Three generations of interviewees

In my research I’ve studied three generations of the families who were part of the close Veneto community who established market gardens in the years between the wars in the area we now know as Kidman Park and Flinders Park. At that time the families called it Lockleys.

The first generation were the people who emigrated from the Veneto region in the 1920s and 1930s and established market gardens at Lockleys after their first years of struggling to find work in the Depression years. The women who were married and arrived in Adelaide later were also members of the first generation. The children who migrated with their mothers are called the 1.5 generation – neither first generation or second generation. The second-generation people were born in Australia. The majority of people interviewed for the Veneto market gardeners’ oral history project are second generation.

In this blog I focus on four interviewees who represent three generations. All the interviews are held as permanent records in the State Library of South Australia and are also available on this website under the Pioneer Family list – Marchioro, Vittorio.

Two voices of the first generation
The first generation is represented by Vittorio Marchioro and Angelina Marchioro. Vittorio, from Malo in the province of Vicenza, arrived in Adelaide in 1927, the same year that several other of the Veneto market gardeners migrated. At that time he was 21 years old and after some time of struggling to find work, he worked on a market garden on Frogmore Road with his brother and sister-in-law, Francesco and Margherita Marchioro. After being in Australia for ten years, he wrote to his sister in Malo and asked her to recommend a young woman that might be interested in marrying and migrating to Adelaide. Angelina Marchioro from Monte di Malo (no relation to Vittorio) accepted the invitation and the couple were married by proxy in August 1938. Angelina was 20 years old when she arrived at Port Adelaide in January 1938. She remembered that she went to work in the market garden only a few days after arriving.

Angelina’s Italian passport, 1937. National Archives of Australia: A435, 1946/4/6303.
Marchioro family – Angelina and Vittorio, Romano and Johnny, Frogmore Road            c 1947. Photo, Lina Marchioro.

 

I was excited to discover the interviews with Vittorio and Angelina in the State Library about four years ago. They had recorded their stories in 1984 for a project about migrant people in South Australia. In the interviews Vittorio and Angelina reflect on their history and life in Italy and their experience in Adelaide and working together on the market gardens first on Frogmore Road and then on White Avenue Lockleys.

 

 

A 1.5 generation representative
Johnny Tormena was born on 29 November 1927 in the village of Bigolino in the province of Treviso and grew up in the first years of Mussolini’s reign. His mother’s family were actively anti-Fascist and eight of nine siblings migrated to Australia between the wars. In 1940 when he was 12 years Johnny arrived in Adelaide with his parents and sisters in 1940 a few months before Italy joined Germany in the Second World War.

Tormena family. Back: Johnny and Maria Rosa Front: Severina and Galliano. Adelaide, mid 1940s. Photo supplied by Maria Rosa.

In his interview Johnny recalls life as a school boy and the influence of Mussolini in daily life and contrasts it with his experience of going to school in Adelaide and his coming of age as a young working man. Johnny was interviewed ten years ago. You can find his interviews on the Rossetto family page under the Pioneer Families list on this website.

A second-generation daughter
Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto was born on 8th December 1932 in Adelaide, the daughter of Gelindo Rossetto and Adelina (Lina) Bordin. Gelindo had arrived in 1927 from the village of Bigolino and Lina had been born in Biadene. He  married Lina by proxy in 1930. Lina migrated in 1931 and settled in the Lockleys area with Gelindo working a family market garden.

Rossetto family, Adelaide, c 1937. Lina and Gelindo, Aldo, Romeo, Lena.

 

In her interviews recorded in 2014, Lena speaks about her parents, her family life and growing up in the west end of Adelaide, memories of the Veneto market gardeners and the interactions with the wide group of Rossetto relatives. You can locate the interviews with Lena on the Rossetto family page under the Pioneer Families list.

 

 

The collection of interviews
The collection of interviews for the Veneto market gardeners’ oral history project has continued to grow – (OH 872 series in the State Library of SA). At present there are more than 60 interviews which record the history of the Veneto market gardener community at Lockleys, a number that were recorded with people connected to the market gardens and several interviews with people in the Veneto region.

It’s really fortunate that the voices of Vittorio Marchioro and Angelina Marchioro, the only representatives of the first generation were interviewed 38 years ago and have been preserved for the future. It is wonderful that so many other people – 10 people in the 1.5 generation – and more than 30 second generation family members have recorded their memories of growing up on the market gardens. Through their interviews we learn about the life of the Veneto market gardeners, the experience of migrant families and the close-knit community that they developed in the inter-war years – and that continues today through the generations and networks of families and paesani.

