'Pushing that handcart I didn't know whether to laugh or cry; laugh because I was happy to go anywhere, with the hope of starting a new life; cry with the fear of never returning to my beloved Fiume.' - Livio Fantini, 1950
One migrant's mixed emotions evoke the story of all migrants and refugees throughout history - a story of hope, grief and wilful determination to succeed in a strange new land. For thousands of Italians this new land was Australia.
Per l'Australia is the story of Italian settlement, from as early as 1788 through to World War II and beyond. It is the story of Italians who fled war, persecution and poverty for a better life in Australia. From struggling to build a new home, to suffering internment and POW camps, to burgeoning employment and thriving prosperity, Italians have fearlessly adapted to their new homeland. The joys and frustrations of their new life are captured here in a rich mix of personal anecdotes and history, private mementos and captivating photographs.
Personal stories are deftly woven into the broader background of immigration and Australia's settlement history. Italian culture and its vibrant traditions mingle with Australia's own. In a celebration of this coming together of cultures, Per l'Australia is written in both English and Italian. Drawing on the extensive pictorial and oral history collection of the Italian Historical Society at COASIT, Melbourne, this richly illustrated book is a moving portrait of Italians in Australia.
To a new land
Building a home
Carving a niche
Traditions and celebrations
A pause in history
Strands in Australia's tapestry