Remembering connections

In the last three weeks two respected and loved members of the Veneto market gardener families, Johnny Marchioro and Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto, have died.
This blog pays tribute to Johnny and Lena and their contribution to the Veneto market gardeners’ oral history project.

The image above shows representatives of Veneto market gardener families. L-R: Frankie Ballestrin, Silvano Ballestrin, Alan Santin, Johnny Marchioro, Jimmy Ballestrin, Lean Moscheni nee Rossetto, Seaton, October 2022. Photo by Alex Bennett.

Before I met Johnny Marchioro in 2007, I had thought that most Italians in South Australia had arrived after World War II.  But between 1927 and 1940, about 2,5000 Italians had arrived in South Australia and the largest group was from the Veneto region – 550 men and 178 women.[1]

The Veneto market gardeners arrived between 1926 and 1928 and through interviews with descendants of those people, I have discovered strong and lasting connections between families that helped to make up for the separation from relatives in Italy.

Johnny Marchioro
Johnny was born on 17 August 1940 at Torrensville. At that time, Italians in Australia were known as “enemy aliens” because Italy had joined Germany against the allies in the war.

Angelina Marchioro and Vittorio Marchioro -portraits exchanged prior to proxy marriage in August 1937. Photo supplied by Johnny.

Johnny’s parents came from the province of Vicenza in the Veneto region. Johnny’s father, Vittorio, arrived in 1927 as a 21-year-old.  Vittorio married Angelina in 1937 by proxy and they began their married life on Frogmore Road in 1938. Johnny’s brother, Romano was born in 1942.

The family was part of the close community or the paese of Veneto market gardeners at St James Park, the area they used to call ‘Lockleys.’

I interviewed Johnny in 2008. He was the first person to give an interview for the Veneto market gardeners oral history project. Because of Johnny and Eleonora who welcomed me into their home and shared information about market gardening and the Veneto community of market gardeners I was able to start the oral history project and they have been part of it ever since.

Marchioro family, Angelina, Vittorio, Romano, Johnny, Frogmore Road c 1947. Photo, Lina Marchioro.

In his interview, I learned about Johnny’s family and his childhood on the market garden first on Frogmore Road. In 1948, Vittorio and Angelina bought five acres with zia Margherita, and established market gardens on the river at White Avenue, Lockleys. They were one of the first in the Veneto group to buy land after the war.

Johnny’s first three years of school were at Flinders Park Primary and when the family moved, he began at Marist Brothers on George Street, Thebarton where he made lifelong friends. At school Johnny was a natural sportsman and acknowledged as a leader when he was made captain of both football and cricket teams. Outside school and sports, there was work on the market garden from a young age – he was about eight when he began milking the family cow.

Johnny Marchioro, Working lettuces, Lockleys, 1962. Photo supplied by Johnny.


When he was 15, Johnny left school. He was employed in a couple of jobs including working for Crotti’s grocery shop and for a local market gardener. In his interview, Johnny said:
I was about fifteen and I started working the land. When the time came that Dad said to work at home, I jumped at the idea and I know it probably it wasn’t the best idea but after that and since Eleonora and I got married, we’ve had a pretty good time working in the garden. It would have been a lot easier to have an office job or [laughs] other jobs. We worked hard on the land but in the long run, it paid off for us. (OH 872/1, 21 July, 2008, p 9)



Johnny worked with his parents on the market gardens for about ten years. He kept meticulous records of the sales of each market day and documented the cycle of planting, pruning and picking. Earlier this year, Johnny donated some of those record books to the State Library.

Although Johnny worked long days with his parents, they gave him time off to play football and build a promising career with the Eagles.

In 1963, Johnny met Eleonora Ottanelli at a dance at Norwood Town Hall. Love flourished and two years later, Johnny and Eleonora married. In 1966 they moved to their new house at Bolivar and Johnny worked with his Dad and Eleonora to erect 14 glasshouses on the five acres – this took about six months. The land hadn’t been used before and Johnny imported topsoil to improve it and he dug the earth by hand. The day that Lisa was born in 1966, Johnny planted the first tomatoes. Four years later, Robert was born. Johnny recalled that the first five or six years at Bolivar were challenging and it took that long to get a really good crop of tomatoes. Johnny’s parents helped Johnny and Eleonora with their 21 glasshouses at Bolivar twice a week for about 20 years.

