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Auguri Società Dante Alighieri 118 anni • 118 years

Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Auguri Società Dante Alighieri
118 anni • 118 years
Dante Alighieri Society
Branch office: 308 Drummond Street (PO Box 1124), Carlton VIC 3053
Telephone: (03) 9349 1143
Email: [email protected]
President’s Annual Report 2014
The new year presented the committee of the Dante Alighieri Society
with the challenge to continue and even improve on the good work
of past years despite a touch of anxiety and apprehension related
to our forthcoming role to host the Biannual National Conference
of the Dante Societies of Australia. Indeed our aim was to plan
and produce a useful and effective program and in my opinion, we
achieved this for all participants.
Once again I thank you all for entrusting me with the leadership
of the Dante Society Melbourne that is supported by a very
enthusiastic, efficient, hardworking and dynamic committee. This
year they took on comprehensive individual tasks and worked
collaboratively as a great dedicated team. The committee consists
of Paolo Baracchi (Secretary), Tania Barbati (coordinator of Primary
Schools’ Poster Competition), Agata Bonfà Colosimo (events),
Teresa Colaianni (Dante Giovani), Marco Lacivita (Films), Claudia
McLean (Administration), Ester Marcuccio (Coordinator of Poetry
and Literary competitions), Mary Marcuccio (Vice President), Donna
Salera (Multimedia competition) and Christina Siciliano (Treasurer).
Mille grazie to each of these persons for the great success achieved
this year.
I am honoured to welcome the new Consul General of Italy Dr Marco
Maria Cerbo and the newly appointed Ambassador His Excellency
Dr Pier Francesco Zazo and their respective consorts. The Dante
Society is very grateful for their support and their appreciation of our
activities in promoting the Italian language and culture.
The year’s activities began with the promotion of our major
competitions. One can only but be impressed with the enthusiasm
of the students that is supported by their dedicated teachers who
work so hard to meet the challenges put before them. Such evidence
is noted by an ever increasing number of participants which
reached 4008 students from 130 schools who took part in the
Literary, Poetry and Poster Competitions. The quality of work was
outstanding. Thousands of certificates were given and then prizes
of books and trophies were awarded to the final winners in each
category. I consider this activity and its final event, The Presentation
of Awards Night as “ The Jewel in the Crown” of all our activities
when all the hard work of almost a full year comes to completion
and the immense satisfaction that is felt by the organisers, students,
parents and teachers. Here I must express my sincere gratitude to the
coordinators Ester Marcuccio & Tania Barbati, who amongst their full
time employment find the time to keep up the regular communication
to the schools, organise timetables, write letters and perform
numerous other tasks that ensure the program is successful and
runs efficiently. I also thank Claudia McLean for all her clerical work
and for the assistance she gives to Ester and Tania from the office.
The committee is grateful for the collaboration of the University of
Melbourne represented by Prof John Hajek. I appreciate the support
of Mr Fernando Cardinale, president of the Casa D’Abruzzo Club in
Epping who sponsors every year the trophies given to prize winners.
A sincere thank you to Cav. Giovanna Guzzardi President of A.L.I.A.S
for the interest she demonstrates in the competition program and
thank you also to Mr Sergio Fazio, President and Avv. Tony Iacovino,
Secretary of the Italian Club Cavour for their contribution to the
multimedia competition. I am grateful to Donna Salera and her
creativity and for selecting the theme for this year’s competition 60
Anni della Rai ; 60 Years of Rai Radio/TV . It was good to see the
good quality of work produced by primary and secondary students.
Many thanks to all the teachers who prepared the students for all
the competitions, to the professional body of persons who were
asked to judge the various competitions and to the band of young
university students who took time from their study period to act as
ushers during the Poetry Recitation days. All this assistance is so
important for the smooth running of each competition.
The Conversation classes for students who study Italian at the VCE
level were carried out in 8 different locations as well as in Mildura.
I am very grateful to the school principals for allowing the Society
access to the school and the use of a classroom facility. I also wish
to thank the teachers who facilitate this program after school hours.
Their professional assistance and knowledge of the requirements for
the preparation of students for the final exam is invaluable.
Once again awards were given to students who attend the universities
of Melbourne, Monash, LaTrobe and Swinburne who excelled in their
Italian studies. The presentations were made at the annual Garden
Party that was held at the Assisi Centre for the Aged in Rosanna. I
thank the “Centre” and our sponsors Dr George Santoro , the family
of the late Prof. Colin McCormick and the Italian Medical Society for
this yearly well worthwhile and generous contribution. I also thank
Mrs Elsie Valmorbida and Mr & Mrs Eusebio & Giovanna Marcocci
for their sponsorship of $5000.00 each awarded to Patrick Burns
,(Music Director) and Mark Maliakal, (Arts Commerce student)
respectively for additional study and immersion into the Italian culture
in Italy. Mark is presently at the Scuola Dante Alighieri in Firenze,
Italy. I thank Patrick Burns for organising with us a Christmas Carols
concert that will be held next Sunday 14th December at St Mary’s
Church at 5.30pm I hope to see many of you there.
Thank you to Marco Lacivita for arranging to screen a series of
Italian films. These were well attended by members and friends and
the social aspect was truly enjoyable. His expertise in the selection
of films is an asset to us.
A new initiative Il salotto di Dante was implemented and thankyou
to Mrs Laura Tresoldi for giving her time each fornight. It is hoped
that such gatherings can continue next year so that participants
can continue to share their understanding and appreciation of good
Italian literature and to mingle socially for a few hours.
Lessons on La Divina Commedia continue via skype with Prof Carlo
Pennarola and I commend the students for their dedication and
The Lectura Dantis was once again a huge success and thank you to
all the readers, the musicians and especially to Mr Nicolas Panayotis
who organised the presentation.
The visits to the National Gallery of Victoria for the exhibitions Italian
Masterpieces from Museo del Prado in Spain and Illustrations from
La Divina Commedia by William Blake were very informative. I
thank Claudia McLean who liaised with Ms Caterina Sciacca, events
organiser and historian from NGV, who gave a comprehensive
presentation of the Italian Masterpieces on display.
The Dante Society is proud to be of assistance to NOMIT (Italian
Network of Melbourne) a recently formed group of professional
people targeting young Italian migrants, some of them on temporary
working visas.
The annual lunch to celebrate Dante Alighieri Society’s foundation
was held at the Gelobar – L’ Amour Room in Lygon Street
Brunswick. Mille grazie to Avv. Pino Acquaro for his hospitality and
the service from his staff. The day was attended by over 60 people
and a significant number had to miss out because of limited space
– a sign of its success and a warning for future events!!! It was an
enjoyable occasion to celebrate 118 years and I thank our Giovane
Dante representative Teresa Colaianni for her preparation of the
birthday cake – a true Masterpiece!
A National Conference subcommittee was established and met
monthly prior to our ordinary committee meeting. I thank Tom Hazell,
President Emeritus and Anna Cavedon for accepting our request for
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
their input to the program. Joining the team were Federica Cologni
and Pina Iappozuto as well as Mary Marcuccio, Tania Barbati,
Claudia McLean, Paolo Baracchi and Donna Salera. The Dante
Alighieri Societies of Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand were
invited; but unfortunately these could not attend. Dr Alessandro
Masi General Secretary of Dante Alighieri Society Rome accepted
the invitation to attend but subsequently apologised for his inability
to attend due to unexpected circumstances. I thank Dr Masi for his
support in spirit as well as for providing us with beautiful medallions
to present to the attending presidents of the Dante Societies in
Australia and to distinguished guests.
