Salie Bardi was born in Shepparton. Her mother Sadet, an Albanian, was originally from Bitola a town in Macedonia and her father Hetem was from Porodine near Korce in Albania. Her father migrated to Australia in the 1930s and her mother in the 1950s.

Salie Bardi is of an Albanian cultural background and was born near Shepparton. Her mother Sadet, from Albania, was originally from Bitola a town in Macedonia. Her father Hetem was from Porodine near Korce in Albania. Her father migrated to Australia in the 1930s and her mother in the 1950s.

They lived in a house on their farm in east Shepparton sharing the house with Salie's uncle, while another uncle and his family lived next door. 'We basically lived as an extended family,' recalls Salie: 'My mum was a housewife. She made clothes and food for us she learned English from the newspapers, TV and radio. My father was a hardworking farmer. He grew tomatoes and put them into cases and sold to the Tom Piper Company. There was lots of green grass but sometimes dry seasons and floods. We pumped the water from the local river for irrigating father's farm of 156 acres. We had fruit trees - apples, peaches, apricots.'

Salie remembers a 'few bits and pieces' of her childhood. She never felt lonely. She liked to play with animals. Her parents on the farm also had sheep, cows and 2-3 working horses. There were lots of cats running and jumping on the farm. She states: 'I wasn't scared of animals - I caught spiders, butterflies, even a baby snake I kept in a jar which I found under our timber house - but my mum was so scared of this...I went to Shepparton School. My father always told me that "at home you speak Albanian while outside English" - it was like a rule'.

In 1981 Salie attended a six-month self-development course in Shepparton. It was part of a course called the 'Education Program for Unemployed Youth' (EPUY). This program included demonstrating making food from local farms to the urban people in Bourke Street Melbourne. The aim was for youth from regional Victoria to show city people what the youth of Shepparton can do for the community. Soon this program was broadcast on TV news. Shortly after, Salie received an offer to work at the 'Shepparton News', a local newspaper.

Working there as the assistant of a proof-reader, she was asked by a colleague to read an article about the arrival of migrants in Shepparton in which it reported that an Imam, Eljam Bardi, was coming to work at the Shepparton mosque. This colleague encouraged her to meet the Imam. But, Salie told him, 'I am not so religious and it seemed for me almost funny to meet him'. However, life is sometime full of surprises, said Salie: 'After only seven days, I got married to that imam. We have three children - I became a wife and mum - all in one'.

Salie worked for 20 years as an Albanian interpreter for the Albanian community. Then, she continued to work in primary and secondary schools, including the Catholic Secondary School in Shepparton. Salie also enjoys her hobbies: craft, cooking and watching movies.

Based on Dzavid Haveric's interview with Salie Bardi 2018.

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