1923 – Sails to San Francisco, California and settles in Los Angeles

After 13 years Down Under, and a mere two years following the substantial effort he had put into obtaining Australian citizenship (finalized June 13, 1921), Sam set sail from Sydney on the steamship Ventura bound for San Francisco, arriving there on September 18, 1923. Clearly he had made arrangements with the US Embassy in Sydney to be lawfully admitted at the US as an alien who was being permitted to be placed on a track towards naturalization. Sam used the surname Banarsky on this passport of July 25, 1923.

Note that Sam, who had spent his years in Australia working as a Carney, indicates on his passport that he is a farmer! Perhaps that is the area of activity he had decided to follow after he got settled in in America.








A commission charged with investigating naturalization practice and procedure reported in 1905 that there was little or no uniformity among the nation’s more than 5,000 naturalization courts. Congress responded with the Basic Naturalization Act of 1906, which framed the rules for naturalization. The 1906 law also proscribed standard naturalization forms, encouraged state and local courts to relinquish their naturalization jurisdiction to Federal courts, and expanded the Bureau of Immigration into the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.

To standardize naturalization procedures nationwide, the new Naturalization Service collected copies of every naturalization record issued by every naturalization court. To prevent fraud, Bureau officials checked immigration records to verify that each applicant for citizenship had been legally admitted into the United States. When the Department of Commerce and Labor divided into separate cabinet departments in 1913, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization divided into the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization. The two bureaus existed separately within the Department of Labor until 1933.

Sam Banarsky US Papers01.jpg

Sam’s Certificate of Arrival in San Francisco on September 18, 1923

We have no information why Sam left Australia for the United States of America. Did the thought of the floods which devastated Maitland every few years cause Sam consider an eventual move, or was it the oil boom in Los Angeles that wakened Sam to go in search of adventure once again? Or could it be that were there additional problems with his status as an Australian citizen due to the anti-Communist political forces gaining strength in Australia during this time?

In February 1923, white supremacist Stanley Bruce was appointed Prime Minister of Australia. Bruce exploited public fears about the spread of Communism in Australia at a time when Leon Trotsky, a Jew, stood at the pinnacle of the movement in Russia.  So, it is plausible that Sam was advised to leave Australia at this time, lest he be deported to Romania or Russia.

In America, Sam changed his name once more: born Shlomo Ruven Banarsky in Bessarabia, Sam had gone by both Samuel Barnhardt and Samuel Banarsky during his 13 years in Australia. Now he would revert to his grandfather’s surname, Bonar, that is, Bean Grower. By coincidence, the name Bonar flourished in Australia albeit in its Medieval French context meaning, Good Composure. The latter version was used both as a given name and as a surname. There is even a Bonar Road in Maitland, not far from Cultivation Road where Sam owned land.

Moving to Los Angeles, Sam worked in a variety of businesses. Egg dealer, clerk, and peddler of fruit & produce are three that are documented in official LA County records. There is no record of Sam being connected the carnival, circus, or county fair businesses in America as he had been during his 13 years in Australia.



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