We tried to incorporate a new direction into the conference program
in an effort to create an action plan in promoting our “raison d’etre”
(our purpose). “Quo Vadis? The Future of the Italian Language
in Australia” became the theme of our National Conference. We
proposed to debate current trends, barriers, opportunities, the
political involvement of policies and to inform the community of
our presence and our findings, coupled with some solutions for the
future viability of the Italian language. To this end we invited Victorian
and Federal politicians, Italian diplomats and politicians, principals
and teachers, university academics, teaching organisations, CoAsIt,
presidents of Italian Social clubs and others.
I thank our distinguished guests for their attendance and their support
of the Dante Alighieri Societies in Australia. I felt encouraged and
deeply moved as each of the speakers emphasised the important
role that the Societies have in preserving the presence of the Italian
language and the culture in Australia. I am therefore grateful to: Hon.
Senator Concetta Fierravanti–Wells, Hon Matthew Guy; Dr. Marco
Cerbo, Sir James Gobbo. Dr Lina Panetta and especially to Dr.
Joseph Lo Bianco, Prof John Hajek and Mr. Matthew Absalom for
their comprehensive and informative presentations.
A special thank you must be extended to the students who delighted
the audience with their excellent recitation of canti from La Divina
Commedia and their personal writing. I particularly wish to thank
CoAsIt for providing the conference room and other facilities in the
venue that made it comfortable and accessible to the interstate
participants and their accommodation arrangements. Thank you to
University Café for providing excellent catering; to Brunetti Café for
providing morning tea and breakfast and to Il Gambero on the Park
Restaurant for an excellent Gala dinner. I am especially grateful to
Lina Kadziela President of the Dante Society of Mildura who was
present at the Conference (photo below). I wish our newly found
“brother/prodigal son” every success in their work. It is our aim
to work collaboratively with them for the benefit of our common
As I attended various functions during the year I came to realise
that the general community and the Italian Government authorities
place a great deal of importance on the work of our Dante Societies
in Australia. More recently I felt very honoured to have been invited
to participate at the Italians Down Under Conference hosted by the
Italian Ambassador in Canberra and subsequently to meet the Hon.
Matteo Renzi (see photo), Presidente del Consiglio, during his visit
in Sydney during the G20.
Recently we were saddened by the news of the passing of our
beloved President of Dante Alighieri Society in Rome, Ambasciatore
Bruno Bottai. He lived a brilliant diplomatic and political career,
followed by a long and effective leadership of the Society. He will be
missed by all. Our condolences are extended to his family.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of Ms Tania
Barbati who is retiring from the committee after 5 years of volunteer
service. I thank her for her interest and involvement in all the
activities of the Society. I commend Tania’s passion for the Italian
language and I appreciate the contribution and energy with which
she has worked especially as coordinator of the poster competition.
Tania will be sadly missed by me and the other committee members.
Grazie di vero cuore!
We of the Society are indebted to the work and assistance given by
Mr Pat Rocca our honorary Accountant and Auditor and to his staff
and for their collaboration with our treasurer Christina Siciliano who
carries a big responsibility. Thank you to each of you; all the work is
very much appreciated.
Mille grazie also to all the co-opted members who have been of
great assistance throughout the year.
Finally, I thank Mary Marcuccio, Vice President for the support and
assistance she gives me and the other committee members in their
role and organisation of events. I thank my wife Leanne and Mary’s
husband Angelo for the work they do behind the scenes to assist in
every way possible so that “it all happens”.
Thank you to you the membership for your support. I wish you and
your families a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo
Dr. Dominic Barbaro, AM
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Enrico Mascioli
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Mill Park
Year 1
Angelina Pollard
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Box Hill
James D’Agostino
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
East Keilor
Equal 3rd Josephine Accardo
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Jordan Calderone
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
George Papazoglou
Northcote Primary School
Suri Nguyen
Mont Albert Primary School
Annika Lim
Mont Albert Primary School
Year 1
Malia-Rose Ferraro
St. Peter Julian Eymard School
Laila Mammarella
St. Margaret’s School, Maribyrnong
Bodhi Temple
St. Mark’s School, Fawkner
Year 2
Angelina Duong
St. Margaret’s School, Maribyrnong
Equal 2nd Sophie Vos
St. Peter Julian Eymard School
Cassandra Lennon
St. Peter Julian Eymard School
Equal 3rd Lucy Pellegrini
St. Anthony’s School, Alphington
Eden Fraser
St. Bede’s School, North Balwyn
Year 3
George Kardaras
St. Bede’s School, North Balwyn
Amy Bartolo
St. Carlo Borromeo School, Greenvale
Sandu Weerasinghe
St. Francis Xavier School, Box Hill
Year 4
Equal 3rd
Timothy Mallidis
St. Andrew’s School, South Clayton
Giorgia Rivans
St. Andrew’s School, South Clayton
Rocco Pitruzzello
St. Carlo Borromeo School, Greenvale
Ella Van Schaaik
St. Francis Xavier School, Box Hill
Year 5
Equal 2nd
Grace Palumbieri
Glenferrie Primary School
Tracey Trinh
St. Augustine’s School, Yarraville
Sabrina Nguyen
Northcote Primary School
Hannah Kelly
Northcote Primary School
Year 6
Maggie Enniss
St. Francis Xavier School, Box Hill
Ella Minuzzo
St. Francis Xavier School, Box Hill
Paris Glover
Glenferrie Primary School
Emma Lazzaro
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Kate Puopolo
Year 2
Daniela Lorenti
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Marco Barotta
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora Altona
Alessia Rossi
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
East Kew
Year 3
Julia Chaperon
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
East Keilor
Isaac Borg
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Isabella Chaperon
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
East Keilor
Year 4
Sienna Pietrosante
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Mill Park
Daniela Morali
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Box Hill
Alexandra Montano
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Year 5
1st Luke Solano
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Stefania Rossi
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
East Kew
Equal 3rd Nicolas Spataro
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Elena Bonomo
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Box Hill
Year 6
1st Mia Ranalletta
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Giulia Perri
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Mill Park
Equal 3rd Olivia Hatzidakis
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Lara Partridge
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Year 9 Madre Lingua
Patrick Ferro
St. Bernard’s College, Essendon
Clarissa Polifroni
Marymede Catholic College
South Morang
Noela Ido
Bayside P-12 College, Altona
Year 9 Italian Australian
Laura Misale
Our Lady of Mercy College
Sienna Malavisi
Our Lady of Mercy College
Olivia Condina-Hibon
Avila College, Mount Waverley
