Patricia Crosse Interview

Loretto: When did leave Ireland?

Tricia: When I came to Australia I didn’t actually come
directly from Ireland. I came from England,
I’d been working in London
for a while. And then I came to Sydney,
I was there for about twelve months. After that I moved out to Mugee, which is
a fairly rural area.” Just over 300 km northwest of Sydney. It’s called the central West Area so
it is sort of rural. It’s got some national parks and agriculture out there.”

Tricia: “Mudgee is quiet well known for its wine.”

Tricia: “I finished studying in Ireland, some of my friends had
already gone on ahead. They’d finished and graduated from college. So there was
work in one of the hotels. So once they had gotten their foot in the door it
was quiet easy to sort of go over and get a job. Si I went over for that
reason. And then yourself (Lonnie) came over after and there were four of us
from college having a rare old time.”

Loretto: Remind me. So you guys were all there?

Tricia: “Miriam was there first, then Anne went over and
then I came I think the first week or so in June. I think, I can’t remember
when you came over. Did you come after working in the states?”

Loretto: I came in early September.  So when did you leave Ireland Patricia? Did
you leave Ireland
the year after we graduated, like I did?

Tricia: “Yeah, 1993, when I left. When I went back it was
pretty much visits. It was never really long term. The longest I was back was
for I think about two months. Before coming to Australia. Yeah but pretty much I
had gone in 1993.”

Loretto: And did you think at that point in June 1993 when
you were leaving for London
that you were leaving for good?

Tricia: “Am? I have to be honest. I knew I was never going
to be full time in Ireland.
I didn’t feel there was much for me at that point because when I did my Leaving
Cert unemployment was 17% and you know, you kind of knew that if you wanted to
work in the bank, you had to know someone, or you had to be a teacher or a
nurse, and I didn’t want to be any of those. So I felt, you know, greener
pastures were elsewhere. And you know, having not been born and bred in Ireland
I didn’t have the same ties that everyone else had. I kind of have more of
those ties now that I am away! But that’s just probably getting older!”
{Laughs}

Loretto: Yeah

Tricia: “Well I didn’t think that I was ever going to be
permanently based in Ireland.
And I didn’t really want to. Ireland
was a bit more old fashioned back then. I was more inclined to be in London and away. You
know?”

Loretto: Yeah. And why did, well you’ve already answered why
you left. Because there was nursing, you felt that nursing and teaching were
the only opportunities for employment and none of them appealed to you?

Tricia: “No. We had career guidance at school. Most of the
girls, you know we went to an all girls school, either wanted to be nurses,
some went on to be nurses in London or else they wanted to be primary school
teachers. There wasn’t even high school teachers, primary school teachers where
you went off to study to a special college to be a primary school teacher. You
had to be able to speak Irish, you had to be able to sing, I couldn’t do any of
those. And look I had no desire to be a teacher any way. I didn’t know
what  I really wanted to be, but these
were the options that were sort being thrown my way. None of them appealed.
{Laughs} So it was kind of head off and see what was out there.”

Loretto: So when you left Irelandin June 1993 there was no
job, there was no car, you didn’t own a house. Were you working in a job?

Tricia: “No. The only work I had ever done in Ireland
was summer work and it was, you know, it wasn’t really that appealing. Plus you
know, I didn’t look, but I didn’t feel like they were calling out ‘come and
work there’s plenty of jobs’ like ten years later at the start of the Celtic
Tiger. There really didn’t seem to be anything available. And most people
seemed to be heading off to the US
or you know, elsewhere. That’s how it seemed.”

Loretto: Yeah. Who took you to the airport Tricia?

Patricia: “I probably took myself! {Laughs} I mean I
probably, well I am about an hour from the Airport. Shannon’s
the closest to where I live. But I didn’t fly to London. I think I probably got the bus to Dublin. Maybe spent the
night in Dublin with my sister who lived in Dublin and then gone out.
I probably got driven. I can’t remember 1005 what happened. But I don’t
remember any big farewell at the airport. I maybe got dropped off by my
sister’s partner or maybe just got the bus out myself to the airport. I was
pretty independent when I was younger, probably said, “Don’t bother. I’ll go
myself.”

Loretto: You actually got to work in England, you got to work in South Africaand then you moved on to Australia. Why
did you chooseAustralia?

Tricia: “Why?”

Loretto: Yeah.

