Svitlana Nastenko had one hour to pack up herself and her two children before they fled their home.
The family from Kyiv arrived in Fairy Meadow, Wollongong, in NSW's Illawarra region, to stay with her sister, Natalia, about a week and a half ago.
They had spent days hiding underground at the hospital in Kyiv after her son, Oleg, had his appendix out.
"The day he had his operation was the day the war started," she said.
"We spent three nights underground before the doctor allowed us to go home. There is bombing every day now.
"We went to my parents house in the country because it was too dangerous to go back to our home.
"I had to make the decision very quickly, I didn't have time to think about it.
"I just put everything I could remember into my bag and took my children on the train."
They had to travel to West Ukraine before they could get to Poland by bus, then fly to Natalia in Australia.
Svitlana said having her sister by her side made her feel much better.
Many of her friends are staying with strangers in Europe, but here her children can play with their cousins.
Her husband has remained in Kyiv, but they are able to speak most days, despite disrupted internet in Ukraine.
Svitlana and Natalia both worry for their parents, who remain in Ukraine, as well as Svitlana's husband, and their older sister's husband, who has also stayed behind.
Their older sister has left Ukraine, but remains in Europe.
"It is very dangerous to stay anywhere in Ukraine now," Natalia said.
"Every time I call my parents there is regular bombing over the house.
"Our older sister's husband called her on her birthday to say 'Happy Birthday'
"He also had to tell her their house was destroyed by bombs."
The city they are from, and where her husband remains, is currently under siege.
The Ukrainian church and members of the community have given Svitlana, 14-year-old Oleg and her daughter, Alissa, a warm welcome.
Svitlana is keen for her visa to be updated so she can begin to work, and become more independent, and Oleg can begin school in Australia.
Oleg is continuing his studies online, from 5pm to 11pm Australian time, because those are the school hours in Ukraine.
Lessons are regularly interrupted by bombing, when his teacher has to flee to a bomb shelter.
"Kids shouldn't see anything so terrible, kids shouldn't know this kind of struggle," Natalia said.
Oleg is studying on a tablet, as his laptop broke during their travels.
Anyone with a laptop that might be suitable is encouraged to contact the Ukrainian Church in Wollongong.
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