8 May 2012


The Family XXXX lived for some 500 years in the small village of Pers di Majano, in the province of Udine, Italy.  Udine is situated in Northern Italy and the dialect spoken in this particular area is Fruilan.

The Family were share farmers and worked for the landowner, in this way the family survived.

Livio's ( my Dad) Mother was not an educated woman who could neither read nor write. She worked in the silk factory from the age of 11.

Livio's Father had one year of formal education. He could read and write. Was apprenticed to a shoe maker for 12 months until his Father died and he was required to run the family farm with his two sisters.

Milk from  the farmers in the village was taken to a community cheese factory where each week a particular farmer would be rostered to do the tasks involved with cheese making and this cheese would be taken as payment for that farmer.

Village life was poor financially, and pleasures were simple.  A love of music and getting together of an evening with other villagers, sitting around exchanging stories, sharing a drink or a game of cards in the small local osteria.

My father (Livio) would ride a pushbike 70 kilometres to obtain snuff for his father, who had a likeness for this.  No money was available to purchase snuff, however Livio would exchange for a chicken or eggs from the farm.

The women used the river for the laundry and would walk 1 1/2 kilometres, carrying their bundles of soiled items, the articles would then be immersed and beaten on the rocks for cleaning.  Then the walk back home, this time with the wet clothes, a much heavier load.

To buy yarn for spinning and working the women would need to walk 25 kilometers and then 25 kilometers on the return trip.

Prior to the onset of WWII, when Hitler was forming his youth armies, Livio's family were obtaining free books for the young to attend school.  When the law was passed for free books to be given only when the young boys had purchased boots and joined the youth army, Angelo, Livio's father, could not afford to buy boots and so decided Livio had received enough education and would be better able to assist the men in the fields at home.  So at the age of 11 years Livio would rise with the men at daylight and make his way to work until dusk fell. None of the family joined the youth army. (Dad was 13 years of age before he owned his first pair of shoes)

To survive, the family lived together and all members had their own tasks and for some it meant leaving home and going to work in France or Switzerland for a time to bring money back for the others.  These were the lucky members of the community as with the opportunity for work away  monies were used for the benefit of all.  Having a farm there was always food of some description.  Good food but sometimes monotonous in regularity.
After the WWII, times were very hard in Italy. Livio and two  of his younger brothers went to Milan, looking for work in the brick factories.  Food was so scarce and the brothers were so weak from hunger they realised to live, it would be neccessary to return to the farm.

With so many persons living together beds had to be shared and so sometimes a bed held more than two or three.  For some years 23 persons lived together, with brothers marrying and bringing their wives and children home.  The work was divided into sections, men on the land, some women would cook , while other women would do the laundry and cleaning, while others were responsible for the care of the children.  There was also the care of the cattle and the cleaning of the stables, also women's work.

Cattle were precious and lived their life being cared for and fed in the stalls below the bedrooms.  This meant cleaning and feeding every day, all the year.

In 1948 Livio served a compulsory twelve months in the Artilieria Montagna (Army).

Although a happy family, at the age of 26 years, it was plain to Livio that to make a better life and build a family it would be necessary to emigrate to either Canada or Australia.  This took an enormous amount of courage, for he had no English language, no money and no particular trade.  But he was rich in courage, determination and the will to survive and build a better life.  When his papers arrived, in 1952, the first to arrive were from Australia.

Livio immigrated to Australia in 1952.


  1. some info on the ship Dad came to Australia on: ( approximately a 28 day voyage)

    Hellenic Prince was also one of the most unusual looking ships converted for the purpose of an Immegration vessel. In 1924, the Royal Australian Navy ordered a seaplane carrier, With a complement of 450 officers and ratings, it could carry six seaplanes, which were stored in a hangar forward, and lowered into the water by a crane aft.
    Hellenic Prince arrived on 20 December 1948 at the C H Bailey Ltd shipyard at Barry in Wales, to be converted for the Australian migrant trade. The work involved the original hangar being divided into two decks, and accommodation installed for 1,000 persons. Amenities provided included a 560 seat dining room, three hospitals and a cinema.

  2. I was always under the impression that when Dad left Italy it would have been planned over a period of time..

    This was not the case. Dad told me that he was told by a friend that the Hellenic Prince was at the Port of Naples and immediately went home, packed his few belongings and had left without the opportunity of saying his good byes to friends and family members. I found that quite a shocking revelation.

  3. Dad emmigrated to Australia on a Government Scheme which would see him employed for two years, however, the Government of the day cancelled their part of the contract, due to hard times, three months after he entered Australia, so without the English language, no family members and very little money or possessions Livio set about establishing himself and in the same time sending what ever monies he could back to Italy for his Mother. ( we have since learned that the brother who was receiving this money never passed it on to its intended recipient).

    Dad was also responsible for sponsoring two brothers to Australia adn settling them both with homes and families. He also assisted in sponsoring his Sister in Law and Niece to Australia. (infact Dad sent the money for his two brothers to purchase tickets to sail to Australia.. this money was spent and Dad purchased the fares for them and forwarded their tickets to them at a later date)

    Dads brothers have never offered any monies in payment or part payment to Dad. Dad paid for their Fares, and put money into their land and homes as well as their businesses.. and as you read above .. he forwarded funds home to his mother that were never passed to her.. very heartbraking to have ones trust broken in such a way

  4. Dad has worked as..

    Labourer on a Fruit Orchard
    Saw Doctor
    Builders Labourer
    Boiler Maker

  5. this song always reminds me of my Father. I used to play it for him on my saxophone and he would sometimes request it..

  6. hi angie... gotta make a phone call so will be back here later tonight or tomorrow..

    (why open to just knight and me? it looks from-a-glance like it's a truly interesting roots-story... i think others'd love to read it.. certainly, pea..)

    anywayyyyy, back later... hope you're doing all-in-all okay

  7. howdy Dave(id),

    Obviously this was too long to put in your comment section on MMM blog. I thought that considering you include so much of your personal information with me, that I would share my Dad's story with you . Im not sure that many will find this interesting reading.. obviously to me it is, but thats cause its about my family.

    Manfred is someone whome I also trust and respect. He, too, is very open in what he shares about himself with me so for that reason I included him also. (Hello there Manfred, when you get here lol)

  8. okay.... (tho i still think pea, and maybe some others, would find your family story interesting)......

    and.. pea and i just started playing lit (so i've not read your post yet)... and if you're around and want to make a conference, we'd join you...

    oh, and hey there, manfred...

  9. Thanks, David.

    Truly an amazing story, Angie. I had no idea your people came from Italy. I suppose with most Australians, such as it is with most Americans, the majority of your people came from somewhere else, originally.

    Life was indeed tough, throughout most of history for most people, which is why many emigrate to other lands. And yes, it is extremely tough to leave one's home and perceived security for distant lands and the unknown, and it is only the few, the courageous, who make such a move.

    Thanks for sharing, Angie.


  10. Manfred, Im so pleased you found your way over here to read this. Yes, I find that knowing where Dad came from and the circumstances of his life makes me understand him better.
    When I compare the life I was fortunate to experience, that Dad made possible, I know I have much to be grateful for.
    I also find it amazing that Dad lived in so much poverty in a span of three generations...SO much has changed

  11. read your dad's story..... (other than wishing he'd've moved to canada 'stead of australia, ya know, the montreal area so you n' mimer's could be friends and then you two would hang out with keerah and jen at the a-dacks), what a story.... all that work and more and more work.... no shoes til 12... no english speaking abilitiy and yet moving to a new land... courageous and then some....

    <- respects livio.....

    thanks for the roots...