Year 9 Non-Italian
Equal 1st Martin Ahumada
Mazenod College, Mulgrave
David Tonkich
St. Bernard’s College, Essendon
Equal 2nd De’Arne Cvetkovic
Avila College, Mount Waverley
Clarissa Smith
Siena College, Camberwell
Equal 3rd Benjamin Field-Papuga
Scotch College, Hawthorn
Tess Plowman
Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar
Year 10 Madre Lingua
Sarah Rosi
Mercy College, Coburg
Simone Carrivale
Lalor Secondary College
Year 10 Italian Australian
Massimo Mattioli
Whitefriars College, Donvale
Equal 2nd Gerome Curcio
St. John’s Regional College
Briana Pappalardo
Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar
Equal 3rd Josephine Mazzeo
Mount St. Joseph Girls College
Sofie Barass
Notre Dame College, Shepparton
Xavier Livingston
Strathmore Secondary College
Year 10 Non-Italian
Natasha Seegan
Sacred Heart Girls College, Oakleigh
Samuel Kerr
Scotch College, Hawthorn
Equal 3rd Devika Panicker
John Paul College, Frankston
Deborah Placidi
Killester College, Springvale
Year 11 Madre Lingua
Gaia Siligato
St. Monica’s College, Epping
Sarah De Fazio
Marian College, Sunshine
Year 11 Italian Australian
Equal 1st Heidi Bula
Academy of Mary Immaculate
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Lavinia Antoniazzi
Sacred Heart Girls College, Oakleigh
Equal 2nd Joshua Mezio
St. Monica’s College, Epping
Ilaria Matruglio
Victorian School of Languages
Cartia Pisano
Siena College, Camberwell
Year 11 Non-Italian
Georgia Pollard
Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon
Raphael Canty
De La Salle College, Malvern
Equal 3rd Caterina Apostolakos
Siena College, Camberwell
Rebecca Singleton
Strathmore Secondary College
Year 12 Italian Australian
Laura Mascitti
Our Lady of Sion College, Box Hill
Amelia Sfameni
Victorian School of Languages
Loredana Marchione
Victorian School of Languages
Year 12 Non-Italian
Equal 1st Constantinos Kavadias
Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon
Equal 1st Korey Kavadias
Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon
Demi Tran
St Albans Secondary College
Equal 3rd Charalambia Demetriou
Emmaus College, Burwood
Bethany McKay
St. Joseph’s College, Echuca
Year 11 Italian Australian - Individual Section
Amanda D’Arienzo
Mercy College, Coburg
Sophie Brugliera
Strathcona Baptist Girls’ Grammar
Lavinia Antoniazzi
Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Oakleigh
Year 12 Italian Australian - Individual Section
Andrea Carnevale
Our Lady of Sion College, Box Hill
Equal 2nd Brianna Gatto
Marymede Catholic College
Sth Morang
Natasha Pieri
Marymede Catholic College
Sth Morang
Nicholas Musto
Marymede Catholic College
Sth Morang
Year 12 Italian Australian - Pair Section
Anthony Chiodo
Jeremy Costa
Whitefriars College, Donvale
Year 12 Non-Italian - Individual Section
Alyssa Jopling
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Year 7 Italian Australian 1st
Emilia Rossi
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
East Kew Primary
2nd Isabella Solano
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Klarissa Theophanous
Gladstone Park Secondary College
Year 7 Non Italian
Ella Johnston
Gladstone Park Secondary College
Stephanie Vita
Brunswick Secondary College
Year 8 Italian Australian
1st Carly Ams
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
East Kew Primary
Stephen Franzese
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Year 8 Non Italian
Merna Harboly
Gladstone Park Secondary College
Brittany Duff
Gladstone Park Secondary College
Year 9 Italian Australian
Equal 1st Olivia Condina-Hibon
Avila College, Mount Waverley
Lorna Pellegrino
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
East Kew Primary
2nd Anthony Guida
Gladstone Park Secondary College
Vanessa Cincotta
Avila College, Mount Waverley
Year 9 Non Italian
Taylor Parker
Mc Guire College Shepparton
2nd Tanisha Rupesinghe
Avila College, Mount Waverley
Katharine Parker
Mc Guire College, Shepparton
Year 10 Non Italian
Justin Seymour
Associazione Culturale L’Aurora
Box Hill
Year 11 Madre Lingua
Riccardo Serbolonghi
Victorian School of Languages,
Year 11 Non Italian
Sasha Hermosa
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
College, Bentleigh
Year 12 Non Italian
1st Chrisoula Sotidis
Our Lady of Sion College, Box Hill
Aaron Wall-Rickwood
Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon
Jennifer Parker
Mc Guire College, Shepparton
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Il congresso 2014 della Società Dante
Alighieri in Australia rafforza l’unione
delle sezioni e ne rilancia il ruolo di
portabandiera della lingua e della
cultura dell’Italia.
Si è svolto a Melbourne dal 10 al 12 ottobre scorsi, nella sala convegni
del Coasit, il congresso biennale 2014 delle sezioni australiane della
Società Dante Alighieri in Australia. Organizzato dalla sezione di
Melbourne, il congresso si è incentrato sulle sfide che la Dante si
trova ad affrontare nel portare avanti e rendere sempre più efficace
la sua opera di tutela e diffusione della lingua e della cultura italiane
in Australia. Un compito che si va facendo sempre più arduo per via
del declino demografico degli australiani di madrelingua italiana. Agli
italiani di prima generazione sono subentrati i loro figli e nipoti nati
in Australia che, pur sentendosi legati all’Italia, non hanno sufficiente
familiarità con la lingua italiana e in molti casi stentano a trovare la
motivazione per acquisirla.
Per pura coincidenza il congresso ha avuto luogo con una settimana di
anticipo rispetto alla XIV edizione della settimana della lingua italiana nel
mondo e al grande convegno, sempre sulla lingua italiana nel mondo,
tenutosi a Firenze dal 20 al 22 ottobre per iniziativa dei ministeri italiani
degli Esteri e dei Beni Culturali.
Il congresso di Melbourne non ha potuto certamente competere
con simili avvenimenti ma la Dante d’Australia ha una storia ed
un’esperienza che poche altre istituzioni impegnate nella promozione e
nell’insegnamento della lingua italiana all’estero possono vantare, se si
pensa che la prima sezione australiana nacque a Melbourne nel 1896,
appena sette anni dopo la fondazione della sede nazionale di Roma.
Intitolato “Quo Vadis? The future of the Italian language in Australia”,
il congresso si è aperto la sera di venerdì 10 ottobre con una breve
cerimonia formale seguita da un rinfresco che ha generato un clima di
grande giovialità e affiatamento tra i delegati. A fare gli onori di casa è
stata il vicepresidente della Dante di Melbourne, Mary Marcuccio ,che
dopo avere dato il benvenuto ai partecipanti e alle autorità presenti
alla cerimonia, ha letto i messaggi di auguri inviati dal presidente della
sede centrale Ambasciatore Bruno Bottai, dal segretario generale dott.
Alessandro Masi e dall’Ambasciatore d’Italia in Australia dott. Pier
Francesco Zazo. É passata poi la parola al presidente della Dante Il
dott. Dominic Barbaro che nel suo discorso introduttivo ha messo in
evidenza le numerose attività della Dante in Australia ma ha anche
parlato delle difficoltà nelle quali essa si trova ad operare in un contesto
culturale ed educativo che privilegia lo studio di materie scientifiche e
tecnologiche disincentivando l’apprendimento delle lingue che, come
quella italiana, hanno un alto valore formativo e culturale. “Non c’è
dubbio che i problemi ci sono” ha affermato il dott. Barbaro invitando
i congressisti a prenderli seriamente in esame e ad elaborare assieme
strategie per contribuire a superarli. Il congresso, infatti, per la prima
volta ha adottato criteri di analisi e discussione che, come illustrato più
avanti, non si sono limitati, come succedeva nei congressi precedenti,
ad un consunto delle attività ma hanno aperto una visione più generale
e più tesa al futuro.
