Childhood memories of Molinara

Born in 1947 my first recollection relates to my experience being chased by a young ram, whilst looking after our small flock of sheep. My only escape, as I could not outrun it, was to climb the nearest tree and wait until my mother arrived to retrieve me. I must have been five years of age.

At some stage in the early fifties the municipality was abuzz with construction activity of some kind or other. I remember watching the hand operated dump bucket that was pushed on a railway line and when it came to the end of the line the bucket would tip its contents over the embankment below. My father had been lucky enough to be employed on this project and it was the first time he had actually received a wage.

I can recall my father coming home from work one day and bringing home a few small packets of something that looked like creamy cheese. This delicacy made my mouth salivate until I realised it was in fact individual serves of butter.

Another experience is one that I have regretted all my life. We lived in a two-storey stone house in the outer part of the main town proper. The house was situated in a small square surrounded by other homes. In the middle of the square stood a rather large straw stack, which must have belonged to another family to use as kindling to light their fire. One day (aged four) when playing with my cousin who was six months older, I found a box of matches in my mother’s upstairs bedroom hidden under her pillow. She would use these matches to light her candles as there was no electricity at the time.

My cousin and I decided to light this straw stack. We were both hugely excitedly as we watched the flames leap high into the sky. I do not recall being ostracised or receiving corporal punishment. I knew that my parents were not happy. I was fortunate that my cousin was older and sustained all the blame. As I grew older my mother would remind me that it took a lot of town people to put out the fire by filling up buckets from the nearby well and dousing the flames.

The owner wanted retribution and fortunately my grandmother had sufficient straw of her own and agreed to compensate the aggrieved owner. It took a number of days and many trips to return the straw. The only mode of transport was two donkeys.

Another memory is seeing the first push bike in our square and wondering how rich the owner must have been to own such a new contraption. The push bike was to play another part of my life when at Campbelltown in Adelaide, having only recently arrived, I would teach my mother how to ride a bike, so she could travel to work.

I was perhaps five and our family had built a small farmhouse a few kilometres from the town. The house had been built of stone and adjacent to it was a chicken coop and the roof consisted of rafters and terracotta tiles. Being partial to good protein I would collect an egg and make a small hole in it and suck the egg. I would then break the shell and place it in the roof between the rafters and the tiles. My mother could not for the life of her work out how the eggshells could be placed by a culprit hungry snake.

I eventually confessed, but I can not recall the punishment.

I need to mention another misdemeanour. At about the same time, we had a wooden cupboard in the kitchen and the front door was covered with small wire netting to keep the flies out. In it, was stored a number of food items including a homemade block of cheese which was placed there for maturing.

I would on a regular basis open the door and take a few morsels of cheese. I would pinch small pieces off with my fingers and enjoy the delicacy. My parents spent weeks trying to work out how the mouse got in, to eat the cheese. I have continued to love cheese all my life.

Journey to Australia

I can still recall my first trip in a car when my dad wanted to emigrate to Australia in 1954.

At the time it was a requirement that a medical examination be undertaken by all the family members. This was carried out in Naples. As we travelled at high speed, I can recall how the fence posts were flashing by in the opposite direction to that which we were travelling.

My father left for Australia in 1954 and my mother, my sister and I followed eighteen months later.

We set sail on 4 January 1956 on the Flotta Lauro owned passenger ship the “Surriento”. I was eight and a half years old at the time and had not seen the sea before. It was a scary experience.  I can vividly recall travelling through the Suez Canal and being in awe of the unfamiliar scenery and people on the bank waving as we sailed by. This ship had been built in 1928 and had gone a number of refurbishments over this time. It departed from Genoa on 22 May 1949 on its first voyage to Fremantle, Western Australia. On the 30th of August 1956 it made its final voyage to Australia. The ship was decommissioned in 1966.

The thirty-day long journey on the “Surriento” was for me a very bad experience, being seasick for most of the time. The voyage was long, and the food was getting worse as the trip progressed. After the third week all I could put down was afternoon tea with dry biscuits. The daily pasta dishes were disgustingly foul, and I could no longer stand the taste. The ship was noisy and screeched all the time. We were aware that it was under terrible stress.

