Migrant Stories

Know Your Nation spent time with 11 Kwinana locals to find out about where they grew up and what brought them here. Know Your Nation has broken down the material gathered into a series of short stories, 9 audio stories and 2 written stories. The result is a beautiful, eclectic collection illustrating the luck of the modern community. Of course, sometimes the stories illustrate the luck of the individual. But overall the collection speaks to the fortune of the community collectively.
The most dynamic communities are those made up of people with different experiences, backgrounds and skillsets. It is clear from this cross section of people in Kwinana that our community has the potential to be one of the most dynamic in the region.

These stories had their first public screening on Harmony Day 2017, and are now here for you to share and enjoy.

Adrian’s story
The whole journey, getting to Perth until today, has been amazing. I still look back at us getting here and think ‘how did we do this’. It has only been possible because of the culture here.
We are all the same human beings. We do sometimes get labelled before people get to know us. That will only change if people engage with each other. We speak the same language, we understand the culture pretty well, and we are doing our little bit to improve the community.

Agila’s story
My kids are sometimes complaining when I take them to India – ‘what’s this, there is no electricity, the mosquitos are biting’ – but I let them know, in my day I never complained about the lack of electricity. Whenever we go back I teach them about how I grew up, which I think is very important.
When we first moved here I felt really lonely. I’m a very talkative person and like to be around others. But recently there has been humongous growth in Kwinana, I like it. It’s what I wanted. Now I can go to the park in my churidar (a traditional style of Indian dress) and nobody looks at me differently; I feel like I fit in. I completely respect the community here, and completely respect each and every person. It’s a good community.

Ann’s story
When we moved to Australia I ensured I gave as much money as I could to my sisters to try and repay them for everything they did for me when we were younger, although in my opinion there will never be enough money to repay them for everything that they went through.


Click here to read Ann’s story

Bart’s story
It’s very green and there is a good community spirit too. I’ve been part of many community related organisations in Kwinana but I’m a father now so for two years have only had limited spare time.

Cheryl’s story
Making the decision to immigrate to a new country is both exciting and difficult at the same time, especially with small kids and if you are not sure about the place and whether you will be able to find a job. We researched a lot about the place while we applied for the visa, we also prepared our minds with both good and bad possibilities; we knew that there was no looking back. We connected with friends and agencies in WA through social sites, and we remained motivated and positive.
Our first few months were difficult, we were very nervous and scared but we remained positive, we made new good friends, we were determined and tried to adapt to the new culture quickly. My husband and family supported me very well and trusted in my capabilities. Very soon we got jobs, kids started school and we came to know the surroundings. Now we have relatives and friends who are looking at immigration options and consult us for information and advice. Our only advice is to think positive, be hard working, remain dedicated, and pray. Good things will always happen to good people.
I think it is a privilege to be part of the Kwinana community. There are a lot of things that the government is doing which I like. I consider myself flexible and adaptive but it is an equal and opposite reaction – the way you behave is the way people behave to you.

Chris’s story
Kwinana is a beautiful place. All of our children have bought their homes here. We’re happy little Vegemites.

Doug’s story
I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I’m happy here. There are just so many memories with me about Kwinana. We could be here all day if I were to tell you them all. Father Christmas and the lolly run (the Kwinana tradition, since 1954, of cars driving round the local area with Santa on them, throwing out bags of lollies to children) on Christmas morning for example; my dad did it, now I do it, and our kids help out on the day too. Chris is now the coordinator of it. It’s just this wonderful feeling, putting back into the community what it gave to us.

Jane’s story
When I first came to Australia I was quite excited. It felt like all of the pressure was taken away. But then later I was worried about what I could do here for work, and some of the pressure came back. It’s a totally new life.
My husband works at the naval base in Kwinana and we wanted to build south of the river, so we chose Kwinana. Kwinana will always be home now.
Kwinana library is so good. It is big and there are lots of activities. Also there is a wild flower reserve near my home, and I love flowers. I am a Kings Park guide and I paint flowers so Kwinana is an ideal place for me to live. I want to work with my art. It’s my dream to paint 100 wild flowers. I am also a Thai Chi instructor and another of my dreams is to help people through my Thai Chi.


Click here to read Jane's story

Nicole’s story
I was raised in a small village in South West Germany in the Palatine region. Kwinana is really the best, beautiful value. There are so many facilities and it is so beautiful. I tell everyone, come to Kwinana!
But you have to actively engage with people and not wait for them to hold your hand. You have to mix with people and learn.

Roong’s story
I love Kwinana because it is quiet. I love the community because I feel like a real member of it. I believe that everyone should come together and be open about their passions and their thoughts – what you like and what you don’t like – so that the community gets closer and better understands each other. To all Thai people in Australia, think about who you represent and what you want. Go and be independent and make the most of yourself.

Ruth’s story
There are so many things to do. I do heaps of stuff here, I love it. It is growing so lovely. I love it every day more and more. It’s an industrial city so there’s good income here. I’ve been back to my country many times but each time I feel more at home back in Australia. There is more respect here, it is cleaner. This is my place.

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