Al discorso del dott. Barbaro ha fatto seguito un vibrante intervento di
Tom Hazell, figura di rilievo storico della Dante di Melbourne essendone
stato socio per quasi mezzo secolo e presidente per oltre trenta anni.
Parlando in italiano, Tom Hazell ha voluto lasciare ai soci della Dante il
suo testamento morale, radicato nell’esperienza di un uomo che, pur
non essendo di origine italiana, ha fatto proprie la lingua e la cultura
dell’Italia, eleggendo quest’ultima a sua patria di adozione.
Alla cerimonia si era proposto di intervenire l’on. Marco Fedi, deputato
nel Parlamento italiano per la circoscrizione estera Africa, Asia, Ocenia
e Antartide, che però si è trovato costretto a cancellare l’impegno
per sopravvenute incombenze parlamentari ed ha affidato all’amico
e collaboratore Ivano Ercole il compito di rivolgere ai partecipanti al
congresso un suo messaggio di saluto e di vivo interesse e sostegno
per l’opera svolta dalla Dante Alighieri in Australia.
Ha concluso la serie degli interventi il console generale d’Italia per il
Victoria e la Tasmania, dott. Marco Maria Cerbo che ha manifestato un
forte apprezzamento per l’impegno della Dante nella promozione della
lingua italiana ed espresso parole di auspicio per un congresso ricco
di contenuti e prospettive.
I lavori del congresso hanno preso avvio nella prima mattina di sabato
11 ottobre con le relazioni del primo gruppo di sezioni operanti in
Australia. Assente la sezione di Tasmania e di Townsville che si è
trovata impossibilitata a partecipare ma va segnalato che lo Stato del
Queensland era ampiamente rappresentato dalle sezioni di Brisbane,
Cairns e della Gold Coast. Sono intervenuti nell’ordine, il vicepresidente
della sezione di Melbourne, Mary Marcuccio; il presidente della sezione
di Canberra, Franco Papandreu; il presidente e vicepresidente della
sezione di Brisbane, Elizabeth Jarvis e Rosalia Miglioli; il presidente
della sezione della Gold Coast, Giovanna Santomauro, e il presidente
della sezione di Cairns, Pauline Morris.
Sarebbe oltremodo lungo fare un resoconto di ogni singola relazione
ma nell’insieme si può dire che le sezioni del primo gruppo, come
quelle del secondo gruppo le cui relazioni sono state tenute nel
pomeriggio, nei due anni intercorsi dal precedente congresso, hanno
svolto un programma ricco di attività sulla base delle risorse umane
e materiali di cui hanno potuto disporre. Gli sforzi di tutte le sezioni si
sono concentrati su attività destinate soprattutto a stimolare l’interesse
dei ragazzi e dei giovani per la lingua italiana tramite concorsi poetici
e artistici e l’organizzazione di gruppi di conversazione per gli studenti
delle scuole superiori. Uguale impegno è stato posto nell’elaborare
attività culturali e sociali per i soci e simpatizzanti, riuscendo in alcuni
casi ad aumentare il numero degli iscritti e in altri ad arrestare il declino
del numero delle iscrizioni. Se si tiene presente che l’opera dei comitati
della Dante si svolge su base volontaria, la quantità delle attività e delle
iniziative realizzate è davvero ragguardevole e degna di lode. Le varie
relazioni, oltre a dare conto dell’operato di ogni singola sezione, hanno
messo in evidenza la tenacia e la determinazione con cui i dirigenti di
sezione portano avanti il loro lavoro.
Dopo le relazioni del primo gruppo di sezioni, vi è stata una serie di
interventi da parte di rappresentanti del mondo politico e istituzionale
australiano e italiano. Ha parlato per prima la senatrice Concetta
Fierravanti Wells, sottosegretaria del ministero federale dei servizi
sociali, venuta appositamente da Canberra per rendere omaggio al
lavoro svolto dalla Dante in Australia e all’alto contributo da essa dato
alla realtà multiculturale di questo Paese. Dopo l’on. Fierravanti Wells
hanno parlato, ciascuno esprimendo commenti altrettanto lusinghieri,
il ministro statale per la pianificazione, gli affari multiculturali e la
cittadinanza, on. Matthew Guy; il presidente emerito del CoAsIt ed ex
governatore dello Stato del Victoria, Sir James Gobbo e la direttrice
dell’Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Melbourne, dott.ssa Lina Panetta. Ad
ognuno di loro, come alle altre personalità intervenute al congresso, il
dott. Barbaro ha consegnato, in riconoscimento del loro sostegno, un
libro sul centenario della Dante di Melbourne e una delle medaglie di
benemerenza inviate alla sezione di Melbourne dal comitato centrale
di Roma.
Il congresso è quindi giunto ad uno dei suoi momenti più significativi
e qualificanti con l’atteso intervento del relatore ospite, dott. Joseph
Lo Bianco, professore di scienza e funzionalità del linguaggio presso
la Melbourne Graduate School of Education della University of
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Melbourne. Sulla base della sua lunga esperienza accademica e delle
sue ricerche, il dott. Lo Bianco, si è posto come tema del suo intervento,
l’interrogativo “Può la lingua italiana continuare a prosperare nel
sistema educativo australiano?”. Dopo aver preso in esame il rischio
che la lingua italiana subisca in Australia lo stesso avverso destino cui è
andata incontro in altri paesi come gli Stati Uniti, il Canadà e l’Argentina
dove, nonostante una cospicua presenza di cittadini di origine italiana,
è scarsamente parlata e scarsamente insegnata nelle scuole, ha
proposto come metodo educativo che ne assicuri la sopravvivenza il
modello denominato con l’acronimo COD, derivante dalle iniziali delle
parole inglesi “Capacity”, “Opportunity” e “Desire”, che per felice
coincidenza riflette anche le iniziali delle corrispondenti parole italiane
“Capacità”, “Opportunità” e “Desiderio”. Il dott. Lo Bianco è ricorso
anche ad un po’ di umorismo quando, traducendo in italiano la parola
“cod”, ha parlato di modello “baccalà” riuscendo a destare il sorriso
e a tenere vivo l’interesse del pubblico. Il modello COD è frutto di una
ricerca condotta nell’Università di Ginevra alla quale ha contribuito lo
stesso Lo Bianco e introduce un approccio innovativo all’insegnamento
linguistico basato su tre elementi fondamentali senza i quali il processo
di apprendimento tende ad entrare in crisi e inaridirsi. I tre elementi si
esprimono appunto nella necessità di infondere nell’allievo fiducia nella
sua “capacità” di apprendere una lingua, dargliene la “opportunità” e
accenderne il “desiderio”. La sfida, dunque, per le sezioni della Dante
in Australia – ha concluso il dott. Lo Bianco – è di adoperarsi affinché
questi tre elementi essenziali costituiscano il perno dell’insegnamento
dell’italiano in Australia. Solo così la nostra lingua “potrà continuare a
prosperare nel sistema educativo di questo Paese”.