When the ship docked in Fremantle the temperature in the shade was 40 degrees Celsius. I was that keen for my feet to touch terra firma that I could handle the heat. The surrounding was harsh and dry with little greenery. The ship continued its journey to Port Melbourne where we disembarked on 2 February 1956. We then travelled by train to Adelaide.  At my age everything was new and interesting. I have never regretted coming to Australia and the opportunities it has provided have been significant. My dad would say that making the decision to emigrate to Australia was not easy, but he knew that staying in Molinara would be difficult for him and the family and he had to look for a better life. He was so courageous.

Growing up in Adelaide

I can vividly recall my mother sending me off to the nearest school, about two kilometres from our first rented house in Newton. No drop offs in those days!. My first day at Campbelltown primary school with not one word of English, was a memorable however frightening experience. My home-made lunch consisted of salami and roasted capsicum sandwiches, wrapped in a kitchen cloth which I carried as a swag. No plastic lunch boxes known at the time.  The other students were very inquisitive as to what I had in my swag. The smell coming from the capsicum must not have been encountered before.

I was fortunate that there were a number of other Italian boys at the school, and we soon became friends. They helped me significantly in the assimilation process and taught me how to deal with the racial comments being directed at us. We took it in our stride and the expression “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” was our defence, however, when riled up my response would be to call the Australian boys “kangaroos without a tail”.

In the early years, my family found it difficult to grasp the English language but were fortunate that there was an Italian grocer nearby. In addition, the daily bread deliveries to our front door by an Italian baker was a welcome event, as was the monthly visit by the oil man. Everyone was paid in cash.

It soon became evident that I would become the translator, and I would be expected to accompany my mother for her monthly shopping trip to the city department stores. John Martin’s was the preferred store at the time. My task was to ask the shop assistant for discount! If this request was declined, I would request that the assistant check with the manager. This strategy worked in most cases. I have used this approach all my life. As some wise man taught me, if you were purchasing a significant item, you were entitled to 10% discount. I still practice this today.

Generally, the family assimilated fairly well and had good Australian neighbours. However, for many years the need to remain close with other Molinarese friends was very important. This was made easy by the monthly invitations to weddings and baptisms.

My parents made the right decision to come to Australia because they believed the new country would provide greater opportunities for the entire family. No longer relying on the prevailing bad agricultural conditions in Molinara, was the best reward for them. They expected their children to have a better life than they had. Gaining my university qualifications was a proud moment for them and me.

When my own family and I returned to Molinara in 1988, it felt to me that I was right at home. My aunties welcomed me as a long-lost child. We visited my birth house which still exists (photo attached) and the external stairs reminded me when just a few days before we were due to depart for Australia, my mother fell down these same stairs and during the whole of the trip she had to carry her left arm in a sling.

I again visited my favourite pear tree that I remembered as a child, climbed a ladder and managed to pick a few of the tiny pears. I felt as if I had never left all that time ago in January 1956. However, I had no desire to stay and live there. We were on holidays and knew that we must return to Adelaide.

In my work and business life I have not experienced any adverse treatment due to my Italian heritage. I have been very fortunate indeed.

Becoming a member of the Molinara Club from its early years reminds me of one significant event. I was working in the Franklin Street office of Southern Farmers in 1973 when I took a phone call from Cosimo (Jim) Cirocco. He wanted me to attend an auction at Windsor Gardens that same afternoon. The auction was for the current clubrooms which at the time consisted of an old church, which was being sold as surplus to their requirements.

Jim was successful with his bidding and the hammer fell at $44,100, a considerable amount knowing that the Club had limited funds. Two categories of Club membership were quickly established: Foundation and Life members. These new memberships raised sufficient funds, together with bank finance, to allow settlement of the property to take place. I became a Life Member at this time.

During my time at the Club, I recall the many dinner dances the Club held at the Saint Clair Youth Centre, catering for in excess of 1,000 people. The Club was innovative and saw a demand for this type of get together which many other clubs were not able to provide.  In February 1974 we managed to secure the popular Italian singer Paolo Mengoli to put on a show at our dinner dance. He was a great success.

The attached photo taken on the night with Paolo Mengoli and his adoring fans.

The second photo depicts some of our invited guests the Hon Ian Wilson (Federal Member for Sturt and Mrs Wilson, the Honourable Italian Consul and his wife and myself and my fiancée Margaret Beltrame. We married in November 1975.


Nicola Cirocco AOM JP

Date of Birth : 29 April 1941
Date of Migration: 16 April 1957
Married to : Maria Seneca

I was born in 1941 in Molinara, Italy during WW2.

Education was encouraged by my parents, and I went to school on 6 days, from 8am to 12 noon. Afterwards, I would look after flocks of sheep, goats and a donkey on the hills my family owned.

