Oscar Comandari was five years old when his family fled war-torn El Salvador in the 1990s for a new life in Australia.
“It was just my mum, my three brothers and me,” he said. “We lost our dad to the civil war – he was a medic and he passed away.
“My mum lived through it all, and she would tell us stories about some of the things she’d been through and seen, and the family members that she’d lost.
“She was a teacher at the time, and the government were persecuting teachers, doctors, lawyers – anyone that could help the rebel cause – and so she applied to come to Australia as a political refugee.
“My mum said to the Australian government people that she wanted to get as far away from war as she could, so they sent us to Tasmania, and that’s where I grew up.
“I remember the aeroplane was a Qantas aeroplane and the stewardess gave us a little kids pack with a little colouring-in book of kangaroos with little pencils – and that’s the only thing I remember about the trip.
“We turned up with a suitcase with some clothes and we didn’t speak a word of English, and just within my lifetime, I’ve had opportunities that I could never dream of.
“People took us straight in, and we became Australians straight away. It was just fantastic, and I really love it here; Australia gave us a fantastic future.”