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ANMM Spotlight: Has your family migrated to Australia?

In 1921, Anna and Giuseppe settled in Sydney and had three further children, Anne, Mary and Anthony, before returning to Salina in 1927 to collect Irene. It was unimaginably hard for her – she spoke only Italian and her siblings spoke only English. The term “multiculturalism” didn’t exist in Australia then – you had to speak English!

Giuseppe Pittorino serving a customer in his Kogarah shop, in 1932. It was a mixed store selling fruit, vegetables, sweets, chocolates, ice cream, tobacco and firecrackers. Courtesy ANMM.
Giuseppe Pittorino serving a customer in his Kogarah shop, in 1932. It was a mixed store selling fruit, vegetables, sweets, chocolates, ice cream, tobacco and firecrackers. Courtesy ANMM.

The only time life became fraught with tension was during World War II, when some Australians viewed them as “the enemy”. Many Italians’ shops were targeted by flying stones, breaking glass windows and police searches. On one occasion, 14-year-old Anthony had his map of the world confiscated by the police. For the most part however, the family and their shop were safe.

Australia afforded Giuseppe, Anna and Bartolomeo a comfortable life. They became Australian citizens and were fondly regarded by the community.

A family portrait: Giuseppe, Anna and their five children (Irene, Anne, Mary, Anthony and Agnes).
A family portrait: Giuseppe, Anna and their five children (Irene, Anne, Mary, Anthony and Agnes).

Sadly, Anna died in April 1955. Giuseppe passed in June 1963, followed by Bartolomeo that December.

Their legacy lives on through their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, who share the same beliefs in being self-reliant and hardworking to achieve goals. Today, the facade of 294 Rocky Point Rd, Ramsgate, still bears the “PITTORINO BROS 1929” sign.

The Australian National Maritime Museum on Darling Harbour is open daily from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm. The Welcome Wall is free to be viewed by the public and open all hours.

Brought to you by the Australian National Maritime Museum

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