Italian Family History Group Report

October 23 2013

A casual and interesting evening was experienced by those 43 people who attended this month’s meeting to hear Sydney’s Italian Consul General, Sergio Martes. There were ten apologies received, at a time in Sydney when threatening bush fires were raging in the State.

Our Chairman, Dominic Arrivolo, acted as presenter for the last time as he later indicated that he would be standing down from that position after fourteen years at the helm.

Dominic thanked Pina Leyland of Co.As.It., for her assistance in the preparation of the submission to Leichhardt Council for this year’s Seniors Grant from Leichhardt Council.

A communication from The Monash University has come to hand, calling for children born to Italian migrants between 1920 and 1980 to be interviewed and tell their personal stories which would be recorded and kept for historic purposes at The National Library in Canberra. Copies of the letter were distributed for those who might wish to participate. The project is being recorded and carried out in conjunction with La Trobe University, and ABC Radio National will subsequently run a series of radio programs on this subject at a later date.

Dominic stated he had come across some surprising and interesting statistics regarding numbers of Italian migrants living in each State at intervals from 1901 -1947 – 1981.

Our guest speaker, the Italian Consul General Sergio Martes spoke very liberally of his family. His dad came from Tuscany; his mother from Sardinia where Sergio was born. He revealed other ancestral details of his family, and showed a number of family artefacts for all to see of items that had been handed down to his family.

Mr Martes was fortunate enough at school to receive a scholarship which took him to the mainland of Italy. Events that followed led him to continue his studies at universities and a diplomatic career.

He was posted to Spain, where he met his wife. His postings have taken him to Portugal, Germany, Russia and now Australia.

Mr Martes took many questions, some of which related to citizenship which is extremely complex and controversial. The Italian legislation is most difficult to comprehend. However, it was clear that once an Italian renounces his Italian citizenship the task of regaining it is virtually impossible.

It was wonderful to have the Italian Consul General as our guest speaker and it was an occasion to remember.

Our final meeting for the year will take place next month, which will see us enjoying the evening with entertainer Tony Di Marti, followed by a light buffet supper.

The meeting concluded at 8.45pm as we retired to La Giara restaurant.