L’insegnamento dell’italiano a livello universitario è stato il tema
affrontato da John Hajek e Matthew Absalom, due brillanti docenti di
lingua e letteratura italiana presso l’Università di Melbourne, i quali
hanno preso in esame una serie di dati statistici per fare il punto sul
flusso di studenti nei corsi di laurea rilevando una graduale decrescita
del numero delle iscrizioni collegabile al calo del numero degli studenti
delle scuole secondarie che portano l’italiano agli esami di maturità.
Come cambiare questa tendenza è uno dei problemi che la Società
Dante Alighieri non può certamente risolvere con le sue sole forze
ma che richiede uno sforzo comune da parte di tutte le istituzioni che
operano nel settore dell’insegnamento linguistico.
Dopo la pausa per il pranzo il congresso ha presentato un dibattito
sulla presenza della lingua italiana nei curriculi scolastici. Moderato dal
dott. Lo Bianco, il dibattito ha offerto la possibilità a numerosi operatori
e insegnanti di scambiarsi esperienze e idee disegnando un quadro
che, pur presentando difficoltà e problemi, ha dimostrato la vitalità che
continua ad animare quanti sono impegnati nell’insegnamento della
lingua italiana e nella promozione della cultura italiana in Australia.
Sono intervenuti nella discussione: Ferdinando Colarossi, direttore del
dipartimento scolastico del Coasit di Melbourne; Gabriella Bertolissi,
direttrice del programma di didattica linguistica del Victorian Curriculum
and Assessment Authority; Frank Merlino, preside del Victorian School
of Languages; Piero Genovesi, direttore dell’Italian Australian Institute;
Paolo Baracchi, coordinatore della Società Storica Italiana; Patricia
Sweeney, responsabile dei programmi di studio delle lingue dell’Our
Lady of Mercy College di Heidelberg; Gail Amato, vicepresidente
dell’Associazione Culturale Aurora; Ivana D’Aprano, coordinatrice
del programma di insegnamento linguistico della Brunswick South
Primary School; Teresa Colaianni, insegnante della St Andrew’s
Primary School di Clayton South; Pina Iapozzuto, insegnante di
italiano dell’Our Lady of Mercy College di Heidelberg; Kathy Marino,
coordinatrice del programma di insegnamento delle lingue del De La
Salle College di Malvern; Maria Calandro, responsabile del programma
Lote del McGuire College di Shepparton e Pina Dunne responsabile del
programma di insegnamento delle lingue del St Monica’s College di
Epping, una delle poche scuole secondaria del Victoria dove la lingua
italiana viene insegnata con il metodo CLIL (Content and Language
Integrated Learning) ovvero integrando lo studio di una materia con
l’apprendimento della lingua.
La giornata si è conclusa con le relazioni delle restanti quattro sezioni
di Perth, Mildura, Adelaide e Sydney. Hanno parlato, nell’ordine,
Carlo Pennone, vicepresidente della sezione di Perth; Lina Kadziela,
presidente della sezione di Mildura; Luciana d’Arcangeli, presidente
della sezione di Adelaide e Daniela Shannon e Ernesta Dias,
rispettivamente presidente e direttore della scuola della sezione di
Sydney. Le loro relazioni come quelle presentate dalle altre sezioni nella
sessione mattutina, hanno ulteriormente confermato la passione e la
dedizione con cui tutte le sezioni della Dante in Australia svolgono il loro
compito. Una menzione particolare merita la sezione di Adelaide che
si cura per tutto il territorio nazionale australiano del PLIDA (Progetto
Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri), un’iniziativa della Dante italiana che
offre a chi insegna e impara la lingua italiana un insieme di opportunità
fra cui la possibilità, tramite esami, di ottenere la certificazione della
competenza linguistica.
La sera di sabato tutti i congressisti si sono ritrovati al ristorante Il
Gambero on the Park di Lygon Street, via centrale del quartiere di
Carlton storicamente collegato all’immigrazione italiana in Australia, ed
hanno dato vita ad un allegro convivio durante il quale giovani e meno
giovani hanno unito le loro voci intonando motivi tradizionali italiani e
generando un clima di solidarietà e fratellanza.
I lavori del congresso sono ripresi e si sono conclusi la mattina
successiva dopo che i delegati avevano consumato assieme la prima
colazione da Brunetti, il caffè italiano più noto e più frequentato di
Melbourne. La sessione finale, presieduta dal dott. Barbaro, è stata
animata da una libera discussione volta a stabilire una linea di azione
comune, ferma restando l’autonomia di ogni singola sezione. Molte le
idee che sono scaturite dalla discussione al punto che non è stato facile
per il dott.Barbaro sintetizzarle in una omogenea dichiarazione d’intenti.
La vastità geografica dell’Australia e i diversi contesti educativi, sociali
e culturali in cui operano le nove sezioni della Dante rendono difficile
dare compattezza ai loro sforzi e indirizzarli verso obiettivi comuni. C’è
stato chi ha suggerito di tenere il congresso ogni anno anziché ogni
due anni ed è stata riconosciuta da tutti l’importanza di mantenere
vivi e costanti i rapporti, sfruttando al meglio gli odierni strumenti
di comunicazione elettronica come l’internet e, qualora sia possibile
coprirne la spesa con sponsorizzazioni pubbliche o private, arrivare
alla pubblicazione di una rivista online che potrebbe fungere da anello
di congiunzione fra tutte le sezioni. Alcuni partecipanti alla discussione
hanno messo in risalto l’opportunità di sostenere il modello educativo
COD illustrato dal dott. Joseph Lo Bianco diffondendone la conoscenza
e promuovendone l’efficacia nelle scuole dove si insegna la lingua
Il congresso ha chiaramente indicato che la Società Dante Alighieri in
Australia è viva e vegeta e più che mai motivata ad assolvere la sua
funzione di portabandiera del patrimonio linguistico e culturale italiano.
Impeccabile l’organizzazione, curata in tutti I dettagli dal presidente
della sezione di Melbourne Dominic Barbaro e dalla sua gentile
consorte con l’ausilio del vicepresidente Mary Marcuccio e degli altri
membri del comitato, in particolare Claudia McLean. Da segnalare
infine l’ottima prestazione di Teresa Colaianni nel ruolo di maestro
di cerimomia e l’entusiasmo con cui Ester Marcuccio, insegnante
di storia, geografia e italiano (CLIL) del St Monica’s College, ha
organizzato e presentato le esibizioni di studenti di italiano che si sono
cimentati con grande coraggio nella recitazioe di brani della Divina
Commedia e studenti vincenti del Poetry Competiton. Il prossimo
congresso sarà organizzato e ospitato dalle sezioni di Brisbane e il
Gold Coast in data da definirsi.
Ivano Ercole
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
The 2014 Biennial Conference
enhances the role of DAS Australia as
a major Italian cultural institution
The 2014 Biennial Conference of the Dante Alighieri Society in Australia
took place from the 10th to 12th of October in the Conference Rooms
of Museo Italiano – CoAsIt in Melbourne. Organized by the Melbourne
branch, the conference focused on the challenges that lay ahead of
DAS Australia as it was clearly indicated in the title “Quo Vadis? The
future of the Italian language in Australia”. Even if Italian is one of
the foreign language most taught in Australian schools, the number of
people who can speak it is steadily declining as a consequence of the
gradual disappearance of first generation Italian immigrants. The great
majority of their children and grandchildren, while remaining culturally
connected to Italy, do not speak the Italian language and in many cases
are struggling to find the motivation to learn it.
