Mina Caldwell and Eric Goldspink were both born and raised in England until they were 9 years old. Then, they became child migrants, sent to Australia in 1939 to live at Lady Northcote Farm School, near Bacchus Marsh. There, they, with their new 150 brothers and sisters, spent their remaining childhood days studying and working, with no parents to depend on.
Now, at 90 years old, they again live together, at VMCH Providence Retirement Village, Bacchus Marsh.
I lived at Lady Northcote Farm School until I was 16 years old. I remember the boat ride across, we celebrated Christmas on the ship. The day we arrived was the week of the Black Friday deadly bushfires. We didn’t know what we had arrived to.
We watched the pretty lights created by the fires at night from our cottages, and some of the older boys were even called upon to help fight the bushfires in the area.
I remember Eric was a great rabbit runner. He used to chase them down the fence and catch them. He was always very fast.
We always kept in touch over the years; we all did. He would often visit us on his way to Melbourne, when I was living at home and then when I moved in here in 2014.
Then he decided to come and live here too. Now we’re both part of the social club. We also go out and about and visit people that we know.
I like having family here, we’re brother and sister. He’s a good friend, he brings me the paper every Wednesday. We have made a lot of friends here, but together can reminisce about the old times, and it’s just nice to have someone here who knows what you’ve been through. Like family does.
I also know Eric’s daughters very well now, we’re like one big family.
(Lady Northcote’s) was not a very nice time. We would all have cold showers, and I remember in summer we would have to wash in the dam and then rinse off in a bath with a couple of inches of dirty water. But it taught you to be independent.
I went back home to England in 1950. I was there for eight years and then I migrated back, as a 10—pound pom with a wife and a daughter. I needed to have a job, and somewhere to live.
It’s good here. We organise games days, where we play bowls, cards and darts, which is always a bit of fun. I can’t play cards or darts anymore because I can’t see, but I can still play bowls!
It’s just nice to have a friend living down the road from me, especially because there’s not many of us ‘Lady Northcotians’ getting around anymore.
Mina is just a lovely lady! We are good friends; like brother and sister. We always kept in touch, saw each other are reunions, and now 5 years later I am here! The time has gone quick.