Lives in photos – Part 3


 I’m continuing with the series on family photos and the lives of the Veneto market gardeners. In this third part, I focus on photos that represented the life in the community at ‘Lockleys’ during  the war, and soon after.

Gatherings of the Veneto community

I’m interested in photos of groups of Veneto market gardeners and the people they knew during and after the Second World War. I’m thankful that interviewees and others have given me permission to use the photos. By the mid-1940s, the pioneer families were established on their market gardens in the area they called ‘Lockleys’. Although there had been challenges for the community during the war years, the Veneto market gardeners continued to gather and celebrate and photos show aspects of their daily lives. Perhaps increasing numbers of people had cameras which might explain why there are more photos. After the war the families sponsored and welcomed new Veneto migrants who were leaving Italy in large numbers because of the destruction caused by the occupation and the poverty that followed especially in the Veneto region.

Photos of weddings
Studio photos were formal records of the wedding parties. During the war, Luigia Ballestrin and Eugenio Zalunardo married. Eugenio or Marena had arrived in 1927 and leased land on Grange Road for his market garden in the late 1930s. Luigia had accompanied her mother to Adelaide in 1938 when she was 23 years old.

Marriage of Luigia Ballestrin and Eugenio Zaluanrdo, Adelaide 1943.

The wedding photo in 1943 shows various members of the Ballestrin family. Although the war had created shortages and restrictions, the wedding group looks beautifully dressed. Thank you to Silvano Ballestrin for annotating the photo.

Marriage of Rosina Tonellato and Lui Santin 1945

Marriage of Rosina Tonellato and Lui Santin, Adelaide, 1945.

In 1945, Rosina Tonellato married Lui Santin. Rosina was daughter of pioneers, Secondo Tonellato and Elisabetta Gatto. Lui was the eldest son of Giovanni Santin and Costantina Visentin. Both families had come from Caselle di Altivole. In the studio portrait, Lui’s father stands beside him and Rosina’s father stands beside her. The mothers were not included in this photo.

Women on Frogmore Road

Group of women and Lina Ballestrin on Frogmore Road, c 1945/46. Photo, Lina Marchioro (Rismondo).

Lina Marchioro took the photo of a group of women and children taken in mid 1940s. The Veneta women and child, Lina Ballestrin, are pictured with Rene Destro who had married a Veneto man. Rene was good friends with the Veneto market gardener families. The women were probably taking a break from working on the gardens. Thanks to Silvano Ballestrin for annotating the photo.

 Children on Frogmore Road

Johnny Marchioro’s fifth birthday. Children from three Ballestrin families, Daminato and Piovesan families, Frogmore Road, 1945.

Lina Marchioro took the photo of the children who attended Johnny Marchioro’s fifth birthday in August 1945. I like the way that Lina included the glass houses in the background. The children hold oranges which would have been a special treat at the time.


The day after the marriage of Anna Mattiazzo and Vito Santin, 1949
It was tradition that the day after a wedding, relatives and friends would gather to finish drinking the beer and to eat food left over from the reception that had been held in a packing shed. In this photo, taken after the marriage of Anna Mattiazzo and Vito Santin in 1949, a group pose for a photo. There are mainly men, a mix of generations who had arrived before the war and post-war arrivals who the older Veneto generation called ‘new Australians.’ The eldest in the group is in the middle foreground, Giovanni Santin, who would have been 63 years of age. The young boys around him are from the Ballestrin, Marchioro and Piovesan and other families. The informality of the photo contrasts with a studio portrait or a snap taken outside a church after the wedding ceremony.

Gathering of Veneti, the day after the marriage of Anna Mattiazzo and Vito Santin, Valetta Road, 1949. Source unknown.

A gathering of families
Some people in the photo below of the large group are from market garden families and it could be a group who had migrated from Riese Pio X. I’ve talked to a few people about the photo which Chris Rebellato found in her parents’ collection.

Group of Veneto families and single men. 'Lockleys', c mid-late 1940s. Photo courtesy Chris Rebellato nee Mattiazzo.
Group of Veneto families and single men. ‘Lockleys’, c mid-late 1940s. Photo courtesy Chris Rebellato nee Mattiazzo. Source unknown.

The guess is that it was taken in the mid-late 1940s. Why has the group gathered? The photo was taken outdoors but the group has been arranged in a formal way. People are dressed smartly as though the photo was a record of a special occasion.


The images live on beyond the events and the lives of many of the people who are the subjects in the photos. They reflect the lives of a small migrant community living on the edges of Anglo Australia in Adelaide.


Madeleine Regan
9 January 2022



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