By a mere coincidence the conference happened a week before the
14th edition of the week of the Italian language abroad and a few days
ahead of the largest conference ever on the Italian language in the
world, convened in Florence by the Italian Ministries of Foreign Affairs
and of Arts, Culture and Tourism. The Melbourne conference could not
certainly compete with such events but it is worth mentioning that DAS
Australia has a history and a background that few other Italian cultural
institutions can boast considering that the first Australian branch was
born in Melbourne in 1896, just seven years after the founding of the
Society in Italy.
The conference was opened on October 10th with a brief ceremony
followed by a reception that allowed the delegates to socialize and
enjoy each other’s company. The vice president of the Melbourne
Dante, Mrs. Mary Marcuccio, welcomed the delegates and the
authorities invited to the ceremony and read the messages of
good wishes sent by the President of DAS headquarters in Rome,
Ambassador Bruno Bottai, the Secretary General, Dr. Alessandro Masi
and the Italian Ambassador to Australia Dr. Pier Francesco Zazo. This
was followed by an introductory speech by the president of Melbourne
Dante Dr. Dominic Barbaro, who highlighted the many activities of
DAS in Australia, but also acknowledged its difficulties in the current
cultural context that emphasizes the study of science and technology,
neglecting the importance of language learning despite its high cultural
and educational value. “There is no doubt that we are confronted with
problems,” said Dr. Barbaro urging the delegates to consider them
seriously and to draw strategies aimed at overcoming them. For the
first time the conference program was not limited to an overview of
the activities held by the various branches but it also included a few
sessions dedicated to analysis and discussion on how to ensure a
future to the Italian language and culture in Australia.
Dr. Barbaro’s opening address was followed by a vibrating speech
by Tom Hazell, an historical figure of Melbourne’s Dante of which he
has been a member for almost half a century and president for over
thirty years. Speaking in Italian, Tom Hazell pronounced what can be
described as his moral testament, rooted in the experience of a man
who, while not of Italian origin, has embraced the language and culture
of Italy, electing the latter as his adopted country.
The ceremony was to be attended by the Hon. Marco Fedi, member of
the Italian Parliament for the electoral district of Africa, Asia, Oceania
and Antarctica but he was held in Italy by an important parliamentary
meeting and entrusted his friend and collaborator Ivano Ercole with the
task of reading a message of congratulations and support for the work
done by Dante Alighieri Society in Australia. The Italian Consul General
for Victoria and Tasmania, Dr. Marco Maria Cerbo, ended the opening
ceremony with words of appreciation for the Society’s pivotal role as a
major Italian cultural institution and wished the delegates a fruitful and
productive conference.
The conference works started in the early morning of Saturday,
October 11th with the reports by a first group of branches operating
in Australia. The Tasmania and Townsville branches sent a message
of apology for being unable to send delegates to the conference but it
should be noted that the State of Queensland was amply represented
by the branches of Brisbane, Cairns and the Gold Coast. The reporting
speakers of this session were the vice president of Melbourne,
Mary Marcuccio; the president of Canberra, Franco Papandreou; the
president and vice president of Brisbane, Elizabeth Jarvis and Rosalia
Miglioli; the president of the Gold Coast, Giovanna Santomauro, and
the president of Cairns, Pauline Morris.
An account of each report would be a longsome exercise but on
the whole it can be said that, in the two years since the previous
conference, the branches of the first group, such as those of the
second group whose reports were presented in the afternoon, have
carried out a program full of activities notwithstanding their limited
human and material resources. The efforts of all branches have focused
on activities designed mainly to stimulate the interest of children and
young people towards the Italian language through poetry and arts
competition and with conversation groups for high school students.
The same commitment has been put in to cultural and social activities
for members and sympathizers which allowed some branches to
increase and some other to halt the number of their members. If
one keeps in mind that the work of the Dante’s committees is done
on a voluntary basis, the amount of activities and initiatives is truly
remarkable and worthy of praise. The various reports highlighted the
tenacity and determination of the committee members of each branch.
After the reports of the first group of branches, the conference
welcomed its special guests including Senator Concetta Fierravanti
Wells, undersecretary of the Federal Minister of Social Services, who
especially came from Canberra to pay tribute to the high contribution
by DAS to the multicultural reality of Australia; State Minister of
Victoria for Planning, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Matthew
Guy; President Emeritus of CoAsIt and former Governor of the State
of Victoria, Sir James Gobbo and the director of the Italian Cultural
Institute in Melbourne, Dr. Lina Panetta. Each of them expressed their
appreciation for the work of DAS in Australia and, in recognition of
their support, Dr. Barbaro presented to each of them a book on the
centenary of Melbourne’s Dante and a medal of merit sent by the
Central Committee of Rome.
The conference then came to one of its most significant and qualifying
moments with a lecture by the guest speaker, Dr. Joseph Lo Bianco,
professor of Language Science at the Melbourne Graduate School of
Education of the University of Melbourne. On the basis of his long
academic experience and his research work, Dr. Lo Bianco, used the
following question as the title of his lecture: “Can the Italian language
continue to thrive in the Australian education system?”. After taking
into consideration the risk that the Italian language in Australia might
experience, the decline it experienced in other countries like the US,
Canada and Argentina, where, despite a conspicuous presence
of citizens of Italian origin, it is poorly spoken and poorly taught in
schools, Dr. Lo Bianco proposed as an effective way of teaching the
language, i.e. a method identified by the acronym COD, from the initials
of the English words “Capacity”, “Opportunity” and “Desire”, which
by a rare coincidence also reflects the initials of the corresponding
Italian word “Capacità”, “Opportunità” and “Desiderio”. Dr. Lo Bianco
also resorted to a bit of humor when, translating “cod” into Italian, he
used the word “baccalà” raising a laugh in the audience and holding
its interest. The COD method is the result of a research conducted at
the University of Geneva and introduces an innovative approach to
language teaching based on three basic elements without which the
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
learning process tends to fade away. The three elements are expressed
in the need to instill in the student confidence in his “capacity” to learn
a language, give him the “opportunity” and kindle his “desire”. The
challenge, then, for DAS in Australia - concluded Dr. Lo Bianco - is to
ensure that these three essential elements constitute the pivot of Italian
language teaching in Australia. Only then our language “will continue
to thrive in the education system of this country.”
The teaching of Italian at university level was the topic addressed
by John Hajek and Matthew Absalom, two brilliant lecturers of
Italian language and literature at the University of Melbourne, who
showed statistical data indicating that the number of enrolments of
undergraduate students has been decreasing as a consequence of the
decline in the number of secondary school students who chose Italian
as a subject for their matriculation exams. How to change this trend is
one of the problems that the Dante Alighieri Society cannot solve on
its own and requires a joint effort by all institutions working in the field
of language teaching.
