Giuseppe & Maria-Maddalena Piola
|Town/City||Port Macquarie NSW 2444|
|First name||Giuseppe & Maria-Maddalena|
|Country of Origin||Italy|
|Date of Birth||20/1/1939 & 18/12/1943|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1966|
|Submitted by||Giuseppe (Joe) Piola|
It was more the sense of adventure than the comprehensive knowledge of the country that brought us to the shores of this vast continent. We were virtually ignorant of what we were to be confronted with, when one considers that we were imagining the wildlife mixing with people during every day activities and cities and towns resembling the ones of the American far west as seen in the movies.
On top of that, our imagination was highly impressed by the stories narrated by the sugar cane cutters talking of snakes jumping out of the ground all around them. Or, maybe, it was also the astonishment that struck me when, looking at the map of Australia, I noticed the existence of a town called CASINO, meaning brothel in Italian, which made me think that this was certainly ” the land of milk and honey”.
In any case we submitted our application for residency and after twelve months of intense scrutiny for health and character, we were granted a visa for a permanent stay. We borrowed the money for the flight and finally landed at the old Sydney airport to be confronted by the first shocking surprise. The person who was supposed to meet us was not there. One can only try to visualize the feeling of a young couple in a totally foreign country, with nobody who could or wanted to understand Italian, unable to communicate in English and surrounded by an almost hostile look of the custom officers. We felt as if we had just landed on a different planet and I will never forget the grip that suddenly tightened my stomach.
Then, as always, things were settled in various ways. We met two of the most amiable couples by the name of Bruna and Livio Sain as well as Emilia and Fabio Castro who are to this day still our best mates. Through the years we worked at different jobs and started raising our two children who are now happily married, Elizabeth with Michael and Richard with Kelly and are exemplary members of this society. We are also immensely proud of our two grandchildren Grace and Owen.
Everything considered, this adopting country (apart from the occasional remark by some narrow minded individual in reference to the new Australian situation ) has been good to us. What we immediately appreciated was the lack of social strata, the still relatively limited bureaucracy and the ample space to move.
The day after we landed, we immediately enrolled in an English language course, bought “The Sun” newspaper, that obviously we could not understand, and for more than twenty years we never read an Italian publication concentrating all our linguistic energies towards the learning of the language.
Nevertheless, even if we regard ourselves as Australians born in Italy, we never forgot our country of origin. In fact I have been teaching Italian at the local Community College for many years.
We are now settled in a beautiful town of the Mid North Coast of NSW called Port Macquarie, from where, unless something dramatically changes our situation, we think that we will reach our exit from this world in a graceful way and walk into the history of this country thanks to this well thought out programme to which we were kindly introduced by our children.