Madeleine Regan
4 December 2022

PS –  First cousins , Johnny Tormena and Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto, celebrated significant birthdays recently. Johnny turned 95 on 29 November and Lena enjoyed a party in November to celebrate her 90 years!

Johnny Tormena, Adelaide, November 2022. Photo, Madeleine Regan.
Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto with her granddaughter, Jenna. Adelaide, November 2022. Photo supplied by Amanda Rossetto.

Maintaining family ties in the Veneto

Over the past few months, we’ve been fortunate that a number of guest bloggers have contributed to the website. This time, Anna Baronian nee Carniello, writes about the continuing connections with her relatives who came from Caselle di Altivole.

My husband and I have recently returned from a trip to Italy and I would like to share with you some reflections about my family connections in the Veneto region where my father came from.

View near Caselle di Altivole.

My parents were Giovanni and Luisa Carniello and we lived at 63 Garden Tce, Lockleys. Dad was from Caselle d’Altivole and he migrated to Australia in 1952 together with his cousins, Primo and Secondo Carniello.

After mum and dad met and married, they had boarders from the Veneto region for several years in the early 1960s. They were Elio Bin, who later became my godfather, Tarcisio Carniello, (Baffo) who was my uncle, Germano whose surname I can’t recall, and Bruno Fantinelli, who later returned to Italy and opened an osteria in the Veneto.

In 1970 we left Adelaide to go and live with my grandparents Attilio and Maria Carniello in Caselle. Their sopranome or nickname was Bortolon and they lived at number 1 Via Capitello della Fiera, in a two storey farmhouse.

They were typical contadini with their campi, (fields), the stalla, (barn) the donkey, 2 cows, chickens, turkeys and the pig which would be fattened to make the mussetto, (a kind of sausage made from pork) salami and salsiccie or sausages. My nonno Attilio didn’t drive a car because everything was witin walking distance. But he would use his cart and donkey for errands such as collecting the feed for the animals and I would get to ride along with him which was such a special treat. Using the cow’s unpasteurised milk, nonna Maria would make butter. She would pour the milk into a pottery shaped bottle and churn it for several days. We would then smear the fresh creamy butter onto crusty bread, sprinkle it with sugar and gobble it up.

I was 9 years old at the time but my first sister and I didn’t go to school as the Italian school year didn’t align with the one in Australia. However, my youngest sister who was four years old, attended the local kindy which was managed by the nuns. So our days were carefree and I have fond memories of picking hazelnuts and cherries and playing with my 2 sisters in the water channel which was used to irrigate the campi. Going to the local bottega (shop) which was just in front of my grandparent’s house to buy lollies was a treat, but only if we managed to coax 100 lire out of my nonno. I also remember riding my nonna’s bike down the unsealed road past all the wild red poppies which bloomed in the campi. I actually learnt to ride a bike in their front yard. This was the first time meeting my grandparents and after 10 months, we returned to Australia to resettle.

Other relatives in the Veneto were my aunt and uncle, Bertilla and Egidio Antonini or ‘Egidio Mondo’ which was his nickname, and my cousins, Gabriella, Adriana and Jonny. They lived at 318 Findon Rd Kidman Park before their family returned to Italy in 1966, settling in Riese Pio X then later moving to Caselle. On the land where their house and family business once stood in Riese, there is now a supermarket and other retail shops.

Carniello house, Caselle di Altivole, 1985.

It wasn’t until 1985 that I saw them all again. In that year I was there for 5 months studying and travelling so during this time, I was able to build relationships with my extended family as an adult.

On our recent trip my husband and I spent a week visiting my cousins who now live in Moriago della Battaglia which is about 22km NE of Caselle. I understand that the town has this name because of a battle which took place there in WW1 along the Piave River.

When we were picked up at Cornuda train station by my cousins, it was as if I saw them all the time when in fact, I had last seen them in 2014. We had lots to catch up on. A bonus was that my husband who has been learning Italian for the past 3 years was able to get involved in our conversations and he was even able to talk about politics and current affairs with them. Given that they were about to vote for a new government, this was a good skill to have because the Italians talk politics all the time.