After the lunch break, the Congress moved to a debate on the presence
of the Italian language in school curricula. Moderated by Dr. Lo Bianco,
the debate offered an opportunity for many educationalists and
teachers to exchange experiences and ideas, and showed the passion
and drive that continue to inspire all those engaged in teaching Italian
in schools. The speakers who took part in the debate were: Ferdinando
Colarossi, director of the department of education of CoAsIt Melbourne;
Gabriella Bertolissi, director of the school language program of the
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Board; Frank Merlino, dean of
the Victorian School of Languages; Piero Genovesi, director of the
Italian Australian Institute; Paolo Baracchi, coordinator of the Italian
Historical Society; Patricia Sweeney, head of the language program at
Our Lady of Mercy College in Heidelberg; Gail Amato, vice president
of the Cultural Association Aurora; Ivana D’Aprano, coordinator of
the language teaching program at Brunswick South Primary School;
Teresa Colaianni, teacher of St Andrew’s Primary School, Clayton
South; Pina Iapozzuto, Italian teacher at Our Lady of Mercy College in
Heidelberg; Pina Dunne, head of Languages and teacher at St Monica’s
College Epping, one of the schools that operates the CLIL (Content and
Language Integrated Learning) program; Kathy Marino, coordinator of
the language program at De La Salle College in Malvern and Maria
Calandro, head of the Lote program at McGuire College in Shepparton.
The day ended with the reports of the remaining four branches of Perth,
Mildura, Adelaide and Sydney. The speakers were: Carlo Pennone,
vice president of Perth; Lina Kadziela, president of Mildura; Luciana
d’Arcangeli, president of Adelaide and Daniela Shannon and Ernesta
Dias, president and director of the school program of the Sydney
branch. Their reports as those presented by the other branches in the
morning session, further confirmed the great commitment by all DAS
branches in Australia. A special mention goes to the Adelaide branch
that looks after the PLIDA scheme across Australia which offers those
who teach and learn the Italian language a set of opportunities including
the possibility of obtaining through examinations a certification of their
linguistic competence.
On Saturday evening, all delegates and members gathered in the
Italian restaurant Il Gambero on the Park in Lygon Street, a street of
Melbourne historically connected to the Italian presence in Australia,
and had a great time together, so much so that at the end of dinner
many of them joined their voices and sang traditional Italian tunes in a
most joyful atmosphere.
The conference resumed and reached its conclusion on Sunday
morning after the delegates had breakfast together at Brunetti, the
most popular Italian cafè of Melbourne. The final session, chaired
by Dr. Barbaro, allowed a free discussion aimed at establishing a
common line of action. Many ideas and proposals emerged from the
general discussion to the extent that it was not easy for Dr. Barbaro
to combine them into a homogeneous mission statement. There
were those who suggested holding the conference every year instead
of every two years and all delegates recognized the importance
for the branches to remain in contact, making the most of today’s
electronic communication tools and possibly getting to the publication
of an online magazine. Some delegates highlighted the opportunity
to support the educational model COD illustrated by Dr. Joseph Lo
Bianco, by promoting its adoption by schools where Italian is taught.
The conference demonstrated that the Dante Alighieri Society in
Australia is alive and well and more motivated than ever to fulfill its
role as a leading Italian cultural institution. The organization of the
conference by the Melbourne committee was excellent as well as
the performance of Teresa Colaianni in the role of MC and of Ester
Marcuccio who organized and presented readings from the Divine
Comedy by Italian language students. The next conference will be
hosted jointly by the DAS Gold Coast and Brisbane branches at a date
to be decided.
Ivano Ercole
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
A Tribute to my father, Soccorso Santoro 1902 - 1961
My father, Soccorso Santoro, was born near
Naples, Italy in 1902. After graduating in
medicine from the University of Genoa and
internship at Allessandria, north of Genoa, he
was called up for military service as an officer
in the ‘Battalion of Doctors and Pharmacists’.
After completing his military service, he
decided to travel around the world and as
he spoke English well and Italy was an ally
of Britain in the 1914-1918 war, he took the
sensible precaution of registering his Genoa
medical degree in London on 10 June, 1930.
There was reciprocity of medical degrees
with Britain therefore making his degree
acceptable throughout the English speaking
world. He sailed to Australia on the Orient
Line’s “Orama” which left Naples on 29 June,
He arrived in Melbourne well equipped with
the appropriate medical, surgical, obstetrical
and even dental instruments ( his degree
gave him the rights to practice dentistry,
which he never did). He commenced practice
at ‘Professional Chambers”: 110 Collins
Street, Melbourne in August, 1930.
In 1933, he married my mother Vida Clancy.
I was born in 1935 and the cost of the
confinement was ten pounds, fifteen shillings
and sixpence ($21.55). His gross income in
1934 was 761 pounds ($1522.00) and in
1935 he stated in his tax return that as his
“…practice consists of mainly Italians…are
scattered in all suburbs of Melbourne… (his)
average monthly mileage is 1200”. He noted
that petrol was 1 shilling and seven pence
(15 cents) per gallon (3.5 cents per litre)!
My father’s practice in Collins was not easy.
Most of the patients were working class
Italians who would on occasions sit on the
floor along the corridor, to the surprise of the
three piece suited, watch chained specialists
in other rooms in the building. He spent a
great deal of time translating for patients and
accompanied them to specialists.
My father was President of the Dante
Alighieri Society (a society formed in 1889
to promote Italian culture and language) from
1931 to 1959. When he resigned, due to ill
health he received a gold medal ‘Societa`
Dante Alighieri’ for his long service to the
society and promoting the Italian language.
From 1933 to 1940 he was a delegate of the
Italian Red Cross and was responsible for the
collections of financial donations. Also, he
was the official doctor of the Italian Consul
General in Melbourne and the Italian shipping
This was an era of great respect for the
family doctor who was the confidant of
many families. Migrants had to turn to
someone who could understand them and
their family ties. As their children mixed
with local children, family strictness and
unity tended to break down; many children
refused to speak Italian and were desperate
to be considered Australian. This rejection
of the older migrants became very upsetting
especially as the young had to be relied upon
as interpreters.
My father took me on home calls around
Carlton where the Italian families were
roasting coffee or making spaghetti, ravioli,
salamis or prosciutto. All work would cease
and the whole family would become involved
in prolonged quiet conversation with my
father regarding some medical problem. It
was unusual for him to complete a home call
in under one hour.
When war was declared he was interned
in a camp at Tatura in Victoria. Due to my
mother’s efforts as an Australian citizen he
was interned for only 6 weeks, compared
with other Italians interned for the duration of
the war. He was released on condition that
he reported to the Kew Police Station three
times a week and did not travel more than
40 kilometres from Kew. He was not allowed
near the beach on Port Philip Bay as there
was a possibility that he would signal to
enemy shipping! He was allowed to continue
the practice of medicine at 110 Collins Street,
Melbourne. However, he was advised that
whenever he was seeing an Italian patient,
no more than two other Italians were to be
in the waiting room at the same time – any
other Italians were advised to ‘go for a walk
around the block’. This was to prevent any
conspiracies from occurring. For the same
reason tennis could not be played at the
family home if it involved other Italians. Also,
it was illegal to speak a foreign language
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
on the telephone .Our house was searched
for subversive literature by the Australian
authorities but they did not find the complete
Dante Alighieri Society library hidden under
the house. Our family was nevertheless
treated with great courtesy by the authorities
and the few times I went to visit my father
at Tatura camp, at the age of 6, I remember
Australian soldiers giving me oranges and
playing with me.
After the war, in 1948, my father made his
first trip back to Italy to see his family. The
plane trip from Melbourne to Rome took 96
hours. My father worked tirelessly to promote
the Italian community in Australia, for
instance by mobilizing Italian Clubs and their
members to donate to St. Vincent’s Hospital
building programmed in 1953 and presenting
Melbourne Public Library in 1956 with 200
books by Italian authors to demonstrate the
rising importance of the Italian language in
this city. 1956 he was given the responsibility
to be the Official doctor for the ‘Squadra
Olimpica Italiana’, in Melbourne for the 16th
Olympic Games.