I remember the journey to Australia being an eye opener, spending 31 days on the boat ‘Australia.’ On the way to Australia we visited the African continent.

My only expectations coming to Australia as a 15-year-old was of getting a better education and being able to build a better life for myself and future family.

After coming to Australia, my priority was to learn English. This proved to be a challenge, as everyone around me at the time was Italian and did not speak the language themselves.

I was always looking for opportunities to build a better life, in becoming an Australian citizen when I could, and searching for better job prospects. I took a job at the railways, as this was secure work as a public servant.

I learnt English by taking a three-month language course at Tailem Bend, in the south-east of South Australia. This proved to be helpful, as it allowed me to engage with a greater number of English speakers on a more regular basis.

After taking the course at Tailem Bend, I returned to Adelaide and shortly afterwards married Maria. Around this time, I also took a course at The University of Adelaide to obtain my intermediate certificate, which is the equivalent of three years of secondary schooling today. I knew this would help me transition into an office role at the railways, which was something I aspired to do. As luck would have it, I was able to move into an office role and spent 25 years working there doing various roles.

I first joined the Molinara club in 1972, as a way to engage with others in the Molinarese community. I quickly found it to be a good opportunity to socialise and play sports with others in the community.

I became more involved with the club as a committee member. During this time, we created subcommittees that would oversee the social and sporting aspects of the club and thus offer opportunities for the members. We also embarked on a variety of upgrades to the clubrooms, including the kitchen and main hall that still exist today. Additionally, in those days the club would frequently hold dinner dances. Some of my personal favourites were held at the St Clair recreation hall, where over 1,000 people would attend.

I was proud to be part of the bocce committee, which not only introduced the game to the club, but also built a new bocce stadium alongside the clubrooms.

The club also joined the South Australian Bocce Federation, which consisted of many other clubs from across the state. During this time, I arranged many competitions with other clubs as the game became very popular. This also led me to join the South Australian Bocce Federation, where I proudly became the secretary and later the President for a number of years.

It was a good outcome for the Molinara Club, as many club members also took part in the bocce competitions.

My involvement with SA Bocce Federation also allowed me the opportunity to travel around Australia and see much more of the country. I was also put in charge of the Australian Junior team, a privilege that allowed me to travel to Europe to take part in world championships for several years.

I was surprised and honoured, in June 1995, I was awarded the Honour of the Order of Australia medal for the promotion of the sport of bocce and services to the Italian-Australian community. Furthermore, in June of 1996 I was equally surprised and honoured to be presented with the Australian Sports medal for my services to the sport of bocce.

Another accomplishment I am very proud of is being appointed as a Justice of the Peace for South Australia in 1981.

Even after moving to Australia, I have faced other challenges throughout my life. Fortunately, I have been able to face these challenges alongside my wife of 56 years, Maria, and our two children, Christine and Rocco-John.

I am also proud that the fashion business we started in 1974 with my wife, is still going strong today.

Life is always full of challenges and opportunities. It’s up to every individual to learn how to make it a success.

BALDINO, Joseph Marcus

Cavaliere Joseph Marcus Baldino LLB JP

I was born in May 1947 in Molinara, a small town (population Circa 2000 ) east of Naples in the Campania region of Italy.

I am the third of 6 siblings. In 1954 my mother and 5 children journeyed to Australia and joined my father in Australia who had migrated 2 years earlier.

We settled in Adelaide where I have lived ever since.
I attended Magill and Hectorville Primary Schools and then Campbelltown High. In 1966 I commenced a Law Degree at The University of Adelaide.

After completing the Batchelor of Law Degree in 1970, I worked as an Articled Clerk. My principal was Robert Floriani of Floriani & Fuller.

I was admitted as a Practitioner of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1971 and worked in private practice at Scammel Skipper and Hollidge until 1985 when I was appointed to the bench as a Magistrate. I was the first Italian born Magistrate in South Australia.

As a magistrate, I sat in both the Civil and Criminal jurisdictions and in all regional and country courts in the State. I also presided as a Warden.

In June 2008 I was honoured by the President of Italy with an Italian Knighthood (Cavaliere) in recognition of my many years of service to the Italo-Australian community.
In May 2012 I retired from the magistracy on my 65th birthday (then the compulsory retirement age)

I now volunteer as a Justice of the Peace in several Council areas.

I have been married to Maria – who is also a law graduate from Adelaide University – for over 50 years. We have two children.