Eleonora and Johnny Marchioro, Bolivar, c 1970. Photo supplied by Johnny.

In 1975, Johnny and Eleonora made their first visit to Italy with Lisa and Robert. Johnny loved meeting his relatives in Malo and Monte di Malo and for Eleonora, it was the first time in 18 years since she had seen her family on Isola d’Elba. They continued to keep close connections with  relatives in Adelaide and in Italy.

Johnny and Eleonora couldn’t quite put a date on their retirement because … well, they didn’t really retire! Johnny stopped going to market in about 2000 but – there has been at least one glasshouse planted with vegetables each year and, of course, they grew artichokes which many Italians in Adelaide have enjoyed over the years.

In his interview, Johnny reflected on his family, his work and love of his life:
From my parents I’ve learned – they were honest and well-respected by all the Italians at Lockleys. I don’t think that Mum and Dad had bad words with any of their friends. And I tried to do the same (and he added) and lucky to get married in 1965. I don’t find any regrets in working the land. (OH 872/1, 21 July, 2008, p 14)

Johnny Marchioro, sorting artichokes, Bolivar, 2019. Photo by Eleonora Marchioro.

You can watch four short videos of Johnny being interviewed about his life on the City of Charles Sturt website. Johnny recorded the videos in about 2011:
City of Charles Sturt website

Click here to hear Johnny’s interview and read the transcript of his interview on the Vittorio Marchioro webpage.

Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto
Lena was born on 8 December 1932 in Adelaide. Her older brother, Romeo, died when he was 7 years old. Lena had two brothers, Aldo and Silvano and there were four other children born who did not live for long.

She spoke about her father and mother in her interview and a connection to Vittorio Marchioro:
By the time Romeo and I were born, he was working down in Frogmore Road, working for somebody else, I don’t remember who actually. Mum … had boarders because there was not much money around. The vegetables weren’t selling, it was Depression time, and Mum took in boarders. Two of them were her brother-in-laws, and one was Vittorio Marchioro, and another one …  but I remember Vittorio because I used to, he used to tell me that I used to sit on his lap, and Mum, Mum had all these boarders to look after, Dad, and two children by then, me and Romeo, it was a lot of work. (OH 872/32 28 August 2014, p2)

Rossetto family – Lina and Gelindo Rossetto with three of their children – Aldo, Romeo, Lena, Adelaide, c 1937.
Photo supplied by Lena.

In the interview Lena spoke about the close relationship between Angelina Marchioro and her mother, they were really good mates and they used to tell each other secrets. (p21)

Lena went to school at St Marys College Franklin Street and made strong friendships which continued through her life. When she left school at 15 years, she worked in a Greek grocery store, Star, on Hindley Street and learned to speak some Greek. Lena had a large group of Rossetto relatives because seven of her father’s siblings had also migrated to Australia. She grew up among many cousins.

Lena, Aldo & Silvano Rossetto- Aldo’s 21st birthday, Adelaide, 1955. Photo supplied by Amanda Rossetto.

Lena met Claudio Moscheni in about 1955. He was from Istria and had arrived in Australia in 1950. They met at a dance that was for young Italians and Australian Italians at St Patrick’s Hall in the City of Adelaide. Lena and Claudio had three children – David born in 1957, Duane in 1961 and Adrian in 1964 and the family spent several years living in Darwin. Lena and Claudio had close relationships with their grandchildren. Claudio died in 2017. When Lena made visits to Italy, she enjoyed spending time with relatives in Bigolino and Biadene and with Claudio’s family in Florence.


Claudio Moscheni and Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto, Woodville, 2014. Photo by Michael Campbell.

In her interview Lena recalled her memories of growing up in the market garden area of Lockleys:

You know, every time I drive past River Road, which is Rowells Road now, I always glance over there to where Dad had his farm, his garden … and every time I go down Frogmore Road it reminds me that I used to live there. (p30)


Click here to listen to Lena’s interview in three parts and read the transcript on the Rossetto family webpage

The connections
The links between the Marchioro and the Rossetto families have continued since the 1920s. When Angelina Marchioro arrived in 1938 as a new bride, Lena’s mother, Lina Rossetto nee Bordin, hosted an afternoon tea to welcome her to Adelaide and their close friendship developed from that time.

Johnny Marchioro and Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto, Seaton, October 2022. Photo by Alex Bennett.

Johnny and Lena shared the experience of growing up in their parents’ market gardens at Lockleys and their experience of the deep friendships in the Veneto community of market gardeners. They both loved their family history, and like the many people who have been interviewed, were proud to tell the story of their parents and their hard work and the love of working the land and the strong bonds in the community.

I am grateful for the generous contribution that Johnny and Lena made to the Veneto market gardeners’ oral history project over many years.


Johnny Marchioro features in an exhibition at the State Library of South Australia, ‘Cornucopia: Gardens & Gardening in South Australia.’ The exhibition will continue until February 2024.

Madeleine Regan
8 October 2023

[1] Des O’Connor, No Need to be Afraid: Italian Settlers in South Australia between 1839 and the Second World War, Wakefield Press, 1996, pp 118-120.

Saint Pius X and Migration

Guest blogger, Remo Berno writes about the history of Saint Pius X and the important event that will take place in the saint’s birthplace next month.

In the photo above, you see the museum of St Pius X and his birthplace.

On our website , “Veneti market gardeners,” you find the names of the pioneer families that settled on market gardens in the western suburbs of Adelaide. I’d like to point out that these families that migrated to the Lockleys area, all came from a limited area of the Veneto Region in Italy. I live in the city of Riese Pio X in the Province of Treviso, the heart of Veneto, and all these families originated from small rural towns within a radius of 40 km from my home.

Approximate location of Riese Pio X.

Apart from the two Marchioro families that came from Malo in the neighbouring Province of Vicenza, all the others came from towns in the Treviso Province. The Berno, Ballestrin and Zampin families migrated to Adelaide from Riese Pio X. The Santin and Tonellato families came from Caselle di Altivole which is only 5 km from Riese. The Rebuli and the Rossetto families were from Bigolino, 20 km from Riese. The Zalunardo family from Castelcucco – 20 km, and the Piovesan family originated from Ponzano Veneto – 30 km. Thus, not only did they live and create their businesses in Australia, very close to each other, in the Lockleys area, but they also originated from the same area in Italy, often neighbouring country villages. They spoke the same Venetian dialect. Their ties were very strong, and this may explain why this particular community in the Western suburbs of Adelaide came to be and how it quickly grew into something that lasted for many decades.

Historical perspective
The city of Riese dates back to the VIII century. In the year 972 there is reference to the Roman Emperor Ottone 1st , who donated the “Castrum Resii” (the Resio Castle) to the bishop of Treviso.

The birthplace of St Pius X, Riese Pio X.

The most renowned and celebrated citizen of Riese is Giuseppe Melciore Sarto who was born in 1835. He died as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pius X, in 1914. On the 29th May 1954, he was proclaimed Saint Pius X by Pope Pius XII.

It was then that the municipality of Riese associated its name to their holy citizen, thus giving its current name, Riese Pio X.

In 1985 Saint Pius X was proclaimed the patron saint of the migrant association, “Trevisani nel Mondo” (people from Treviso in the world) because of the attention and the affection that he showed towards Italian migrants, and especially Veneti. In early 20th century, the Catholic religion dominated the lives of Catholic Italy.

Pope Pius X. _230605_ImmagineSitoInternet_1_RG.jpg

Especially in rural areas, the parish church was the centre of the community. The parish priest was probably the most influential person, even more important than the local mayor. Migrants that went to establish their lives and their families very far away from their home, settling in foreign nations maintained their faith. Pope Pius X was very concerned about this important phenomenon. In 1907 he established in Rome a seminary to prepare priests and religious to follow these migrants in the new worlds to maintain their Catholic Christianity. In 1914 Pope Pius X established the World Day of Migrants and on next Sunday 24th September, Pope Francis will celebrate the 110th anniversary.

