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Western Australia - Archival Item

Tony Costa interviewed by Rob Willis in the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project (2010)

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[From the National Library of Australia's Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project]

Tony Costa, born 1941 in Britain speaks about his family background; being in an orphanage from approx. 5 years of age; the term being 'in care'; St Vincents Orphanage, Feltham and St Josephs Orphanage, Enfield; the trip to Australia on the SS Oronsay, their treatment on the trip; the selection process for the trip and the explanation given to the children; their arrival at Fremantle and the clothing given to them; beginning a life of work and pray, with limited education; arriving (1953) and travelling to Bindoon, first impressions and sleeping conditions; Benedictine Sisters; the routine, clothing, chores, tasks, sport and discipline; child labour and exploitation; child deaths; friendships; role of the church; the mistreatment of boys; the development of his passions and interests; finding his family through the Child Migrants Trust; the dormitories and hygiene at Bindoon; treatment by the brothers, cruelty and abuse; the treatment of the Maltese boys at Bindoon; his surname; meeting his father and then his stepfather in America.

Costa discusses the role of bells at Bindoon; health issues at Bindoon; the administration of orphanages; his resilience; the influence of Monsignor Collins; his friendship with Jack Carville and Maltese boys; Catholic migration, being wards of the state until the age of 21; receiving his birth certificate; single mothers; religious icons; Mario Lanza; his enjoyment of performing arts; finding work, eventually working for the railways and assisting migrant workers with working conditions; position of shop steward and then Assistant Secretary of Union; his involvement in community issues, becoming a councillor for the Subiaco Council (1983); being elected as Mayor (1994); fighting for public housing and public transport, construction of necessary infrastructures; mentors in his life; politics; his hopes for the future of Australia; the Australian Government's Apology; Jenny Macklin; attending the UK Apology.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser