Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group

AGM REPORT – December 9, 2014 / 6.30 pm

by Chairman, Art Phillips (Arturo Di Filippo)

2014 has been an eventful year where we’ve achieved a great deal of positive forward progress. I want to start by thanking Co.As.It., in particular Thomas Camporeale, Sara Villella, the Co.As.It. Board, and the Italian Family History Group (IFHG) 2014 Committee:

Anthony Ravesi – Vice Chairman Maria Linders – Treasurer & Secretary Roberto Giunta – Vice Chairman Dominic Arrivolo
Antonio Luciano
Fabian Loschiavo
Josie Valli
John Re
Michael Megna
Francesca Rullo
…….and of course….’myself’ as Chair.

We also thank Diana Manganaro and Sue Lopes who were on our 2014 Committee, but due to family and work commitments needed to step down half way through the year.

The IFHG continued to provide the community with the opportunity to research, record, and celebrate Italian heritage, under the auspices of Co.As.It., where we attract an audience with an extensive program of featured guest speakers.

We started the year off with securing the main performance hall at the Italian Forum Cultural Centre for our events where we held programs from February through September. The new performance space worked well, and it allowed us to alter the manner in which we conduct our events via advanced staging

techniques and a fresh new format. We gratefully thank the ACA, who have been leasing the space, for their support throughout the year.

As of October 2014 we have now secured Palace Cinemas, Cinema 1, on Norton St, Leichhardt, which proves to be a perfect event theatre for our programs. I am excited to report that we have locked in all our event dates for 2015. The visual and audio quality at the theatre is without a doubt, upwards of exquisite, and the comfort of the seats is just superb for our guests. We thank Antonio Zeccola and family for embracing our cause, their belief in what we do and their wonderful support. Aside from the amazing feel of the venue, our guests receive discounted parking at the cinema car park and / or also at the Coles shopping complex parking lot. We also have access to their concession stand for food and drink – prior, during and after….which is a great touch. I encourage all to sit back at our events in 2015 and enjoy some refreshments, even a box or 2 of popcorn – but please chew quietly per favore !

Our 2014 guest speaker line up included: Lucio Galletto (restaurateur), Dr Ilma Martinuzzi O’Brien (topic: Internment of Italians in Australia), Chris Iacono of Bunna Bunoo Olive Grove, Dr Anne Rogerson from Sydney University (topic: Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius in 79AD), Antonio Zeccola of Palace Cinemas, Gabriella Della Vedova Conti (author of Sulle Ali dell’Arcobaleno), Frank Caruso of Caruso’s Natural Health, Joe Avati (comedian, actor and producer) and Cristoforo Garigliano (Italian migrants from Sicily in the 1950s and 60s – work ethics, music, family stories and rare documentary films).

The average attendance at the events was between around 60 ~ 75 guests, except for the Joe Avati program where we had upwards of 135 attendees.

In 2014, we produced an IFHG website,
implemented a dedicated IFHG email address,
we now produce electronic newsletters with embedded visual and audio content, film many of our events throughout the year, and have started webmercials – an advertisement for events featuring a visual chat from the key guest speaker.

We also created clearance forms for our guest speakers, which bears the right to film their event, lodge it in our achives, and to loan the DVD or quicktime of the event from the Co.As.It library, which is finding a new home very soon.

Our biggest achievement in 2014 is the creation and implementation of
The Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group ‘Policy and Procedures’ document approved by the Co.As.It Board, aligning to the Co.As.It Memorandum of Association and Articles.

As part of this new policy document, we have created an official IFHG membership status at a cost of $ 5.00 per year, where we currently have 36 fully paid members to the IFHG.

We have formalized our program event entry fees, now $ 5.00 per person, and have adjusted the start and end times of our events, 6.45 for 7.15 start, and finish by 8.45pm.

The Group revised our ‘Mission Statement’ and ‘Aims & Objectives’, as part of the policy document, which can be viewed at our website.

We’ve printed new IFHG brochures and our Four Generation (‘get started’) Family Chart.

In 2014, we held seven (7) full committee meetings and nine (9) program events. As per our Policy document, we are required to conduct committee meetings at least every 8 weeks.

The Group are fortunate to have a few new sponsors, including: Strata Choice, The NSW Community Relations Commission (via a Grant), Bunna Bunno Olive Grove and Palace Cinemas.

We received two grants, $ 3,500 from Leichhardt Council and $ 1,000 from The NSW Community Relations Commission.

We thank all our sponsors: Leichhardt Council, The NSW Community Relations Commission, Palace Cinemas, Web Video, IFHN, Strata Choice, Bunna Bunno Olive Grove and Frank Moschella (wines).

We have secured our 2015 program event dates and many speakers, including:

25 February – John Barnes, President of ‘New Italy’
25 March – Max Bosotti, CEO of The Paraplegic and Quadriplegic

Association of NSW 22 April – Dr Cristofo Garigliano, migrants folk music

27 May – Paola Bacchia, ‘Italy on my Mind’ – an Italian food blog, about the culture of her parents – where food unravels memories of the past, love and Italian culture.

24 June
26 August
23 September
28 October – Joe Avati, comedian, actor and producer
25 November – Danielle Gullaci, editor – Italianicious Magazine

Italianicious Magazine will publish a featured article in their March 2015 issue about our Group, presenting history of The Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group, and the importance of family ancestral research, along with a few key websites and suggestions for interested parties to begin their family research work.

In 2014, Maria Linders (treasurer) began small group information sessions for the IFHG on how to effectively research and record your family data.

In May 2014, The Italian Week Festival in Brisbane featured the IFHG as an important part of their program, where archiving expert and past IFHG Vice Chairman, Fabian LoSchiavo presented information on ‘how to search your family history effectively and create a family tree’. Fabian LoSchiavo is of Aeolian descent and spent 31 years as a reference archivist in the public reading room of State Records NSW at The Rocks, Sydney. At the festival, I spoke about the IFHG’s 14-year history, and discussed our ‘Mission, Aims & Objectives’. I also spoke of my Italian heritage and the tribute to my father and grandfather, in the release of the CD entitled Chitarre Acustiche D’Italia. I also performed four traditional Italian song selections on acoustic guitar to entertain the audience.

The festival also featured the IFHG’s featured guest speaker from 29 May, Dr Anne Rogerson, to present the topic ‘Pompeii in 79 AD and Italy’s greatest disaster’. There was an audience base of approximately 210 attendees during the festival which took place at the Treasury Casino Brisbane.

We were just invited to produce the same program here at the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) in June 2015.

Our facebook page is now live, where we have 190 likes and have reached over 36,500 people.

We have a new website and facebook maintenance person on board to work monthly with updating both our site’s, on the Committee’s instructions.

There is a bus trip scheduled for 11 April (2015) and returning 13 April to ‘New Italy’ for the CARNEVALE ITALIANO FESTIVAL, which takes place on 12 April 2015 at Woodburn, NSW. The cost is $ 400 per person and there are still some seats available.

Our 2015 elections are now forthcoming this evening for new members of the Committee and Executive Committee. We encourage strong participation with our Committee going forward, and those who are keen on taking on certain duties throughout the year.

I thank our 2014 Committee and Executive for a wonderful job, and to everyone for their continued support in the Group and your belief in us.

Happy Holidays to you and your family.