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Marie Sekutkovski

Interview conducted by Elisabeth Edwards for research for the Orange Migration Heritage Project, with Marie Sekutkovski.


Marie originated from Vivcani near Ohrid in Yugoslavian Macedonia. Her journey to Sydney began from Genoa. Marie's husband was already settled in Orange. On arriving in Orange Marie stayed at her husband Zivko's tailor's shop in Orange, until they bought their house.


I was born on the village of Vivcani near Ohrid in Yugoslavian Macedonia. I was married to Zivko, a tailor, in 1942. Zivko served in the Yugoslav army against the Germans. At the end of the war they pulled all the Germans from Yugoslavia after we got free.

Zivko's brother went to Italy and got married and went to live in Australia. My husband said, 'I can't live with these communists'. He wrote to his brother and the brother obtained permission for Zivko to migrate to Australia.

Zivko arrived in Australia in August 1961. I and our three children, Slobodanka, Branko and Kosta, followed in 1962. We travelled from Belgrade to Genoa in a train. From Genoa we went by ship first to Spain. Yugoslavs were not allowed to go ashore during the three days we were at the port. Then we sailed to Australia. A church helped Zivko pay for me and the children to come. The voyage took exactly six weeks - from January 1 to February 8 when we landed in Sydney.

Zivko lived in the 'Dude Ranch' (the Commonwealth Hostel in Orange) for a year. An elderly man he became friendly with gave him a sewing machine and Zivko opened a little tailor's shop in Peisley Street where the newsagent is now. He had a single bed at the back of the shop. Later the man took Zivko to look for a house to buy. Zivko only had £50 but the man paid £2000 into the bank for the house where I now live in Rosemary Lane, and Zivko gradually repaid him.

Later the manager at Bloomfield came to Zivko's shop and persuaded him to work as a tailor at Bloomfield Hospital. He also worked from home on weekends.

My first impressions of Orange: I liked it very much in Orange. The living standard and the money - it was good for my children's future. At first I slept with Zivko at the shop and the children were sent to stay with other people until we got the house.

I later worked at Central West Linen Service at Bloomfield.