 Who was Saint Pius X and why was he so important?
Giuseppe Melchiore Sarto (the future Pope Pius X) was born in the small country village of Riese Pio X on June 2nd1835, the second of 11 children to Giovanni Battista Sarto and Margherita Sanson. Although not a peasant family (in fact Giovanni Sarto was employed at the local municipality) they were of humble origin. The young Giuseppe was a good student with a lively, impulsive and rigorous character. He never missed Christian doctrine and at an early age he often went to pray at the Marian sanctuary in Cendrole (2 km from his house).

Statue depicting young Giuseppe Sarto walking to school in Castelfranco Veneto, located in Riese Pio X.


After finishing primary school in Riese Pio X, he continued his secondary school studies at Castelfranco Veneto. In those years in rural villages, most children attended school for just three years. Castelfranco Veneto is 7 km from Riese Pio X and Giuseppe Sarto would walk to school, often barefoot with his clogs on his shoulders so as not to wear them out.



He continued his studies in the Padua seminary, and received his Holy Orders in the cathedral of Castelfranco Veneto on 18th September 1858. The next day he celebrated his first Mass in the church of Riese. He was chaplain in Tombolo (province of Padua) for 9 years and in 1867 Farther Giuseppe Sarto became the Pastor of the Salzano parish (province of Venice). After 9 years, he served in the Bishopric of Treviso mainly as the bishop’s chancellor and spiritual director of the Treviso seminary. In 1885 he was proclaimed Bishop of Mantua (in the Lombardy region) where Giuseppe Sarto entered a very troubled diocese, defined as a “diocese adrift”. He was close to the poor with material help and always welcomed everyone without distinction of social class or wealth. Giuseppe Sarto’s pastoral actions were viewed very closely by the Vatican authorities with ever growing admiration. In 1893, he was elected cardinal and three days later, was promoted to Patriarch of Venice. Once again, he had to face a difficult situation because the diocese of Venice was in turmoil. As in his previous roles, Giuseppe Sarto turned matters around. He renewed the seminary, reformed studies and founded the faculty of Canon Law in 1902.

He cared for the poor in Venice and was a catechist of the young and the children.

Statue of St Pius X, donated by the people of Burano, one of the islands of Venice where the saint was beloved. Located at Riese Pio X.

The Catholic community fell in love with this new Patriarch, to the point that when he left on 26th July 1903 to participate in the election of the successor to Pope Leo XIII, the Venetians flocked to farewell him. At the train station Giuseppe Sarto greeted his beloved faithful with the famous phrase “or dead or alive I will return”.

On 4th August 1903 Cardinal Sarto was proclaimed the new Pope and chose the name Pius. His eleven years as head of the Catholic Church was filled with distinctions. He was able to understand people because he was one of the very few popes to have progressed from a small village to hold many roles in the Church. Until then, most of his predecessors were of noble origin. Men from poor families had little education and were destined to become simple parish priests. Pius X’s humble origins enabled him to better understand the communities. He died in 1914 and in 1951 he was beatified. In 1954 Pope Pius XII proclaimed him Saint Pius X. He was the first Pope sanctified for almost 500 years.

The altar of Saint Pius X in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The body of the saint lies beneath the altar in the glass casket.

The Venetians were so impressed by this man and remembering his last words before leaving Venice for the papal conclave “or dead or alive I will return”, they started a movement that culminated in 1959 when the corpse of Pius X was transported from his grave under the Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, to Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice where it was honoured for a few days.

Upon return to the Vatican City, Saint Pius X became the only Pope to be laid to rest in the Basilica and not under it. In fact, his sarcophagus can now be worshipped under his altar that is just on the left as you enter St Peter’s Basilica.


Sculpture of Saint Pius X located in the Newton Parish Church, Adelaide.

Commemoration of Pio X in Adelaide
Reaching back to the Veneti who migrated to Adelaide, I would like to link Pope Pius X to these migrants. As I pointed out before, Saint Pius X was proclaimed patron saint of the migrant association “Trevisani nel Mondo”. In Adelaide there are two statues of Saint Pius X. The first one was installed in the St Francis of Assisi Church in Newton where there was a strong post-war community of Veneto migrants.



