I find the recent controversy about dual citizenship which has disrupted the normal business of parliament in a country where we are all immigrants, even the aboriginal people (although they do have 50,000 years under their belts) ridiculous. I have felt it more keenly than most due to my personal involvement with my brother, John Alexander, having to resign from parliament because there is a distinct possibility that he may be a dual citizen, our father having arrived in Australia aged 4, 106 years ago.
You may be interested to read an excerpt from “A Spanish Love Affair”.
THE ALEXANDER FAMILY
When it comes to parents, my siblings and I won the lottery. Mum told me that when she and Dad decided to get married, the only thing they both really wanted was to have a happy family. Both had experienced difficult childhoods.
Dad’s side of the family had arrived in Australia in 1911. My grandfather, John Alexander had been transferred here with Burt, Boulton and Harward, London timber merchants. Florence May, my grandmother, had studied piano at the London Conservatorium of Music. Later she had worked as a secretary at Burt, Boulton and Harward’s London office, which is where the couple had met. They came to Australia with their three young sons, Jack 6, my father, Gilbert 4 and James 2 .
They were an ill-matched pair. Grandfather John was a dapper man who had his suits made in Saville Row and his shoes sent out from Italy. He managed to avoid the domestic scene as much as possible by taking extended overseas business trips to England and America. Florence, who no doubt found herself in a cultural wilderness in Sydney, was left to keep the home fires burning, for which from all accounts, she was totally unsuited and very unhappy. Her fourth child, Robert was born five months after they arrived in Australia. From then on , she spent most of her time in bed, I believe to avoid any further patter of little feet, until her husband died suddenly one afternoon, of a heart attack at the age of 44, after a game of golf. Dad and his brothers were mainly brought up by an English nanny they all loved dearly. Florence, who was one of ten children, must have been very lonely here in Australia. Although Grandfather John managed to flit back and forth to England on a regular basis, she only managed to go back much later when her youngest son, Robert, attended Harrow College.