Suitcase Full Of Dreams

by Tony Bonnici & The Villawood Glee Club

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Suitcase Full of Dreams (Bonnici, Caswell, Miles, Thomas)

All sales are donated 50/50 to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation.

I got the idea for this song in 2014. That year marked a milestone for my family in that it was the 50th anniversary of our arrival in Australia from Malta.

It was May 1964. I was just a baby and I arrived with my parents and members of my extended family. Like many before us, we arrived by ship and disembarked in Melbourne where we made it our home. Since then the family has grown and expanded and here we are today.

I wanted to write a song to mark the occasion. So while I was scribbling down ideas, I began to see things in the media that disturbed me. The rise of nationalist xenophobia was rearing its ugly head again but this time, thanks to social media, it appeared to be there with a vengeance.
It disturbed me, it angered me but sadly it didn't surprise me. I'd seen this before; in the 50s and 60s, we were the "wogs and dagos".

We were accused of stealing peoples jobs, not assimilating, not wanting to speak the "lingo" and so on. The White Australia Policy officially ended only two years after we arrived and while it was no longer law, there were a lot of mindsets that weren't about to change in a hurry. If you were an olive skinned Southern European in those days, it was your turn to cop what the Chinese and the Irish copped before that, not to mention what indigenous Australians have endured and still do.

Fast forward to the 70's and 80's and the Vietnamese refugees and migrants from South East Asia were the next group to cop it, while we allowed asylum seekers arriving by boat into Australia without locking them away like we do now, the same rhetoric was there.

So here we are in 2015, 50 years after we arrived into this wonderful, tolerant, multicultural, country that is Australia and there are people who still don't get it. The latest wave of migrants and asylum seekers are now on the receiving end of exactly the same rhetoric.

Ironically, the vast majority of people living in Australia, have a family history that has a migrant story. A story of someone arriving with nothing, to set themselves and their families up for a better life. The story is the same no matter where we come from, what language we speak or who we pray too.

So I started writing this song and then enlisted the help of three mates of mine, Allan Caswell, Dave Miles and Les Thomas who's lyric and music ideas transformed it into a work I'm really proud of that reminds people that we're all here for the same reason...

I had a ball recording this song with Dave on guitars and vocal, Les on vocal, my son Daniel on vocal, Darren McCarthy on drums, Renee Bufton on fiddle and vocals and Corrin Strating on Tin Whistle and Flute..

I hope you like the song :)

Tony Bonnici


Suitcase Full of Dreams
Lyrics (Bonnici/Thomas/Caswell)
Music (Bonnici/Miles)

**Language Advisory**

They called us "Bloody Dagos"
They called us "Bloody Wogs"
They said that we were coming here
To take away their jobs
They said we'd never fit in
To their society
But if they knew their history they'd see the irony

The ships kept coming
From every foreign land
With nothing in our pockets
But our future in our hands
From the hostels to the factories
The Snowy Mountain Scheme
We kicked down the flood gates
And threw away the key

"Cos we're all different
As we are all the same
We tell familiar stories
While we call each other names
No matter where you come from
We have a common theme
That started out with nothing
But a Suitcase Full of Dreams

The boats kept coming
Sailing troubled seas
We call them boat people
But they're really refugees
We had a problem
With their legality
So why do we lock them up
And push them back to sea


Now I don't like what I'm seeing
I don't like what I hear
Gutless politicians with their bigotry and fear
Shock jocks, red necks
Take it to extreme
I wonder if it makes you proud
To be so fucking mean



released October 15, 2015
Suitcase Full of Dreams (Bonnici, Caswell, Miles, Thomas)

A huge thank you to Dave Miles, Les Thomas Allan Caswell for listening to my original song idea over the past year and suggesting I make changes, adding a few of their own and telling me not hold back and say what I really think....

Recorded in Melbourne and mixed down September 2015...
Produced by Tony Bonnici and Dave Miles
A Gnashville Rekkids Production

Tony Bonnici: Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin
Dave Miles: Vocals, Guitars
Les Thomas: Vocals
Dan Bonnici: Vocals
Renee Bufton: Violin, Vocals
Corinn Strating: Tin Whistle, Flute
Darren McCarthy: Drums



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Tony Bonnici & The Villawood Glee Club Melbourne, Australia

The Villawood Glee Club is the brainchild of Melbourne musician and songwriter Tony Bonnici. It was put together with a few friends to record Suitcase Full of Dreams but they had so much fun working together, there may be more projects to come...

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