site and will explore what i have to family is a bit mixed, i have my kiwi daughter living here in the uk but my brother is australian and lives near jamestown SA and i go over to visit them every two years.

  5. Hi everyone, My mum and her family arrived in Australia from England on the 24/9/1962 on the Castel Felice. They are celebrating 50 years here this month I would really appreciate any information/ photos of their voyage and maybe other passengers /crew who also sailed on this ship their surname is Kelly.
    Thankyou Mandy

  6. Hi Mandy

    Here’s a link to some photos of the ship:

    I searched the 10 Pound Pom collection at the Australian National Archives. To search, go to this link:
    Click on “Guest”
    In the keywords type: castel +felice +1962 +kelly
    In the date from & to type: 1962
    Click “Search”

    I found a few entries:
    KELLY Frederick born 17 November 1925; Sarah Jane (nee Smart) born 9 April 1930; Pauline born 12 November 1951; Stephen born 28 December 1955; Kathryn born 8 September 1959; Lynne born 28 June 1961; travelled per CASTEL FELICE departing UK on 24 August 1962 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme
    KELLY Arthur Patrick born 18 April 1913; Agnes Sweeney born 15 January 1920; Bernard born 28 October 1957; travelled per CASTEL FELICE departing UK on 24 August 1962 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme
    KELLY Denis James born 5 August 1924; Mary (nee Clinch) born 1 April 1925; Mary Josephine born 24 September 1944; Carmel Bernaddette born 24 July 1945; Joan Francis born 4 August 1946; Patricia Ann born 7 September 1948; Derek James born 20 October 1951; Paul born 20 October 1953; travelled per CASTEL FELICE departing UK on 24 August 1962 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme

    If you want to find out who else was on the ship, repeat the above search, but leave out the “+kelly” bit.

    Hope this helps.


  7. Thankyou so much Neil you have been very helpful, my grandfather was Dennis James and we found the imformation we needed .My mum and aunty have been really enjoying themselves on this site.
    Thanks Again.

  8. Hi
    I didn’t see your reply. We arrived in Australia on the 7th April 1965. We travelled on a Qantas 707 via NY, San Fran, Hawaii and Fiji. The merchant ships my dad was on can be found if you search Arthur Jenner on a site called Ships Nostalgia. It’s a great website. Dad wrote lots of stories and poems about the sea and some can be found here.
    I hope you read this

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