Giuliano Berdusco, Adriana Antonini, Gabriella Antonini, Anna Baronian nee Carniello, Irene Zampin, Caselle di Altivole, September 2022.

I used this occasion to meet my godmother Irene Zampin (who is the sister of Terry Mazzarolo who lives in Adelaide) and her husband Giuliano who live in Caselle. I came to know about Terry and her sister Irene, thanks to my godfather Elio Bin whose family is from San Vito. The last time she saw me, I was a baby! This was a special gathering and we shared laughter, stories and a lovely meal together which my cousin had prepared. We even got to try Giuliano’s must which I learnt is a young wine made from freshly pressed grapes and seeds. In fact, the must was still fermenting in the bottle so during our meal, the top kept popping off.

In addition to this, we were lucky to be in Moriago for my cousin’s granddaughter’s first birthday. This celebration was another opportunity to share joy and build family connections.

My Zio Egidio died in 2019 but my Zia Bertilla is a resident at the San Gregorio nursing home in Valdobbiadene and during our visit we were able to have lunch together at the nursing home on the terrace. It was emotional saying goodbye to my zia.

The capitello, Caselle di Altivole.

During our week we visited towns such as Asolo, Montebelluna and Valdobbiadene and got to meet friends of my cousins.

We had a day trip to Caselle to revisit experiences like walking along Via della Fiera past my grandparents’ home, past the campi and up to the capitello.

Anna’s grandparents’ house, Caselle di Altivole.

Lots of development has occurred along this road including the installation of solar panels on houses but the water channel along the side of the road is still there. We also visited the church and the cemetery.

The channel alongside the road, Caselle di Altivole.

Being able to spend time with my cousins and their families bonded us further and in addition to this, a new relationship was established between them and my husband. We had so many wonderful chats, laughs and moments of reminiscing and through this, we were able to learn about each other’s lives in more intimate detail.

Thanks to technology, our ties will continue to strengthen and we will be able to stay connected in real time.

 

Anna Baronian nee Carniello. Photos provided by Anna.
20 November, 2022.

Continuity of family connections

Last month, on 22nd October, a group of Veneto market gardener families and friends gathered at the Mater Christi church hall once again to share stories and enjoy the opportunity to spend time together. The theme was the continuity of family connections to relatives in the Veneto region. We were fortunate that two guest speakers offered their experience of ongoing links and their appreciation of their family history of migration. A group of descendants of the first generation of market gardeners are featured in the photo above.

View of some of the people who attended the Veneto gathering. Photo by Alex Bennett.

Amanda Rossetto and Raoul Pietrobon each spoke about their grandfathers who had made the long sea voyage from Italy to Port Adelaide in 1927.  Both Gelindo Rossetto and Gildo Pietrobon were compelled to find work in the difficult economic and political years of the Depression which was beginning in Australia at that time. As you’ll read from the accounts of Amanda and Raoul, their grandfathers made different choices about their future in Australia. Amanda and Raoul’s connections with their families reflect their experience of the continuity of the history.

First, Amanda told us about her nonno, Gelindo Rossetto who travelled with three younger brothers to join another brother who had migrated in 1926.

Then Raoul spoke about the presence of his grandfather in Adelaide and how his experience influenced three of his children to migrate several decades later.

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Amanda Rossetto

Amanda Rossetto, presenting at gathering of Veneto market gardener families & friends, 22 Oct 2022. Photo by Alex Bennett.

I am the eldest granddaughter of Gelindo Rossetto (one of the 1927 market gardeners) and wife, Adelina Bordin. They were married by proxy and she arrived in 1930. Nonna was born in Biadene, one of six children. Two went to France and three sisters came to live in Australian, marry and have families.

 

The Rossetto family, Bigolino, early 1920s. Gelindo is on far right at the back. Photo: courtesy Maria Rosa Tormena.

Nonno was the eldest of nine children born in Bigolino – eight migrated to Australia … Like others in the family, nonno left because of the political and economic circumstances…

 

 

Rossetto family : Lina, Lena, Silvano, Aldo, Gelindo. Adelaide, c 1950.

I stand here with immense pride as a 3rd generation Australian-Italian who feels very connected to my Veneto culture and heritage. I have my nonna to thank for that –– she taught me well about our history, love of family, food and culture.  She encouraged my love of all things from our culture.