Remo and Roberto Berno, St Pius X statue, Mater Christi Church, Seaton, 2006.

The second statue is in the Mater Christi Church on Grange Road, Seaton. The parish is entrusted to the Scalabrinian Missionary priests. I am particularly fond of this statue, because my mother Antonietta Berno Pastro organised for it be made and taken to Adelaide in 1965. During a holiday in Italy, with the assistance of the parish priest of Riese, don Giuseppe Liessi, my mother arranged to have the wooden statue sculpted by the renowned artisans in the Gardena Valley (Val Gardena) in the northern Italian province of Bolzano. The wooden statue travelled from Italy to Adelaide on the ship Galileo Galilei as part of my mother’s luggage on her return trip.


“Peregrinatio Corporis” – 6th to 15th October 2023 in Riese Pio X
The devotion to Saint Pius X is obviously still very strong in our local community of Riese Pio X, but the interest in this saint, lives on from the Vatican to the many parishes dedicated to Saint Pius X throughout the world. In Italy there are around 80 Saint Pius X parish churches, hundreds in Europe, over 80 in North America, and many others in South America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Japan. This year we will experience an extraordinary event. The glass case carrying Saint Pius X’s remains will travel from the Vatican to Riese Pio X as it did 64 years ago to Venice.

Promotion of a meeting about St Pius X and emigration held on 14 September 2023 in Riese Pio X.

The event will mark the 120th anniversary of the election of Giuseppe Sarto as Pope Pius X. The Giuseppe Sarto Foundation, the Treviso Diocese, the parish and the municipality of Riese Pio X will honour our saint by means of a second “Peregrinatio Corporis”.

For the first time after becoming Pope Pius X, Giuseppe Sarto will return to his town of birth for 10 days and will be honoured in the Marian sanctuary in Cendrole.  We are expecting tens of thousands of Catholics to participate in this pilgrimage. I hope to post another blog giving testimony to this once in a lifetime event.

Pope Pius X.

Remo Berno
24 September 2023

All images not already attributed were provided by Remo.

Veneto family food traditions


 In this blog, Diana Panazzolo nee Santin writes about the Veneto food traditions that have been passed down to her from her mother and grandmothers and which she is passing onto her daughter and granddaughters.

The photo above shows the Santin family, Caselle di Altivole, 1973.
Front: Diana, Clara, Alan, Romildo. Front: nonno Olivo Oliviero and

nonna Maria Oliviero with Lisa.

Following her mother
Diana Panazzolo nee Santin says, “My Mum loved her traditional cooking. I use her recipes all the time – baccalà, gnocchi, biscuits and of course, crostoli.”

Diana grew up on Frogmore Road with her parents, Romildo (Nugget) Santin and Clara Oliviero, and her brother, Alan and sister, Lisa. Her parents worked the market gardens of 12.5 acres with Romildo’s brothers and their wives: Lui and Rosina (nee Tonellato) and Vito and Anna (nee Mattiazzo. The Santin families grew tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, letttuces on their land.

Romildo and Clara married in 1950 in Caselle di Altivole where Romildo had been born. After they married they lived in Adelaide at Lockleys – on the Berno brothers’ property at Valetta Road until they moved to Frogmore Road in 1952. Diana was born in 1951.

The Santin family: Romildo, Clara, Alan and Diana with nonna Costantina, Frogmore Road, 1962.


Diana was at school when she first started cooking for the family. Her mother worked in the Santin families’ market gardens and sometimes when Diana came home from school, she’d follow instructions and prepare the family meal. Diana still makes her nonna Tina’s tasty sardine dish that her children and grandchildren love to eat.



Making crostoli
Diana speaks with fondness about making crostoli which were always a special sweet food that her mother made. “It’s a thin white fried pastry, so light and crispy that when you have one, you just want more.”

Deni, Sandra, Diana, Danielle, Lisa. The end of the day and crostoli is ready. West Beach, c 2018.


Making the crostoli is now a three-generation gathering held at the home of Diana’s cousin, Sandra, and Sandra’s husband, Deni Conci. They are joined by their daughters, Amanda and Danielle and Diana’s granddaughters, Ava and Lea, and Diana’s sister, Lisa, on a date close to Christmas. Sometimes, Sandra’s sister, Denise is another cook.

