Hass Dellal describes being the Australian in Turkey and the Turk in Australia as part of his childhood.
03 April 2009
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It was a changing society, I think a lot of my friends where I grew up were I think I could only –I could count the Anglo Australian friends on one hand, the rest were either Croatian or you know, or from Yugoslavia or from Italian or Greek or Maltese or Turkish or Cypriot Turks, more Cypriot Turks at that time. Because the Turks when they arrived, a lot of them arrived at very young ages, so – so the community I mixed with were very diverse and I suppose I felt a sense of comfort because these guys were also feeling the same as I was and I think we were more in the majority in a way and it was interesting and we – I mean, we used to have a our little tussles and battles and like any other, you know, community, you know, or groups of young boys do, we get into those sorts of things.
But interestingly enough they weren’t really racial. I mean, maybe others would have experienced that, but I never experienced it as a racial thing. It was more about, you know, I don’t know, soccer or football, or we disagreed – a disagreement about something else. You know, that’s basically what it was. I don’t think – I think there was a couple of occasions maybe there were some slurs or racial slurs made, but you know it wasn’t something that was - I don’t think the person who said it understood what they were really saying. That wasn’t the intention. The intention was just a quick reaction, wog, you know, it was just a – something that they – he said or she said, or whatever it was.
But I haven’t experienced too much of that, when I was growing up in those districts anyway. There was this mixture and a lot of my friends, you know, I remember a Cypriot Turkish girl with – with this – you know, Greek – no, Italian guy and then I remember you know, some Greek guys and Maltese girls. You know, so there was this – and in fact, there was more of a mix between the ethnic cultures rather than seeing an Australian girl with an Italian. Although, they would have admired them from afar. Because I remember in my school, there was about 10 of us had hair down to our shoulders and we were the only ones and we were all wogs. It was terrific, you know, it was great.
And all the girls admired that. Even the Australian girls, they thought that was – you know, we stood out, we were unique in the fact that we had this exotic culture about us as well even made it more interesting but to a point, to a certain point. But in conversation and mucking around that was all okay. So I mean that was the sort of era we grew up in and the Aussie boys would like to play footy, we’d like to play soccer and that sort of business.
But there was that good camaraderie – if there was ever – let’s say, if there was a problem with at the time Kooyong Park Tech School where the high school I went with, we’d all come together and –