Born in Poland, I spent the majority of my younger years living in a rural part of South-Eastern Poland. As the youngest of three sisters, growing up I got up to the usual mischief. Many of these stories are best left to the history books, and in the interest of protecting my sons and their thoughts of their mother, left unspoken.
Finishing school, I went on to study Beauty Therapy and worked as a therapist in Krakow, Poland for 5 years.
In 1981, my husband and I, along with our two boys, went on a ‘holiday’ to Austria. This was at the time of Martial Law in Poland and due to the civil unrest and uncertainty, my Husband and I decided to look for a safer environment to bring up our children. No-one, even family, could know of what our real intentions were. At the time, Austria was taking political refugees and we boarded the train and a few days later arrived in Austria. Our ‘holiday’ had started.
A few months passed in Austria whilst the visa process was finalised and then we boarded a plane to travel to Australia, not knowing which state or city we would land in. Not speaking the language, no certainty of a job and with little money, we really had no idea what to expect. But my husband had some friends and contacts who had already made the trip so we were both optimistic.
Arriving in Australia, we had two suitcases and two kids. What we brought with us was now the beginning of our next chapter. Commonwealth Bank gave us fifty cents to open a bank account with them on arrival to assist us in starting our life in Australia. My husband still has the bank account!
In the beginning, life in Australia was not easy. No home, no furniture and no known future. The support network slowly grew as fellow refugees rallied together to form communities and support each other. Our first ‘home’ was in Coogee, Sydney, followed by a number of short stays in North Ryde before we finally settled in Hornsby.
As a qualified Beauty Therapist, my first job was at Grace Bros in the cosmetic department, which was then bought out by Myer. I then went on to work at a number of Salons before opening my own Beauty Salon, initially working from home. We then opened a salon in the heart of Hornsby. After some 10 years running the salon, my passion, which has always been education, took control and I decided to sell the Salon and embark on the journey of opening up a Beauty Therapy College. In 1999, we opened to doors to our next venture. Like all things, it was a family affair. Like the Salon, the school was built with family and friends supporting us every step of the way.
After 15 years of running the college, I decided that it was time to let go and move on to the next chapter of my life. Last year, I enrolled into a Diploma of Counselling, and started volunteering at Lifeline. Now, as the Student Support Officer at LTSA, I combine my passion for education and my love for supporting and seeing students realise their potential. My goal is to enable students to follow their passion, and to aim for the sky. Because there simply aren’t any limits other than those we impose on ourselves!
So, thirty four years on, and our holiday continues…
Study with passion!
|Teresa as a Beauty Therapist in Paris, meeting Jacques Courtin-Clarins, founder of Clarins||Family Photo in Poland prior to emigrating to Australia. College Director, Maciek, is on Dad’s knee||Working at Grace Bros in the Mid 80’s. One of Teresa’s first jobs|
|Family Photo near Coogee. Shortly after arriving in Australia||
Teresa and her students at the Beauty Therapy College
|Ending one chapter to start the next. Saying goodbye to the College|