Relatives and Links:Frankie Ballestrin; Jimmy Ballestrin; Johnny Marchioro; Bruno Piovesan; and Guido Rebuli.
Melbourne (Mel) and his twin sister, Adelaide (Ada), were born in Adelaide in 1938. Their parents had married by proxy in 1937. Giovanni Recchi, their father was born in 1902 in Offida in the Province of Ascoli Piceno in the Marche Region of Italy. He arrived in Adelaide per ‘Caprera’ on 29 November 1927. Their mother, Antonia De Ionno, was born in 1911 in San Giorgio Molinara in Province of Benevento in the Region of Campania. She arrived per ‘Orama’ on 2 March 1937.
Giovanni settled in the Paradise area in the eastern foothills of Adelaide and worked for a landholder who grew vegetables. By 1937, he had built his own home and his wife, the relative of a friend of Giovanni’s, arrived and they began their married life together. Melbourne and Adelaide were born in 1938, and a second son, Domenico, died as an infant in 1945.
The family moved to River Road (now Findon Road) Flinders Park in 1946 when Mel and Ada were eight years old. Their parents leased nine acres and grew tomatoes in six glasshouses and they also grew celery and potatoes.
Mel’s father continued to work in the 1960s alongside Mel on additional land they leased on Valetta Road. Giovanni died in 1991 and Antonia died in 2002.
Mel recorded two interviews for the Veneti market gardeners website project in June and July 2014.
In his first interview Mel speaks about his family background and describes the locality of Flinders Park in the late 1940’s and recalls his father’s work ethic and mother’s role in the market garden.
He speaks about his early role in assisting his parents with the financial side of the business; family purchase of the nine acres in 1953 and social life and friendship with other Italo-Australian young men from families who had market gardeners in the Frogmore-Findon Roads area. These included: Jimmy Ballestrin; Guido Rebuli; Bruno Piovesan; Frankie Ballestrin; and Johnny Marchioro. Mel’s parents leased another ten acres of land adjacent to the West’s celery farm on Valetta Road from 1957 – 1963 and Mel worked there with his father growing celery, potatoes and watermelons.
In his second interview Mel summarises his parents’ working life on River Road Flinders Park and the describes every family who had market gardens who have been identified through this project on a 1948 aerial map provided by the then Woodville Council. Mel reviews each of the market gardens along both sides of River Road; the southern side of Grange Road; and along Frogmore and Valetta Roads. He explains which families had glasshouses and which families grew outside vegetables.
He reflects on the changes that have taken place in the area in his lifetime of living on Findon Road. He now lives very close to where his family first lived in 1946.
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