I was born in 1950 in Molinara. I remember living with my nonni (grandparents) and I remember going to asilo (kindy). I remember that our family lived in one of the medieval towers that surrounds the old part of Molinara.
As a child I also remember the boat trip to Australia was long but fun. We came to Australia in 1956, I came with my mother and we disembarked in Melbourne. The big ships from Europe didn’t come to Adelaide in those days.
We were met in Melbourne by dad, whom I had never met. He departed Italy before my birth. He picked us in Melbourne with Cousin Joe Emanuele, and we drove to Adelaide. In the Chain migration scheme, we were sponsored by Zio Antonio Girolamo, the first Molinarese to come to Adelaide.
I went to school at Hectorville Primary School, it was difficult because I knew no English but there were many Italian students at my school. My secondary schooling was at Campbelltown High School and there were many Italian students there also.
I went to University and a did a course in Building & Construction. I was busy working in my father’s joinery factory and I did ‘building’ on the side for myself. I was close friends with Tony Addabbo in high school. Tony poked me one day in class to let me know there was a new girl in our class. It was Lesley, my wife. We met at school when we were 17 years old. The class was having a party in the Adelaide hills and I passed a note in class to see if Lesley wanted to come with me. She said yes, when I picked her up to go to the party Tony was with me and she admitted she was unsure who had asked her out. She was unsure if it was me or Tony
We dated for six years before we married. Both families were unhappy with our choice of partners. There was quite a bit of racism towards Italians in those days and Italians were suspicious of people that were not Italian. We were constantly reminded that the English and Italians didn’t like each other because they fought on different sides in the war. Eventually they gave up their protests and accepted the situation
My dad was POW in Germany during the war. They worked the Italians hard but when the Italians changed sides the Italian POWS were given hell by the Germans. They were treated very cruelly, and my father endured injuries he never recovered from them.
In 1974 I accepted the position of President of the Molinara Club, I believed in the concept and I wanted to help to bring the vision to fruition. Lesley was President of the Ladies Committee.
Lesley worked at Housing Trust SA then she returned to study and became a teacher. She was a primary school teacher for more than 20 years. We had three children Simon, Michael and Belinda. Belinda also became a teacher. I have also seven grandchildren Layne, Millie, Evie, Henry, Joseph, Violet and Ivy. With my wife we travelled extensively Hawaii, Alaska and England to visit Lesley’s family and Molinara of course. Going back to Molinara was great we were treated like VIPs and of course to be there in August for the San Rocco festival was really special. At this time of the year the town had many visitors and the paese was really alive.
My children have embraced the Italian culture which they love.