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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Sociology »

Maria Tence on Italian contributions to Australia's social and economic development

Mara Moustafine and Maria Tence.



Date Added:

21 April 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

8.1 MB




Because the Italian community was obviously one of the biggest non-English speaking communities the impact has been Ė has been quite substantial. From just you know, the ordinary thing of the daily food and fashion. Italian women made a huge impact on the fashion industry at the time, unfortunately itís all gone overseas now but  at the time, they were the backbone of the fashion industry in Melbourne.
The Italian community is very proud of its contribution and should be very proud of its contribution. But my view is that itís got to a point now where they are not taking themselves an advocate role and theyíre not championing some of the issues that they themselves experienced in their early migration, they have become distanced from those issues today. So, for me, itís a sad indictment that theyíve become quite complacent. In terms of their contribution to general society, yes it has been huge. In terms of their continuing contribution to future societies and our new and emerging communities, I think a little bit more could be done and they could voice their concerns much more stronger than has been.
We canít go past cuisine and thatís just because itís such an easy thing to get people to accept. I think Italian women have made a huge contribution, a silent contribution. You know, if you look at my motherís generation, what they put up with in trying to find their own place from a society where they didnít work to a society where they worked and contributed I think their contribution is underrated and undervalued. And I think generally the individuals, my contemporaries and peers are now involved in across the spectrum, a cross-social spectrum and hopefully are making a contribution based on their own cultural background and using that to benefit the work they do  as individuals and perhaps the broader society. Iíd like to think that we can still do that.
End transcript