2000 and beyond

During the following 20+ years from 2000 until 2021 the club has continued to celebrate the functions that are traditionally celebrated such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day dinners, Easter Monday picnic, Senior’s day luncheons and Christmas carnivals mainly catering for the children.

The committees of Directors and Convenors had a rotating number of members with a few giving long time service to the club, these members would eventually be made honorary members of the Club due to their years of service. There was some attempt at inviting the second and third generations to take part in the running of the club, this had a limited success. This lack of involvement from the younger members was partly due to demands of family and work.

Involvement in Carnevale continued with participation in parades and running a stall selling cavatelli and pizza. By 2017 the traditional ‘Carnevale’ had run its course, a two-day festa run by volunteers of all the Italian Community clubs and coordinated by CIC, the Coordinating Italian Committee. The volunteers had either passed away or were too elderly to participate so a new format was put in place. The Molinara Club would participate in the Italian Festival of 2021, by hosting a Molinarese Night showcasing their food in a special dinner.


Establishing a Moli Beyond 2000 Group which was to look at the future of the club and if it could attract the second and third generation of Australian born children of Molinaresi. Future vision and activities were discussed. MSSC Soccer commenced playing at the Marden Sports Complex (Azzurri) for season 2001. The Cultural Committee organised a function for members turning 60 years old, throughout the decade.


Time Capsule was opened. Research continued on the Molinara Book.

Successful soccer season and the MSSC team was promoted to second division.

2002 & 2003

Function to celebrate members that were in Australia for more than 50 years.

Pellegrino Cirocco received Honorary life membership for his dedication to the club.

The Molinara Book is still in process with Commendatore Rocco Cirocco translating it into Italian.

Another successful year for the MSSC Soccer teams. The alliance with Azzurri Sports club and the move to Marden Sports complex has been a great move for the Club


Club celebrated 25th Anniversary of MSSC soccer.

There were no Bocce Competitions held at the club this year. Lucio Caporaso was a representative in the Australian Bocce Championships


Mayor of Molinara, Dott.essa Maria Cirocco, Deputy Mayor Giovanni Spagnoletti and La Banda Musicale ‘Citta di Molinara” and their entourage visited the club for a luncheon. The band was in Adelaide to play at the San Rocco Festival. All members of the group were hosted by family & friends in Adelaide.

President John Girolamo met with ‘Next generation’ group to see which direction the club should take in the future. The club celebrated two members who celebrated their 100th birthdays that same year Francesco Cirocco & Incoronata Callisto,

‘Anziani’ Group continues to meet every second Tuesday for group activities and a meal together. Club Soccer continues to be strong and two Bocce tournaments were played.


Cultural Committee organised a celebration for the Molinaresi who migrated to Australia 50 years ago. Molinara Club & San Rocco was involved in a cultural exhibition at the Migration museum on Italian Migration.

2007 & 8

Research is continuing on the Molinarese Migration Book, the club has enlisted the support of Flinders University and Commendatore Rocco Cirocco from Italy. Club facilities were upgraded again. Club looking at ways to attract younger generation. A successful bus trip to Port Lincoln was organised. Image Bank was completed which contains photos, documents, about Molinara, Molinaresi POWs, Molinarese migration & settlement and key events in Australian History such as the San Rocco Festival & Italian festival. This DVD was put together with the support of the History Trust of SA & Migration Museum.


Angelo Caruso was asked to stage another one of his plays and it was a huge success. Celebration was held for Magistrate Joseph Baldino on receiving the Cavaliere Medal. The Molinara Club co-hosted the Australian Bocce Championships together with the Campania Club. Another attempt was made by Matthew Baldino joining the Management Committee and creating the FMC, Future of Molinara Committee, in an attempt to attract the second and third generations to the Club. The FMC aims to create a hub for younger members of the club. The book on Molinaresi in Adelaide is due for completion in 2009. Celebrations were held for the 30th Anniversary of the MSSC Blue Eagles, a gala function was held at the MSSC clubrooms.


Finally, in 2010 the book on Molinarese migration was completed and a launch organised in the same year. The book has 450 pages, eight chapters, and 400 photos. Regione Campania provided financial support.


The Bocce stadium which existed for 35 years, but since the sport is in decline the courts have been replaced with two courts of artificial lawn. The renovation of the bocce stadium allows for a variety of other sports to be played such as lawn bowls, lawn bocce and other indoor sports. New constitution formulated. The club celebrated its 40th anniversary with a celebration ball and a family day. By 2012 the only sport played under the club banner is soccer.

