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Leon Kiho

When Estonian Leon Kiho was sent to work at the Emmco factory in Orange in September 1949, he was given a tent to live in on a site adjacent to the factory near the railway line. He had to pay 'rent' for the tent, which he shared with another migrant, and endured the heat of summer and the extreme cold of winter before he could find more permanent accommodation. Worse was the fact that his wife Ludmilla and sons Alar and Ivar had been sent to the Cowra migrant camp. It was a long and difficult journey from Orange to Cowra when he had time off work to visit them, and he had little money to spare, but he and a companion found a cheap way of travelling.

"There was a goods train which went very close to our camp and we would hop on it and go to Blayney without paying. On the road out of Blayney we stood a good distance apart and we'd draw short and long matches to decide who stayed behind. The one behind had the first chance to get a lift and he would say to the driver, 'I've got a mate - will you take him too?' Sometime's they'd say 'Get out!'. Other times we would get stuck at Mandurama and the only way to get to Cowra was by train late at night. You got used to it: you did whatever you could to get to Cowra."