LIFE IN JERVOIS – LINO AND IRENE
Mum and Dad were married in September 1954 and after several months living with the Vanzo family in Parkside they purchased a dairy farm in Jervois. Ernesto and Adele moved to Jervois with Mum and Dad and they remained living with us in the family home at Jervois until they died.
Dad owned a motorbike and sidecar and Mum recalled many hairy trips in the sidecar (pregnant with me) on the old road through the Adelaide hills. I was born in 1955. I vaguely remember doing the trip with them as a youngster on the motorbike to Adelaide. We were in Jervois for exactly one year to the day when in September 1956 the River Murray broke it banks and Jervois flooded.
We relocated to Mt Gambier with our dairy cows for 12 months on a share-farming arrangement. My Mum hated the cold and limited facilities. My brother Robert was born in Mount Gambier. Returning home, then came the big job of draining the swamps, fixing the fences, building a new dairy, reseeding pastures and ‘getting going’ again.
My brothers Dennis and Allan arrived in 1959 and 1963. There were 8 of us in a tiny four- roomed old home. The 1960s were good years along the river at Jervois as people prospered after the devastation of the flood.
Dad and Mum made plans to build a new house. Half of the house was paid for in pounds and the other half was in dollars and we moved into the new house in late 1966. In the 1970s Mum and Dad were able to expand the dairies and purchased highland properties for hay crops and running livestock.
The Jervois community loved Dad’s jovial personality and he volunteered in many organisations supplying his concreting skills at the Jervois football club, primary school, bowling club and the Catholic Church in Tailem Bend. Dad really felt that he was 100% accepted when I was selected as Captain of the Junior Colts football team in 1969.
Every winter we killed a pig and made salami. Dad had a small smokehouse. Every autumn we made the trip to Langhorne Creek to buy grapes to make red wine. Dad’s cellar was well known and often visited by local friends in the Italian community. The Gazzolas, Brions, Chesos, Fabbians and Antonellos were lifelong friends and neighbours. Dad and Mum loved company and had frequent Veneto visitors from Adelaide who loved the beautiful cheese from the Jervois Cheese Factory (10lb, cloth covered rinded cheese.) It kept well and was highly regarded. Dad’s cousins from the Bergamin, Conci, Tonellato and Stocco families loved making the trip to Jervois over the years.
Dad never went back to Italy. For many years he only had memories of hard times.
Just as Dad and Mum were thinking about taking it easier, and maybe making the trip back to Italy, Dad took ill and died when he was 61. It was one month before their 40th wedding anniversary. Sadly, Dad didn’t get to see the grandchildren grow up and marry. He would have been so proud of them and would have loved his great grandchildren! We have lovely memories and he is spoken about often. Mum is 86 and sadly has dementia. They were both hard workers and loved their family dearly.
Gary and Lynn Vanzo
13 June 2021