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Romildo Santin, Valetta Road, 1940s

This website tells the story of a group of young Italian men and one woman who arrived in Adelaide between 1926 and 1928. They came from the Veneto region in the north-east Italy. Within a few years they established commercial market gardens in the western suburbs about eight kilometres from Adelaide. They farmed on Frogmore, Grange, Findon and Valetta Roads and formed a close community of families up to the 1970s. These men and their wives and children made an important contribution to the production of fresh food in South Australia.

From the Veneto to Frogmore and Findon Roads: Stories of Italian market gardeners 1920s – 1970s, is an oral history project. Madeleine Regan initiated it in 2006 and gathered interviews, stories, photos and other research. Over 95 hours of oral history recordings (46 interviews) have been collected, and are held in the State Library of South Australia. It is possible to listen to all the interviews on this website.

Innocente family

Angelo, Mirella, Elsa (nee Pivato) Innocente, Lockleys, c 1953

Angelo Felice Innocente, born 26 November, 1921 in Caselle, Province of Treviso, arrived in Melbourne per Ugolino Vivaldi on 14 June 1950. His uncle, Pietro Compostella, who had arrived in 1938, sponsored him. Angelo joined him in Adelaide.

Angelo served in the Italian army during World War II. He married Lorenzina (Elsa) nee Pivato in 1947. Elsa and their daughter, Mirella, aged five years, arrived in Melbourne per Oceania on 30 October 1952 and lived in White Avenue in rented accommodation. Angelo sponsored his younger brother, Gino who arrived in1954 and was part of the family household.

Angelo and Elsa built their house on White Avenue and moved in after their second daughter, Aida, was born in 1956. Elsa worked at Lasscock’s Nurseries on Henley Beach Road, and also in a market garden plot behind her home. At the time, land in the Lockleys area was almost entirely family market gardens.

In the first years Angelo worked at Kelvinator and John Shearers before he was employed by a Chinese Australian man, Harold Dare, who owned two acres on White Avenue Lockleys and had a factory that made half-cases for market gardeners. Angelo worked with six or seven other men, including several young Chinese immigrants, for seven years and became foreman. He also worked the rented market garden with Elsa. When he decided to start his own half-case factory, Harold Dare lent him the money to buy a truck.

Angelo worked for five years in rented premises on Grange Road, and in 1964 bought land on the River Torrens at Azalea Drive, Lockleys not far from White Avenue, and built a small factory with his business partner, Emilio Loro. He worked until 1981, making boxes during the day and delivering them to market gardeners in the Adelaide and outer suburban areas, often at night. In the last years of his working life at Azalea Drive, Elsa became his business partner. The Innocente family had strong links to the Veneto market gardeners community.

In retirement Angelo and Elsa enjoyed visiting relatives in Italy and South America. They maintained a bountiful vegetable garden at White Avenue Lockleys, and continued traditions such as making salami and wine until a year or so before Angelo died on 11 February 2012. Elsa died n 17 January 2017.

Angelo and his family provided Madeleine Regan with introductions to a number of the Veneti market gardeners, beginning with Johnny Marchioro in 2007. This was the starting point of the interviews for the oral history project, From the Veneto to Frogmore and Findon Roads: Stories of Italian market gardeners 1920s – 1970s.

This website will continue to be added to over time. More stories and interviews will be added as they are completed. Contact Madeleine Regan using this contact form for more information.

Romildo Santin, Valetta Road, 1940s

Questo sito web racconta la storia di un gruppo di 17 giovani itlaiani e una donna che arrivarono in Australia tra il 1926 e il 1928.  Vennero dalla regione del Veneto nel nord ovest d’Italia. In pochi anni fondarono mercato commerciale di agricoltori nella parte ovest di Adelaide circa otto chilometri di distanza dal centro. Vissero e lavorarono in Frogmore, Grange, Findon e Valetta Roads e formarono una communità molta unita. Questi uomini, donne e bambini fecero una importante contribuzione della produzione di verdure fresca in Sud Australia per più di 50 anni.

Queste storie formano un progetto storico orale chiamata From the Veneto to Frogmore and Findon Roads: Stories of Italian market gardeners 1920s –1970s. Madeleine Regan, una esperta di storia orale, cominciò a ricercare le storie nel 2006. Madeleine ha collezionato interviste con i figli e le figlie dei pionieri agricoli ed altri conessi alle fattorie in Frogmore Road e Findon Road. Ci volute più di novante ore di registrazioni (44 interviste) che sono conservate nella Biblioteca Statale del Sud Australia.  Nel 2015 il sito web è stato selezionato come un sito web di significanza nazionale dalla Biblioteca Nazionale dell’Australia.

Innocente family

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Questo sito web include la registrazione di queste interviste, qualche trascrizione, fotografie famigliari, video e altre ricerche. Si continua ad aggiungere altre interviste, fotografie e altre ricerche inerenti al soggetto.

Per altre informazione contattate Madeleine Regan usando questa forma di contatto.

Graziella Ledda ha proveduto l’assistenza per questa traduzione.