Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group

Quarterly Report

2nd Quarter 2015

The Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group (IFHG) continued to provide the community with the opportunity to research, record, and celebrate Italian heritage, under the auspices of Co.As.It.

On 22nd April, we enjoyed our guest speaker and IFHG Committee member Lina Raffaella Rapone, presenting her topic, I’m Italian…are You? …..with a focus on Italian migrants from the Abruzzo region in Italy, who settled and raised their families in the town of Griffith in southwest New South Wales.

On 27th May our featured speaker was Paola Bacchia, ‘Italy on my Mind’ – an Italian food blog about the culture and passion of Italy where food unravels memories of the past and love of family – and what a great night.  The audience of 58 guests, loved Paola, and during the following event meeting I introduced a new segment to our production format – a live SKYPE call to someone relevant to our purpose. Paola was our first Skype’d guest segment in June to surprise the audience with a short five minute chat together, direct from her office in Melbourne, where she was projected live on the big cinema screen.

For our 24th June event we had the pleasure of presenting our featured speaker Romeo Varagnolo, President of Associazione Giulian Sydney Inc., and Vice President of Federazione dei Circoli Giuliano-Dalmati d’Australia.  Romeo is a writer, satirical playwright and artist member of Lane Cove Art
Society. Mr Varagnolo will present the topic: ‘Why Trieste between 1943 1954 was under the control of Italy, Germany, Yugoslavia, Britain-America and  back to Italy. 10% of the population of Trieste left the city to migrate to Australia between 1954 – 1960’.

Our upcoming events now include:

26 August – Gennaro Abignano
Successful entrepreneur, one of Australia’s leading figures in the construction industry – from the late 1950’s he built a successful construction business which in 1981 was listed on the stock exchange as G Abignano Limited.

In 1986 the company changed its name to the ABIGROUP Ltd and remains one of Australia’s leading construction companies building motorways, bridges, dams, buildings & other major infrastructure works.

23 September – Professor Gaetano Rando
Born in Rome (Italy) in 1942, Professor Rando gained tertiary qualifications in Italian literature and linguistics at Australian and Italian Universities and has taught at the University of Western Australia, Griffith and Wollongong universities, the University of Auckland in New Zealand and universities in Perugia, Macerata, Florence, Lecce, Reggio Calabria and Catania in Italy.

He is a world authority on Italian-Australian studies and has published extensively on the language, literature and history of Italians in Australia.

28 October – Joe Avati, comedian, actor and producer
His parents are from Calabria, and some of his LIVE COMEDY show is performed in the Calabrese dialect

Avati’s observational brand of comedy have earned him comparisons to Jerry Seinfeld, and in promotions he is referred to as “the Italian Seinfeld”.

His observations are drawn from the life around his Italian family, particularly his experiences growing up. The characters and traits that JOE mentions seem to be universal in Italian families, which is why audiences familiar with this cultures are able to identify with him.

25 November – TBA


We thank Antonio Zeccola and family of Palace Cinemas for their continued support in 2015 for this wonderful venue.

We have applied for two Grants; Leichhardt Council ‘Community Grant Program’ and also to the Multicultural NSW “Celebration Grant’, and are awaiting results towards the end of next quarter.

The IFHG presented a two-hour information program on 4 June at the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) Sydney, on the topic of  ‘Effective ways to create and research your Italian family heritage’.  The program was very well received and we have been asked to present another in 2016, featuring both Maria Linders and Fabia LoSchiavo.

The Italian Family History Group hosted a bus trip on 11 April to ‘New Italy’ for the CARNEVALE ITALIANO FESTIVAL in Woodburn, NSW. The bus was
sold out and the 50 attendees enjoyed the weekend immensely. We thank Maria Linder’s, our secretary / treasurer, for organizing and administrating such a successful trip.

We are planning a similar trip in 2016 to an Italian festival in the Hunter Valley.

Our facebook page is doing well with over 450 likes:
https://www.facebook.com/ItalianFHG?ref=hl   The page has proven to be an effective advertising vehicle for the Group, in addition to our website.

The IFHG held a Committee meeting on 23 May and also held two (2) electronic meetings on 5 June and 18 June respectively.

We thank our very active Committee members, and in particular:  Maria Linders, Anthony Ravisi, Antonio Luciano, Josephine Valli and past our committee member, Diana Manganaro, who continues to be very active helping us out at our Palace Cinema events.

We have had sponsorship renewals, now extending into 2016.The Italian Family History Group thank Co.As.It. for their continued support, and our sponsors; Leichhardt Council, NSW Community Relations Commission (Multicultural NSW), Palace Cinemas, Strata Choice, SPHIC health insurance consultancy, Frank Moschella and Bunna Bunno Olive Grove.

Art Phillips

Chairman, The Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group