Tricia: “Am? I came over on a working holiday visa, which
let me work for the six moths out of the twelve. And then met some one here. An
Australian person and then decided to come back and live here permanently.”

Loretto: So you actually went to Australia
and then came back to Ireland
did you?

Tricia: “Well I went back toLondon. Yeah.”

Loretto: OK, so basically you had made up your mind that Australia
was going to be the place where you were going to settle because you had met
your husband?

Tricia: “Yeah. Pretty much. Yeah and plus as well because of
the tourist visa he’d come over to join me or I’d come over and live with him
and at that point you know I’d had a good year. I was quite happy to come and
live here cause you know nicer climate, bit different whereas London,
or even Ireland
didn’t quite feel appealing back then. So it actually wasn’t that difficult a
choice to make at that time.”

Loretto: Were conditions better in Australiacompared to Ireland,
or, you have a bigger pool, were they better than South
Africa orEngland?

Tricia: Yeah. Australiais a nice country to come
to because it is different, it is new. Even just the climate, straight up it’s,
you know, it’s really nice to see sunny days most of the year. When you’re
living in Ireland
it’s the opposite. Grey cloudy days for most of the year, even in the summer,
you don’t see that much sun. And London, probably a little bit better weather than
Ireland, doesn’t seem to be as, I know I was based on the west coast so maybe
it was always a bit more grey and a bit more cloudy. And you know, everyone was
pretty friendly and I didn’t have any problem picking up casual work here. So
yeah, and I was kind of younger it didn’t seem too much of an issue or too much
of a strain to actually come. Now I look back and think, hmm? OK? The decision
was made quiet quickly because it is such a long way from family. But I think
at that time I wasn’t really thinking. I was thinking Oh I’ve met some one
going to marry him and call Ausrralia my home. I was one of those kind of
decisions, at that time.”

Loretto: Yeah. Would you ever consider going back toIreland?

Tricia: “I would! But I’d be doing it when my son had left
school and was independent. You know it’ kind of a bit of a change of heart
because I was always I thought No there is nothing there for me. Am? But you
know, there is still that connection that you feel because you know this is
where my family are. And I would have to assume that by the time I do go back
both of my parents will be dead because they are in their seventies now anyway.
But I think there is still that connection to, and you know I did go back on
holidays. It tales a while because after a week I do feel that sort of
yearning, ah, this is kind of ‘home’ in a way. So I can sort of see, and maybe
it’s just nostalgia from being gone so long, but you know. Part of me thinks I
sort of could settle back there and am? And live there quite easily. I all
depends of if I were financially able to. If I wasn’t dependant on government
support or whatever because I think if you don’t have any money living in Ireland
is quite hard because the social welfare system doesn’t seem to be great at the
moment. So I reckon you’d need a certain income to afford to live there
comfortably but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But probably in the
next ten or fifteen years. {Laughs}I would be well into my fifties I would
imagine at that point.

Loretto: Are you glad you immigrated Tricia?

Tricia: No, I am sad. Because it is a sort of a lonely life
for me and Liam (son) because we don’t have any family here, I mean he’s saying
my cousins, but they’re not my
cousins. They’re his cousins and there’s not a lot, there’s only a few cousins.
So you know I am regretful, I would like to sort of maybe you know, I don’t
know maybe then again looking back to when I was 18 I really always thought I
would go because it felt like there really wasn’t anything in Ireland as an 18
year old. It was either go then to England or somewhere or else go to
college, study and then leave. I never really felt like I was ever going to
stay in Ireland
at that point. I just am a little bit regretful.

Loretto: What sort of advice would you give the immigrants
today? There’s allegedly a thousand emigrants per week, at the high points of
immigration, leavingIreland.

Tricia: Mm? My advice? I guess, they’re young, embrace it.
They’re going somewhere, it’s an adventure, you know? I would imagine that a
lot of them would return back when they are older. And if they do marry people
from the country that they are coming to, that’s always a good a reason to stay
in your new country. You’ve met someone, you marry and you start off a new
family. But, I think, you know, the Irish are good travelers, they go and they
do lot’s of good things in other countries, and they have good influence,
positive influence on other countries and I think, I actually do think it’s
good for people to leave their home country for a short period of time. I mean
certainly no one wants to think that they are going forever, but I do think if
you have to go due to circumstances beyond your control, you can look on it as
an adventure. And try to make the most of it, make some money and look on it as
an adventure and perhaps know that one day you can, you can always go back.”

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