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Carlo Carli on The Italian Impact on public culture in Victoria

Carlo Carli.



Date Added:

21 April 2009


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I think the most obvious impact’s been in – in the built environment, going back to you know, I suppose, central Victoria where you’ve got towns like Daylesford which has obviously had the big influence. The artisans that came during the marvellous Melbourne period and were involved in building a lot of the mansions and that. People like Carlo Catani that did The Esplanade in St Kilda, the modern era, the Grollos and all the other builders. I think the impact on the build environment is the most dramatic one that you can witness.


I’m always a bit keen to try to work out what the impacts may have been in cultural, political and social life. Which are probably not all that tangible – well not as – not as obvious to be seen and it’d be nice to sort of try to – you know see whether some of that doesn’t intersect. I notice that it’s been a couple of books that have just been published recently, one was on Baracchi who was one of the founders of the – well founders of the Australian Communist Party.


Communism: A Love Story, I think that – I mean I think that’s an interesting character and I think, you know there’s a – there are more – there are others like him and I think that you know, it’d be interesting to see it and reflect on that. Like all, you know, communities, I mean people have provided different you know, have contributed to cultural, political, social life it’d be interesting to sort of reflect a bit on that. There was another book also on the – on that period of internment, which is sort of a period that, you know every so often someone writes a book about and we get – go back to but we sort of underestimate it. I mean, it’s a period where, you know 5000 Italians were interned and I think something like 15,000 Italian prisoners of war were brought to Australia and the authorities, you know, mixed fascists with anti-fascists and were pretty horrific consequences. And I think, you know, no one’s – certainly at a public level, or governmental level no one’s ever reflected on that. It probably is a need to sort of people to reflect on the continuity going back to its earliest migration.


I mean, it always struck me that when you look at Victoria, you had substantial numbers of Italians came as early as the 19th Century and certainly early part of the 20th Century and they were a little bit written out of history. And it took a long time before people remember them. Whereas in the post war, I think we’ve had much more of an attempt to follow it through – to follow that up.


End transcript