2014, 2015 & 2016

Functions have continued to be held at the club with diminishing participation. There were fundraisers held, for the Earthquake Appeal, the Migration Museum and another for men’s health, there was also a Friday night dinner dedicated to honouring our Patron Saint, San Rocco. Several Members of Parliament, Politicians and Members of Council have visited the club. On the second and fourth Tuesday of the month we have an ‘Anziani’ lunch continues to be held. On Wednesday nights beginners dance lessons commenced, which were well supported.


The Club was successful in receiving a $95,000 grant from the State Government which will be used to upgrade the car park, fencing and retaining walls around the Club.


The Club received a few Government grants from the Federal and State Governments for various projects.  This enabled the Club to install Defibrillators and new First Aid Kits, new signage and security lighting at the club.


Functions were held under Covid restrictions.

It is hoped that in 2022 we will be able to celebrate the Molinara Club’s 50th Anniversary, belated due to Covit. A gathering with food and formal speeches will be held. A Photo Exhibition has been compiled that celebrates 50 years of the Molinara Club through photos. A website will be launched for the Club as a place of legacy. It will be an online website where migrant stories and photos will be stored, migrant history and current events.

Historical Context

Few countries embodied the UN’s cosmopolitan ethos (the belief that all people are entitled to equal respect and consideration, no matter what their citizenship status or other affiliations happen to be.)  of the 1990s more than did Australia. From the early 1970s onward, the Australian political elite were persuaded that Australian society should be identified as multicultural.

Together with over 100 other immigrant groups of varied ethnic and cultural background, Italian Australians have helped to change Australia’s culture and national identity. This was never envisaged by the architects of the post-war immigration program. Policies were designed to bring about social and cultural assimilation, so that immigrants would become indistinguishable from Anglo-Australians. As for the second generation, census figures show that children of Italian born people had much higher levels of educational attainment than their parents. There were clear signs of upward mobility. Many children of manual workers have moved into white-collar employment, with some reaching managerial, executive or professional status.

Molinara Club and the future

The Molinara Club at its 50th Anniversary finds itself at a crossroads. The original reasons or needs for establishing a Cultural Club no longer exist. This might be viewed with some sadness, but the silver lining is that Italo -Australians have thoroughly assimilated. Italians and children and grandchildren of Molinaresi can be found in every profession in Australia from medicine, education, legal, business, politics, the trades and many owning successful businesses. They are totally immersed in every area of Australian life. Quite possibly the way forward for the Club is to adopt a business model as other Italian clubs have done in Australia, but this decision will be left to the younger generations. Whatever way forward may we always find a way to remember the sacrifices that our parents and grandparents made to leave their homeland and come to Australia, a foreign land in search of a better life. Coming to Australia in search of a better life for themselves and their children, well Australia certainly delivered. Italians in Australia have a high socio-economic standing, but Italians also contributed to creating the Australia of today.  


1999-2016 John Girolamo

2017 –        John Baldino


During the 1990s the Club was at its peak in attracting member participation, first and second generation. It was in the 1990s that a Consultative Committee was formed to address the changing needs of the Club with a report presented to recommend changes. Thus, the Club would have a new structure, a new image and new direction. The Club would have a board of Directors and seven Convenors each responsible for one area of the Club’s activities. The seven Convenors would cover areas of Club Bar, Social, Sports, Senior members, Youth, Women and Assets & Property. Symbolically, the colours of the Club were also changed to Blue and Gold so they would be in sync with the traditional colours of Molinara, in Italy. By 1992 all sports teams were wearing the new colours. The Club’s new constitution was registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission. The aim was to revitalise the Club.

The Club continued to run functions such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Dances, Christmas Carnival, Bus Tours, Country & Western Night, Fashion Parades, Quiz nights, Beatles Night, Wine & Cheese Tasting night, Sports Presentation Evenings, Easter picnics often hosted by Donolga Winery and special food evenings that were tied to traditional Molinarese foods such as Cavatelli, Spighe & Castagne. The Club continued to be involved in the Italian Festival ‘Carnevale’. In 1997 the Club participated in Italian Festival Carnevale parade through the streets of Adelaide. Members and their families dressed in traditional costumes and floats were constructed; the Club was awarded the Fulvio Pagani Prize for the best float.