 

She always told me stories, taught me to speak our dialetto, (dialect) took me to visit all our parenti (relatives), took me to the Italian and Veneto clubs whenever she could.

Amanda Rossetto and her nonna, Lina Rossetto. Adelaide, 1968/69.

It was never hard, it was fun, and I took every opportunity to be with her, to go and visit all the Rossetto, Tormena, Rebuli and Bernardi families, to go to the parties and weddings, to visit the Frogmore Road families and her dear friends, the Marchioro’s.  She would get me to always write a few lines at the bottom of her letters to our families back in the Veneto – in Bigolino, Biadene, Valdobiaddene, Montebelluna and Castelfranco.

In 1972 at the age of 12, I went overseas for the first time with my dad Aldo and met them all – we stayed in the house that has always been in the contadino (farmer) Rossetto family on Via Erizzo, Bigolino – the house where nonno and all his siblings were born and grew up…

A view of the area of Bigolino, 2020. Photo by Amanda Rossetto.

I have been over four more times since as an adult – in 2000, 2010, 2015, 2019… With technology changes, social media, the internet, Facebook and Instagram, I’m able to stay in touch with them easily – and we do…  We probably communicate once a week in one way or another.

Aldo Rossetto, Adelaide, 2010.

 

When Eleonora (Marchioro) interviewed my Dad the year before he died, he and I talked at length about the stories of his childhood and what it was like living in a blended culture – walking in two worlds. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of this and to keep the stories alive.

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Raoul Pietrobon

Raoul Pietrobon presenting at gathering of Veneto market gardener families & friends, 22 Oct 2022. Photo by Alex Bennett.

My grandfather, Gildo Pietrobon, came to work in Adelaide, South Australia in the years 1927 to 1930. Gildo was born in 1897, the sixth of eight children, in the village of Salvarosa, near the town of Castelfranco Veneto. Together with his brothers, he farmed land the family was leasing, which was typical of the contadini or farmers at the time. In 1926, Gildo decided to work overseas and earn money to assist in the purchase of land.

Gildo Pietrobon in his orchard, Castelfranco Veneto, Treviso, 1950.

He was 29 years, married with two children. He was accompanied by his 17-year-old nephew, Erminio Guidolin, the son of his eldest sister. Both went to reside at 211 Franklin St, Adelaide on their arrival. This was a boarding house at the time run by Orazio Bonin.

Former Italian boarding house on Franklin Street, city of Adelaide. Photo by Raoul Pietrobon, 2022.
Relaxing on a Sunday afternoon outside their boarding house – Erminio Guidolin (far left) & Gildo Pietrobon (far right) with 2 acquaintances.

 

 

 

 

 

Both men must have enjoyed their time in Australia as Gildo had many stories to tell his children and friends in the village of Salvarosa which must have made an impact because three of Gildo’s children emigrated in the 1950’s to Australia.

I was always curious about how my grandfather would have traversed Adelaide. He worked in several places, including Port Adelaide. He had told stories of meeting Veneti at the Tower Hotel located on Magill Road and which is still there. And since reading ‘the Veneto Market Gardeners 1927’ blog pages, I wondered if he also went to the suburbs of Lockleys and Findon. Bicycle and bus routes seem obvious but were they the only ones?

Currie Street looking west from King William Street, Adelaide, February 1927. Reproduced from ‘The Observer,’ Feb 19, 1927. State Library of SA, B3982.

I found an image in the State Library archives which gave me another answer. In the 1920’s Adelaide had a much larger network of trams than it does in the 2020’s. Trams went to Port Adelaide via the center of Port Road and they even went to the foothill along The Parade and Magill Road. [The slide is an image of Currie St in 1927 and shows on the name-board that the destination is Lockleys.]

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When one of the participants commented on the poverty that motivated migrants to leave the Veneto in the 1920s, Raoul reflected on the experience of his father’s situation in the 1940s. “Effectively three families [were] living under the same roof and the majority of them reliant on the farmland they were running. My father applied to migrate in 1952 and was successful.”

A group at the gathering, 22nd October 2022. Photo by Alex Bennett.

Migration causes fragmentation in families but today – even with the passage of time, it is possible to keep connections alive. The close links between families in Adelaide and the Veneto region create a transnational relationship that is so much easier to maintain now than it was for the first generation. It seems that many of the market gardener families want to preserve the links with relatives in the Veneto region.

Madeleine Regan
6 November 2022

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