Beco Bilic, a Bosnian Muslim, originally came from Bosanska Grdaska, a town in north-west Bosnia and Herzegovina and he arrived in Australia in 1959.
Beco Bilic is a Bosnian Muslim from Bosanska Grdaska, a town in north-west Bosnia and Herzegovina. He arrived in Australia in 1959 on the ship Fairsea after a 30 day journey. He departed from Napoli travelling to Port Said then to Fremantle and finally Melbourne.
From Melbourne he went directly to the Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre in northern Victoria and then moved to Canberra where he stayed in a hostel. In Canberra he played soccer for a local club while working in building construction for eight months. When he moved to Melbourne his first job was in Carlton on building construction.
For most of his career Beco worked as a construction technician. He worked as a supervisor at a ceramic company AA Ceramics and later was appointed as a manager in one of the company's division. By gaining enough experience in the field, he established his own business, continuing to work in ceramics. When he retired he also worked as a teacher in the technology of materials and practical work as well as an instructor for exams at TAFE in Heidelberg for two years and at Holmesglen TAFE for one year.
He is a long standing member of the Bosnian Islamic Society in Noble Park. From the early days he was a member of Islamic communities in Carlton and Preston. When the Preston Mosque was being build, a multi-ethnic Building Committee of five members was elected including Dr Kazi (Pakistan), Dr Abidin Tarik (Indonesia), Imam Fehmi (Lebanon), Ibrahim Dellal (Cyprus) with Beco Bilic (Bosnia) who acted as construction technician. This Committee organised the building of the mosque, engaged labourers and Beco often supervised the construction.
In 1965 Beco married Ana, a Croatian woman from the town of Cakovec. They went to the old mosque in Adelaide built by the early Afghan cameleers, where Imam Ahmed Skaka, originally from Bosnia, performed the marriage ceremony. For many years Beco, with his wife and a group of Bosnians, sang traditional Bosnian songs in the Bosnian choir and participated in a numerous community and multicultural programs across Victoria.
As a retiree he is still engaged with the Bosnian Muslim community, also playing bowls with Australian-born friends in the bowls club in Noble Park and visiting his old Bosnian friends.
Based on Dzavid Haveric's interview with Beco Bilic, 2017