21 / 2005
Breda Čebulj Sajko


The content of the contribution and reflection about the life path of Mariza Ličan, a teacher from Primorje (1942, Trnovo near Ilirska Bistrica – 2001, Sydney), immigrated to Australia in 1966, is interlaced with two stories: the story of Mariza Ličan, which is still in formation and being continually supplemented with new interviews and discussions with Mariza’s relatives and friends. This story reflects the ambitiousness of a young woman who marries an emigrant from the “neighbouring” village and leaves with him for to her unknown Australia. Her path in the Slovene community begins to ascend rapidly only a decade after her arrival in Australia when she again becomes what she had been at home: a teacher to children at Slovene clubs and societies and at a state secondary school. To this career, she adds a new one: in the middle of the seventies, she becomes a radio announcer in Slovene broadcasts in Sydney, and since then a dominant personality in the Slovene community. The married woman with no children takes over the function of transmitting of Slovene tradition not in the frame of the family but in the frame of the entire Slovene community. Precisely through her position we can follow the development, activity and decaying of the Slovene community in the state of New South Wales.

In the other story, which is a story about the development of different migration policies of the Australian government from the 18th century on, we can see how the ascent of Mariza Ličan coincided with the blossoming of multiculturalism in Australia, which strikes its roots in the extraordinary heterogeneous ethnic society in the seventies. Parallel with it, the interest of women immigrants in their equal, until then extremely neglected role in Australian “dominantly” male society increases. The contribution outlines and points out the principal observations on the status of women in Australian history and leaves contemporary comprehension of the issue to the continuation of the both stories in the future.