In 1992 the club celebrated its 20th Anniversary, the celebrations were a true celebration of what the club had achieved with Past Presidents and Life Governors in attendance. In 1993 the Club underwent refurbishment and the Molinara Club managed to pay off their loan, so it was now fully owned by its members. In 1997 policies were written for the running of the Club so that a strong vision would be created for the future, this would form the foundation for the Club beyond 2000. In 1997 the Club also celebrated its 25th Anniversary at a function held at the Club. The function was well attended with dignitaries such as Mr Mike Rann – Leader of the Opposition, Mr John Cummins – State Member for Norwood, Ms Johanna McLuskey – Mayor for Pt Adelaide & Enfield, Mr Michael Atkinson – Shadow Minister for Ethnic Affairs and Ms Vinnie Ciccarello – Mayor for Kensington & Norwood.

The Sports Programme continued to be a big part of the Club in the 1990s, participants were members and friends. Bocce had many participants and they competed for seven cups during the year and members also took part in State Competitions. Molinara Club also fielded a number of sporting teams in netball, soccer, volleyball and ten pin bowling. In 1990 the Club also held the ‘inaugural’ MSSC Spring Golf classic, it was held at Highercombe Golf Course and 25 players participated.  

The newly formed Youth group assisted with club functions. They also organised social activities and fund-raising activities such as a car wash.

The Women’s group were active in organising activities for the female members of the Club and Tuesday nights were dedicated to Aerobics classes held at the Club. Christmas Carnivals continued to be held with activities for children and carols by candlelight sung in English and Italian and the visit by special guest Father Christmas.

The ‘Anziani’ members group continued to have lunch every second Tuesday, enjoying food and social activities. During 1990 the group had two visits from Commendatore Cirocco and his wife, and a visit from Premier Bannon. During the Grand Prix a group of senior members were invited to attend the race as invited guests of Giuseppe Emanuele and this was a real treat. The ‘Anziani’ group often hosted guests that were Molinaresi visiting Adelaide from Canada, Argentina, Switzerland and Molinara.

The Cultural group made plans for a photo & documents exhibition of Molinara and the Molinaresi. This would be displayed during the 1992 Italian Festival and in the clubrooms. A book was planned to document the Immigration of Molinaresi to Australia, the research continued during the ‘90s. In 1993 the exhibition came to fruition and it was titled Molinara” An Italian Village in Adelaide “and it was officially opened by the Honorary Lynn Arnold, Premier of South Australia. In 1999, the Cultural Committee organised a function to honour the ‘Classe ‘38’ for those that turned 60 in 1998. Molinara Communal Archives show that in 1938 there were 86 births, of these 21 migrated to Australia.

During 1990, the former Mayor of Molinara, Commendatore Rocco Cirocco and his wife Immacolata Cirocco visited Adelaide and the Club. Rocco Cirocco served in his position as Mayor for 29 years, from 1952 – 1980, he steered the village through the post war years, the 1960s earthquake and the rebuilding of the village. Commendatore is a title for a civilian awarded as an honour by the President of the Republic of Italy in recognition of his service. Commendatore Cirocco is one of the most respected and honoured ‘paesani’ of Molinara. The luncheon on his behalf was well attended and Commendatore Cirocco delivered a truly emotional speech reducing many members to tears. He acknowledged the sacrifice of the migrants in leaving their homeland and the huge success they had achieved in Australia, socially and economically. Since he had signed passports for many of the migrants that came to Adelaide, he was curious to see what had become of them. He was overwhelmed with their hospitality and the socio-economic position he found them in. In the same year the ‘Anziani’ luncheon was attended by a delegation of South Australian politicians who travelled to Naples to sign the ‘Gemellagio Agreement’ between South Australia and the Campania region in Italy. The delegation was able to visit Molinara and John Bannon, Premier of South Australia was part of the delegation. Premier Bannon attended the luncheon and he gave a great speech on the good time and food he had in Molinara in the company of our Life Governor Joe Emanuele.

The club consisted of 343 members, made up of two Life Governors, 199 Life members and 132 Ordinary members, this was an increase in membership. By 1997 the number of ordinary members started to diminish, and this was a concern regarding the future of the Club. Efforts would be made to attract more active members, especially in the 30 – 40 age group.

