Halfway Around the World : The diary of an immigrant child, 1949-1950 – by Jo Murphy

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This is the diary of a ten-year-old child who emigrated from England to New Zealand circa 1950. Her entries begin just before Christmas in the Northern hemisphere, and end with summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

From a child’s point of view, this was an adventure with many possibilities. For the parents, it was an act of great courage as they gathered their five children (the baby only three months old) for a complete change in their future, with only sixty pounds sterling left to forge a new life.

Their ‘Englishness’ made them appear and sound different, even though a Levin newspaper headline of the time read “Jo is happy here.” But in truth, there were mixed feelings about some of the new arrangements, starting with more than a year living in a caravan, a garden shed and an Army hut.

After World War II there was a depression in England and a shortage of human skills in New Zealand. The British government offered ‘assisted passage’ schemes to families who could not otherwise afford to immigrate. The culture shock for the author’s family required considerable adjustments to adapt to a different way of life and a very different schooling system.

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Keywords:- Children, World War II, Diary, Adventure, Emigration, Travel, New Zealand.

Genres:- Biography/Autobiography/Memoir.

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