|Country of Origin||Italy|
|Date of Birth||20/08/18|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1942|
|Submitted by||Rosemary Silvestri|
Augusto was conscripted into the Italian army as part of that country’s national service policy of the time. This was in 1937 and was supposed to last for no more than 2 years. Unfortunately the 2nd World War forced him to remain in the army working as a radio telephonist. He was posted to North Africa. He served in Ethiopia and Libya. He fought at Alamein and was captured but the British army along with many of his countrymen in 1941. The Bristish army housed her prisoners in Palestine.
While in the P.O.W. camp, Augusto, desperate for news from home, collected the materials necessary to create a crystal set. When his handy work was discovered by his British captors he and some collaborators were given over to the charge of the Australian Army who moved their P.O.W.s to Bopal in India and then to the Mildura region of Victoria, Australia.
Augusto was born on a farm in rural Lazio/Umbria central Italy and was not keen on spending the rest of the war behind fences in Australia, so when the opportunity to volunteer to work on farms in north-east Tasmania came he was ready to go. He was sent to Ringarooma and was remembered by people who knew him as being a friendly, trustworth and hardworking man. at the conclusion of the war Augusto was repatriated to Italy arriving in the port of Naples a few short days before Christmas in 1947. He proceeded to walk home, a journey which was difficult and took around six days. He arrived home to find his belovd father had died as a result of an accident caused by contact with unexploded U.S. Army ordinance he contacted while cutting grass in his field.
Italy was in turmoil as a result of the war and the small farm needed to support six families. Augusto could not see a future for himself so he made contact with one of the friends he had made during his time in Tasmania. Harold Schramm was pleased to act as sponsor for his Italian friend so Augusto returned to Tasmania to work in a local Launceston brickyard 1949. He spent his spare time catching rabbits using a double barrelled shotgun he had bought with him from Italy. The money he earned from the skins paid for a modest block of land near to where he worked. As more Italian migrants arrived to work on the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Schemes, Augusto spent a great deal of time working as a court interpreter. The extra funds he earned were put towards the purchase of bricks for the construction of a modest three bedroom house on the piece of land he purchased earlier. An Italian friend he worked with in court interpreting introduced Augusto to his sister Biagina who wanted to migrate, with other members of her family to Australia. A marriage was arranged and duly solemnised in 1953. Things were looking up. Unfortunately Biagina gave birth to a stillborn son and died days later from the complication associated with the birth of the child.
Time passed and Augusto started to go to the local dances and it was there he met Elsie Dally whom he married in April 1956. Together they had three daughters whom they raised and educated to the best of her ability. Elsie’s family accepted their mixed family with open arms. They could claim ancestors from Germany, England and Ireland. Elsie’s great, great grandfather Edward had come from Somerset in England in 1832 with a family of four sons and two daughters. A fifth son had been born en route. William, his elder son was responsible for the discovery of gold at Beaconsfield, Tasmania in 1877.
As one of Augusto and Elsie’s children I have come to appreciate the wonderful contributions migrants have made to this nation. I am proud of my heritage and the way it has and continues to enrich my life.
Augusto and Elsie are both dead now but Augusto always maintained that the misfortunes he suffered as a result of the war and his time as a POW were in the long run his greatest fortune.