Historical Context

In the 1970s and beyond, as what Italian-Australian journalist Pino Bosi called the “ethnic era” dawned, Italian immigrants became the “exemplar minority community.” As Australians embraced the policy of multiculturalism, there was a re-valuing of ethnicity. Cultural difference, once a problem to be erased, was now a feature to be celebrated. Italians became arguably the most lauded group in the new multicultural Australia, their culture the most feted. Italian food, which had already benefited from the romantic and glamorous associations that the idea of Italy held in Australia, further increased in status. It came to signify not only glorious and glamorous Italy, but the sustenance of a people who had, for want of a better word, become fashionable in Australia for the first time. Italian ethnicity was no longer a liability for Italian migrants: it could now be used to their advantage. In the 1970s and beyond, as Australia re-positioned itself as a multicultural and cosmopolitan society, the Italian migrant became not just an acceptable migrant, but an exemplary one.


1990 Donato Cirocco

1991-1993 Cosimo Cirocco

1994 – 1996 Nicola Cirocco (OAM, JP)

1997-1998 Bill Cirocco

1999- John Girolamo


During the 1980s the Molinara Club continued to expand and thrive. The members were invested in the club, events were well attended, and it also attracted the first generation through sport and social functions.   

Social activities that were organised included Dances at St Clair stadium, Masquerade Ball, Easter Monday Picnics, Christmas Carnival, Bingo/Cavatelli evening, Sports Presentation evenings, Mother’s Day Dance, Molinarese & Briscola Competition. Productions took place with members displaying their acting abilities and directed by Angelo Caruso.

Through the association with Italian Consulate and Centro Didattico, the club provided its facilities to conduct Italian classes.

Photo Gallery: 1980s

Club premises continued to be renovated and extended and club flag & logo were developed

The Youth Group continued to thrive with discos held, dinners and collecting for the Red Cross.

Ladies committee were active in organising Fashion parades, Melbourne Cup luncheon, groups outings to see live theatre and Keep fit classes at the club.

Gatherings were established for the elderly members with lunch served every second Tuesday and an afternoon of games such as cards, bocce or bingo.

Participation in Sporting clubs became so popular that there were sub committees established for bocce, soccer, netball. Bocce attracted many participants, a number of internal competitions were held such as The Molinara Cup, The Findon Cup and the San Rocco Cup. Bocce competitions were played against other Italian clubs and Lucio Caporaso represented the Molinara Club at the Australian Championships in Brisbane. The Molinara Club was a founding member with four other clubs to form the SA Bocce Federation. In 1981 a Ladies Bocce Team was started.

Netball started with three teams playing and they joined the Eastern Districts Netball Association, with one team winning the Grand Final. By 1982 – 83 the Molinara Club fielded five senior teams and eight junior teams. The netball teams also took part in a number of sporting carnivals. During the 80s two soccer teams were fielded in the South Australian Amateur League and in 1983 both teams were promoted to the first division. In 1984 the club also fielded a junior soccer team. The club also had members involved in tennis, billiards, volleyball, ten pin bowling and basketball. Adelaide Pest Control was a sponsor of the club’s sporting programme.

Molinara Club continued to participate in the Italian festival ‘Carnevale’ by running a stall selling cavatelli and pizza.

The Molinara Club had a very high standing in the community and in 1982 Mr Murray Hill, the Minister for Ethnic Affairs visited Molinara on an overseas trip. In 1989 the club was visited by the Mayor of Benevento and the Mayor of Molinara, Pasquale Santoro and his wife. In 1985 four clubs within the Campania Region, Molinara, San Giorgio, Campania & Alta Villa, formed the Committee of Region Campania. The objective of this group was to organize student exchanges to the region of Campania, in Italy.

Historical Context

The nation’s approach to new migrants since the 1970s had been one of ‘multiculturalism’ and this continued to unfold in the 1980s. This meant that Australian society embraced various cultural groups, with their distinct languages, religions and traditions and granted them equal status. Multiculturalism challenged traditional ideas about what it meant to be an Australian. Most people found that migrants enriched the Australian experience, enabling people to share cultural traditions like music, food and religion. Racial tolerance improved in Australia throughout the decade.

Interest in foods from other cultures increased in the 1980s and more people began eating out at restaurants. Italian food in particular became very popular.

In the 1980s, multicultural radio stations were operating in many states and territories. SBS television began broadcasting as Channel 0/28. The Special Broadcasting Service is an Australian public service broadcaster. About 80 percent of funding for the company is derived from the Australian Government.

In 1987, the Office of Multicultural Affairs was established and two years later, the National Agenda for a Multicultural Society was released.


