Ismet Goga, his wife Hajrija and young son Vahid are Albanians from Montenegro who migrated to Melbourne, Australia from Italy in 1970.
Ismet Goga, his wife Hajrija and an almost one year old son Vahid are Albanians from Montenegro. After residing in a small Italian town, Latina, near Rome, they travelled from Italy to Australia on the Italian ship 'Galileo'. After travelling along the western coast of Africa with a stop in South Africa, they headed to Fremantle Port then finally docked at Port Melbourne in 1970. The date of their arrival also happened to be their son's first birthday. It was a moving experience the day when they reached Australia. Ismet recalls: 'we dreamed about it and our dream was turned into reality'.
He continues: 'Leaving my family and homeland was very difficult and the thirty day voyage from Italy to Australia amplified these feelings. However, my wife and I were very excited when our ship finally docked in Port Melbourne and we were extremely happy to be greeted by the family friends from Ulqin (Montenegro).'
Settling in Melbourne with their new born family member the son, Vahid, they began to build their life in Australia. Ismet reflects: 'Having no knowledge of the new environment, nor the English language, posed some significant challenges, however I was determined to start my new life in Australia and through the help and support of the small Albanian community from my homeland, we were able to settle in quickly by way of finding a residence, as well as employment to support my family in Australia.'
Ismet soon met Albanian friends from his hometown in Montenegro who were already settled in Melbourne. They helped Ismet and his family to find an accommodation as well as employment. Ismet worked for the Smorgan company, a paper mill producing and recycling papers. He worked there for 20 years. Hajrija also worked for Kraft in the cheese production company. Their second son, Mirsad, was born in Melbourne. Ismet Hajrija and Vahid lived near Port Melbourne from 1970 to 1973.
After settling in Melbourne, the family would go on outings with friends to local parks and the Botanical Gardens. They attended their first Moomba parade in 1970 and also visited Melbourne Zoo. When there were Eid celebrations (Islamic festivals) or jenaza (burial service) the Goga family often travelled to Shepparton where the first mosque in Victoria was built and there they met an old Albanian Muslim community. Living in Melbourne they were attached to the Albanian Mosque in Carlton and the growing Albanian Muslim community in Melbourne.
Based on Dzavid Haveric's interview with Vahid Goga, 2017.