It’s a big day that usually begins at 10:00 am and finishes about 4:00 or 5:00 pm.


The process of making crostoli

Ava, Lea and Diana – rolling out the dough for crostoli, 2018.

After mixing the dough, there are four main steps to make crostoli – rolling, cutting frying and sprinkling sugar on them. The whole process could take up to two hours. Diana takes her dough to Sandra’s home and rolls it through the pasta machine at least 12 times to make it as thin as possible.

Diana says that you have to feel the texture and make sure it is not too sticky.The thin dough is cut into strips before they are fried in a pot of oil for about 15 seconds.  After taking them out, it is often the children’s task to sprinkle sugar on the crostoli.


And the recipe…
Families pass the recipe for crostoli down to daughters although it is often adapted by the next generation. Diana has modified her mother’s recipe by using Prosecco – and has generously shared it.

Ingredients for crostoli

  • 6 eggs
  • 300 mls of cream
  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • Vanilla sugar or essence
  • 4 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1 cup of prosecco or wine
  • ½ cup of melted butter
  • Rind of a lemon and an orange
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1 liqueur glass of grappa
  • Essence – anise, lemon, orange – or anise liqueur or strega
  • Pinch of salt
  • Plain flour to roll the dough
Crostoli ready to eat.
The results of a crostoli day organised by Diana and Sandra!








Easter traditions
Many years ago, Diana’s auntie, zia Giannina who lives in Caselle di Altivole sent her two moulds for making the pascal lamb at Easter. Diana makes the pascal lamb and marshmallow rabbits as part of the Easter feast for the family.

Pascal lambs and marshmallow rabbits, 2018.
Diana’s fugussa made for Easter, 2022.








Another tradition is making the Veneto fugussa – a sweet bread made with yeast. Diana remembers that when she was in Italy in 1962, her nonna made the fugussa, put them on a cart under a tablecloth and took them to a neighbour who had a large oven and cooked them there.

Other foods that Diana cooks and that are part of her family Easter customs include baccalà made from stockfish and polenta.

Baccala and polenta, 2022.

Carrying on the traditions
Another tradition that Diana and her family follow is having roasted chestnuts in autumn. Diana makes brue to go with the chestnuts.

Clara and Romildo Santin, roasting chestnuts, Frogmore Road, late 1990s.

To make brue, you boil wine, sugar, cloves, chopped apple and pear, orange peel and cinnamon sticks. Once it is boiled, you set fire to the brew and the alcohol evaporates.




Diana also sometimes makes sbattuletto, a mixture of egg yolk, sugar, and marsala. This is added to black coffee as a pick-me-up.

Two of her mother’s traditions that Diana does not follow are cooking tripe and snails. When her nonna was alive, she would feed them with bran for several days, a process that “cleaned” them before cooking them. Diana’s Mum used to collect snails from the artichoke plants at Bolivar where the Santin families also had land. Then she would use the same process to clean the snails. When one of the Oliviero aunties came from Caselle to stay with her parents, she collected snails from Diana’s garden to prepare for a meal.

A family visit to Caselle di Altivole in 2019
Diana and her husband Roberto and two of their children and their young children visited Caselle di Altivole. Diana and Roberto stayed with one of Diana’s auntie and enjoyed spending time with relatives and renewing their knowledge of the area. Roberto’s family came San Vito di Altivole, about 6 kilometres from Caselle. Diana feels very close to her two aunties there – she says “they’re part of the connection to my Mum.”

Zia Nene, zia Giannina, Ivano, Diana, Roberto, Caselle di Altivole, 2019.

Pride in the family food traditions
Diana loves passing on her food traditions to her family. Her daughter and granddaughters, Ava and Lea have learned how to make gnocchi and biscuits.

Ava and Lea after making biscotti and gnocchi with Diana, 2022.



 Diana says, “I think my parents would be very proud that we carry on the traditions. I’m very proud of my daughter, Amanda, who is also cooking lots of her nonna’s recipes.”




Diana Panazzolo nee Santin and Madeleine Regan
10 September 2023

All photos provided by Diana.



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