1980 Don Callisto

1981 Nick Cirocco

1982 Nick Cirocco 

1983 Nick Cirocco 

1984 Cosimo Cirocco

1985 Don Callisto  

1986 Don Callisto

1987 Mario Spagnoletti

1988 Mario Spagnoletti  

1989 Don Cirocco

MSSC Youth Group

Vintage Fashion Parade

I Mesi Play


In the 1970s a group of migrants from Molinara decided to form an association that would provide a place where their families could meet and socialise. A place where traditions and customs could be celebrated and passed onto their children. A group of young men set about to bring this idea to fruition.

23rd March 1971, 13 members elected an executive committee.

President – Joseph Marcus Baldino
Vice President – Cosimo Caruso
Secretary – Nicola Longo
Vice Secretary – Joe Emanuele
Treasurer- Tony Addabbo
Vice Treasurer – Giuseppe Menechella

Photo Gallery: 1970s

Molinara Social and Sports Club Incorporated was the name of the club that was chosen.

Cosimo Cirocco and Cosimo Greco went to auction and a property was purchased in 1973 at 57 Lyons Rd Windsor Gardens, after various properties were considered. Don Dunstan offered the Molinarese community a free parcel of land at Pooraka but they felt they wanted something closer to the city. After considerable work on the premises the club was officially opened by the Premier of South Australia, the Honourable Don Dunstan.

During the 1970s the club facilities were upgraded to include a hall, meeting room, children’s games room, kitchen, bar, bocce & tennis courts and car parking. The club was opened Tuesday & Friday nights and Sunday afternoon, available to members to play cards, bocce, billiards or simply socialise.

In 1972 the Ladies Committee was formed this included Teresa Addabbo, Angela Baldino, Maria Baldino (President), Carmela Callisto, Lucy Callisto, Maria Cirocco, Lesley Daysh (Secretary), Carmela Galluccio, Donata Galluccio, Grace Longo (Treasurer), Betty Seneca, Flora Seneca, Lina Seneca, and Sherida Wood. The Ladies Committee originally organised the Christmas Carnival for the children, then later they extended the role of this group. They went on to work more closely with the main committee of the club and organise fashion parades, bingo nights and plays.

The mid 70s saw the formation of a Youth Group, which organised discos, beach picnics, Red Cross collection and social outings for the youth of the club.

The San Rocco committee at this stage was a sub-committee under the banner of the Molinara Club.

The club had seven netball teams, three soccer teams, and a bocce team. All the teams are part of local competitions. In 1977 a Bocce stadium was built and the M.S.S C was part of the Bocce Federation Competition.

Molinara Club took part in the first Carnevale in Adelaide which was held in 1976 in Rundle Mall. A parade travelled from Victoria Square to Elder Park before ending with celebrations in Rundle Mall. Carnevale in Adelaide is an annual Italian festival held to celebrate Italian culture and heritage. Traditionally the Molinara club sold cavatelli and pizza at the festival.

The events that the Molinara club held were New Year’s Eve Balls, Molinarese evenings, Sports Presentation Evenings, Theatrical evenings, Picnics and Christmas Carnivals. Large Cabaret Dances were held with special guests such as Tony Pantano and Paolo Mengoli at St Claire Youth Centre attracting in excess of 1,000 people.

The Molinara Club also became part of the Good Neighbour Council of South Australia.

Historical Context

Amendments to the Migration Act 1958, replaced the term ‘alien’ with ‘non-citizen’ and ended the favoured treatment of British nationals as immigrants to Australia. Federal and State governments in the 1970s had let go of the White Australia policy and they had adopted a policy of Multiculturalism. This was introduced initially by the Whitlam Labor Government then supported by the Fraser, Hawke and Keating Governments. At a State level in South Australia, the Dunstan Labor government was very progressive in supporting Multiculturalism. The growing acceptance of multiculturalism and associated encouragement of diversity by successive governments has meant that Italians have become more forthright and visible in expressing their identity, customs and traditions.

This change in government policy coincided with the Molinaresi migrants in the 1970s had become well established in Adelaide and the majority had experienced economic betterment. This meant that the Molinaresi had the time, money and government support to establish a social club.


1972  Joseph Marcus Baldino (LL.B.SM)

1973   Joseph Marcus Baldino (LL.B.SM)

1974   Joe Emanuele (B.Tech)

1975   Rocco Gallucio (B.A.F.C.P.A)

1976   Nicola Cirocco

1977   Nicola Cirocco

1978   Donato Callisto

1979   Donato Callisto