People are very approachable, generally speaking. We shy away from talking to other people for all sorts of bizarre reasons. Other people won’t like it, we can’t whack up the ginger, whatever. Personally, I’ve found that people love being approached and talked to, and many of them have the most extraordinary stories.
Here is one of them.
I was wandering into the city to meet my old compadre Greg.
Said bye bye to my wife
Wandered past the bizarre collection of doggie treats for sale at the Edgecliff Centre, goat horns, sheep ears, crocodile bones and, most intriguingly, giant pizzles !
Shocked, I staggered down the escalator and met this lady at the station.
She told me the following story. It seems that she had worked in social work and mental health for the last forty years and we somehow got onto talking about post war immigration.
By the by, according to the Australian National University, Australia took more migrants after the Second World War, (on a per capita basis and not counting Israel,) than any other country in the world.
A number of these migrants came , it seems, from the country formerly known as Yugoslavia, and, according to my informant at the station, Tito, the Yugoslavian dictator, agreed gleefully to Australia’s request for migrants and then proceeded to empty the asylums and mad houses of Yugoslavia, crammed them into boats, and sent them en masse to Australia.
Another bizarre encounter, another strange story…believe it…or not.
It has to be said though that despite this bizarre (and unverified) origin story, the fact remains that Australians of Croatian, and other former Yugoslavian descent, have made an incredible contribution to the development of post war Australia. Though they only make up less than 1% of the population their innate talent for hard work and their academic, artistic, sporting and business skills have meant that they have consistently punched well above their weight and made a positive impact disproportionate to their numbers. So, you know, thanks Tito, the joke’s on you !