Pioneer Vera (105) recalls tough start

Vera Liepa (right) with a local politician.
Vera Liepa (right) with a local politician.

Her family and Belmont MLA Glenys Godfrey are eager to see pioneering families who helped establish the suburb recognised.

Daughter Rasma Rusling said her parents arrived in Australia from Latvia in 1949, originally at the migrant camp at Graylands before being moved to poor conditions in Cunderdin.

They returned to Perth where Mrs Liepa started working at the Rose and Crown Hotel in Guildford and the couple bought a lot of property in Redcliffe.

They built their first house on Central Avenue, and the home on Bulong Avenue where Vera still lives.

Belmont’s historical society has recorded Mrs Liepa’s story and Mrs Rusling said she hoped some of the new roads and parks will one day bear some of the names of Redcliffe’s pioneer families.

The City of Belmont allows for the recognition of surnames and the Belmont Museum’s Oral History Project aims to capture the stories of the City of Belmont’s pioneers.

Pioneers can nominate for the project by calling the museum curator on 9477 7451.

The city’s Public Art Advisory Panel has also listed the Redcliffe area as a potential location for a future public art piece to recognise early migrant families.

Mrs Rusling can recall sitting on the ground with her brother to chisel the mortar off second-hand bricks which her parents used to create their family’s two homes.

‘Mum was sitting there and said if she had her life over again she wouldn’t work that hard, she’d have more fun because life is just too short,’ Mrs Rusling said.

Her father was a cabinet-maker and her mother speaks seven languages.