Calwell MP Maria Vamvakinou vividly remembers the moment she realised she could speak English.
“I remember where I was standing in the playground – I don’t know why and I’ve never been able to understand it, but I know that I remember it well,” the Federal MP said.
Ms Vamvakinou migrated to Australia with her parents and her sister from the Greek island of Lefkada in 1963. They settled in North Carlton and she attended Brunswick South Primary School.
“I remember bringing my lunch to school – it was very thick bread with zucchini and eggplant slices and cheese,” she said. “I remember not wanting to eat it because it did not look like the lunch the Australian kids bought to school, which was white sliced bread with hundreds of thousands or Vegemite on it.”
Her moving story of migration is explored in one of four short-form documentaries produced by Multicultural Arts Victoria.
The films document stories of people who came to Australia as children and who have created successful lives for themselves despite “uncertain beginnings”.
The series explores what it feels like to be a migrant or refugee and “having to travel from the only home you’ve ever known to a new life in Australia”.
To watch the documentaries, go to: multiculturalarts.com.au/afterwards/