Emilio Arturo, Lucia, Norma & Lino Costa
|Town/City||Montville Q 4560|
|First name||Emilio Arturo, Lucia, Norma & Lino|
|Country of Origin||Italy|
|Date of Birth||21.01.1890, 19.02.1896, 15.09.1919, 25.01.1922|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1922, 1923|
|Submitted by||Lucy Marchant|
Emilio Arturo, son of Oraste & Enrica Costa was born in Santorso, Italy.
Eldest son in a family of 8, he had a primary education and worked as a farm labourer and builder.
Drafted into the army in the 1st World War he was sent to the front line. Caught up in enemy fire he was wounded, shot in the arm and hit by shrapnel. Captured and taken prisoner he spent 3 years in a forced labour camp in Germany. Returning from the war Emilio married his sweetheart Lucia, daughter of Dionisio & Brigida Strazzabosco. Norma was born on 15 September 1919, followed by son Lino on 5 January 1922. Times are very hard in Italy after the war so much so Emilio was forced to go out at night and raid the vegetable gardens of the wealthy to help feed his family. Emilio decided to emigrate to Australia to seek a better life. He had to work hard to earn enough money to repay his father the cost of his voyage and bring out his wife and children to join him. Setting sail on 13 April 1922 he arrived in Sydney on 4 June 1922 where he went by train to Cairns and on to the Atherton Tableland. Mr Pellichetti, who had a small acreage outside Atherton gave Emilio work and lodgings. Within 12 months Emilio fulfilled his obligations and sent for his family.
Lucia, children Norma, 3 yrs and Lino, 18 mths sailed from the port of Naples on 2 May on board the ship Orsova, bound for Australia. Her beloved father’s wise parting words were still ringing in her ears, ‘My darling daughter, live by the laws of the land and you won’t go wrong’. Landing in Australia after 2 month’s sea voyage, on to Cairns by train, Lucia and children arrived in Atherton in 1923. Accommodation was very primitive. They had to set up house in a ripple iron barn which was petitioned off with one half used to store corn. This portion had a concrete floor, the other section a dirt floor with a couple of iron push-out windows. Beds were made up of wire netting stretched over wooden frames, mattresses stuffed with corn husks. A table was made of bush timber.
What a shock for Lucia, a young mother with 2 children living under these harsh conditions with the ever present danger of snakes and ticks. She proved to be a lady of great strength, courage and goodness. One can only imagine the hardships endured while also felling the rainforest to grow their crops.
In 1926 Emilio was able to lease a 170 acre property at Upper Baron with a cleared area where stood a small 4 roomed pine cottage with a verandah, corrugated iron roof, no ceiling or electricity, and a 1000 gallon water tank. No rent would be charged for the first 5 years on condition the land was cleared of scrub and rainforest. Thereafter rent would be set at 10 pounds/month. Trees were felled and burnt and corn seed sown between the stumps. Hardwood timber was flitched into rough slabs for building purposes and cut up for firewood. Slowly over the years they established a dairy herd of between 20 to 30 cows. Milking was done by hand, the cream separated and sold to Golden Grove Atherton and later to the Malanda Butter Factory. They grew corn, vegetables, raised pigs and chickens. A barn was erected to store the corn, a pig sty and chicken house built, all with the timber they cut on the farm. On 29 February 1928, Emilio, Lucia, Norma and Lino Costa proudly became naturalised Australian citizens. By 1936 the family had increased to 7 children, 5 girls and 2 boys.
The family struggled through the Depression of the 30’s, especially as Emilio’s health was becoming a concern. He was suffering with post-traumatic stress brought about by his war experiences and could no longer work. Deteriorating health saw him admitted into a nursing facility in Brisbane in 1945. He was never well enough to return home. Lucia and children carried on struggling to make a living but in 1947 the owner put the property on the market and Lucia was forced to sell the dairy herd and farm implements. Being a year of severe drought the poor condition of the cattle affected the sale. Proceeds were enough to purchase a house in Atherton. The children got jobs and later married.
Emilio Costa passed away in 1971 and his wife Lucia in 1979.
Norma married Italo Poggioli, a successful local farmer and has family still on the land. Lino married Shirley McLaren and took up farming at Millaa Millaa. Children born in Australia, Marjorie (Clarke), Clelia (Kaalund), Lucy (Marchant), Hilda (Campbell) and Frank, made a success of their lives. Offspring are farmers, businessmen & women, technician, engineers, policemen & women, potter, writers, artist, teachers, doctor, medical professionals, miners & developers.
Emilio Arturo & Lucia Costa, what a wonderful contribution you made to our nation, we salute you.