In 1960 the Italian language was accepted
as a subject at the University or Melbourne
and an annual ‘Dr. Santoro Prize’ is donated
to the best student in first year Italian at this
University. My father received the honour
of ‘Cavaliere Ufficiale’ from the Italian
government. In 1961, on a trip to Genoa, he
suffered a heart attack and was admitted to
the same hospital in which he studied his
medical course. In the months prior to his
death, he had contacted many of the 1926
university of Genoa Medical School graduates
and was well on the way to arranging a
35 year reunion. He wished to renew his
acquaintances with his colleagues and hear
their stories of medical practice throughout
Italy’s turbulent years; it was not to be. He
died on 10 July, 1961, aged 59. having
practiced in Collins Street for 31 years.
I graduated at Melbourne University the year
after my father died. Internship at Queen
Victoria Hospital and locums in a few Italian
and Australian practices made me decide
to commence practice in the inner, then
industrial suburb of Richmond where many
Italians lived and worked.
I was on call 24 hours a day to a large group
of patients, as my father was. Deputizing
services were a godsend to the solo GP, so
in 1970, I assisted in planning a successful
service which still operates as a locum
deputizing service today.
The capacity to communicate in Italian
is particularly satisfying, but the cultural
understanding of illness is also vitally
important. “Fire of St. Anthony” explains
the excruciating pruritis of shingles nicely! I
enjoyed the numerous home visits which gave an enormous insight into
patient care.
I still found time for community service as office bearer of the Victoria
Branch of the AMA (Australian Medical Association) and of the Medical
Benevolent Association. In my year as president of the Victorian Branch
of the AMA I formed the Italian, Greek and Chinese Medical Societies and
was the inaugural president of the Italian Medical Society for 14 years. I
have a particular interest in the aging migrant’s special needs and have
been involved in providing specialized accommodation.
I was very proud to be honoured by both the Italian and Australian
Governments, as ‘Commendatore’ and Officer of the Order of Australia for
my contribution to the health and welfare of the Italian community.
Recently I have been involved with Dr. Tony Mariani current president
of the Italian Medical Society in the production of a 300 page book on
preventative medicine in English and Italian to assist migrants in lifestyle
choices. With migration to Australia continuing there is still much to be
done toward compassionate primary medical care. My family’s input gives
me great pride.
Dr. George Santoro AO
1962 Graduated Melbourne University, MBBS
1965-2001 Solo general practice in Richmond, Victoria
1970-2001 Nominated Medical Officer for Italian government, assessing Italian pensions & past work injury claims from Italy
1976-1999 Treasurer & President Medical
Benevolent Association of Victoria
1977 Cavaliere, Order of Solidarity of
Republic of Italy
1983 President, Victorian Branch AMA
1983-current Director, Medical Defence Association of Victoria
1984 Cavaliere Ufficiale Republic of Italy
1983-1996 Inaugural president Italian Medical
John Francis (Jack) Miller OAM
3rd May 1924 - 17th January 2014
Extract from Eulogy delivered by Justice Richard
Tracey at the Requiem Mass for John Francis
(Jack) Miller OAM on 23rd January 2014:
“Once in a lifetime we may be fortunate enough to
encounter a truly great person. Great in the sense
of one who is utterly selfless and without guile and
is devoted to his God, his Church, his country,
his family, his friends and the many others who
needed his help. We have all been blessed to have
known such a man and we are here this morning
to commemorate his life and commit him to the
eternal care of God whom he loved and served so
Jack made friends easily. Once made, those
friendships endured. He sought out and found the
best in everyone.
Jack contributed to the work of so many
organisations that it is impossible to refer to them
all. For many years, Jack was a long-time member
of the Dante Alighieri Society who served as
treasurer and auditor on the executive committee
for several years, and he very much enjoyed his
1986-1994 Federal Council, Australian Medical Association
1988-1989 Chairman, Lord Mayor’s Fund Metropolitan Hospitals and Charities
1989-1997 Board member & chairman, St.Carlo Complex for Italian Aged
1990 Member, Order of Australia (AM)
1994 Commendattore Order of Merit Republic of Italy
1994 Director and Treasurer, Melbourne Division of General Practice
1994-1999 Board Faculty of Medicine
University of Melbourne
1996-2007 Member of Order of Australia
Council (Governor General’s committee for Australian Honours)
Officer, Order of Australia (AO)
association with the Society. He was a member
of the Society of Certified Practising Accountants
for over 55 years and was the honorary auditor for
many not for profit bodies.
Jack supported many charities and in 1998 his
community service was recognised with the award
of an Order of Australia medal.
A moving tribute paid by a teaching colleague
“Jack’s willingness to sacrifice himself at the
meagre requests of any person requiring help will
testify his readiness to aid any person. I can vouch
for him one for the kindest and most considerate
persons known to me. The world would be at a
great loss to even attempt his replacement. Jack
has aided and helped many with his philosophy
and widespread knowledge of things available
worldwide that anyone who has shared in this is
indeed fortunate in the extreme.”
I am sure, that all of us who have known Jack
endorse and adopt this moving tribute to him.”
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Italian day at St Mark’s School, Fawkner
Buongiorno a tutti,
Thursday, 28th August, 2014 (giovedì, il ventotto di agosto) was
definitely “una bella giornata”! It was one of the best Italian Days I have
had the pleasure to organise. We had a fabulous performance by the
comedic duo of James and Mario (from La Comica Variety); we had an
interesting array of outdoor activities, assisted by students from John
Fawkner Secondary College; we had art-themed and literacy-themed
activities in the classroom; we had delicious gelato at recess; we
were served tasty pasta and garlic bread for lunch, and finally we had
plenty of happy visitors who came through our doors - all receiving
excellent hospitality and genuine welcome by a band of extremely
helpful St. Mark’s personnel. What a full day! My thanks go to my
exemplary colleagues for joining in the jovial spirit of the day; to RMIT
student Emma who did a fabulous job taking the fotografia during the
performance; to the Parents and Friends volunteers who ran around
with caffè e biscotti, tortellini e penne; to the students who helped
set up the sala with decorations; to Francesca and Bianca who sang
a Ricchi e Poveri song so beautifully in Italian; to the group of boys
- Paul, Pasquale, Lochie and Connor - who led us in a whole-school
chant (“Tortellini, I like tortellini!”); to the whole school population
who behaved so well during the entire show and the outdoor and
art/literacy activities; to Mr. Bourne, our “preside” who is always
extremely positive about celebrating such important occasions around
our school (wasn’t the sala just a perfect venue for the enthusiastic
theatrics of Pippo and Pasquale with their frigo and their forno???!!):
and last, but not least, of course our thanks go to our appreciative
invited guests: genitori, nonni, presidi e insegnanti dalle scuole vicine
a noi, e Signora Marcuccio.
To everyone, I say a heartfelt GRAZIE for your collaboration. The Term
3, 2014 Italian Day will long live on in my memory, as will the gorgeous
sunny weather. I feel I need to repeat myself: last giovedì really was
una bella giornata!!!
Donna Salera
- taken from St Marks’s School Newsletter
Students Celebrate All Things Italian Style
The students at Glenferrie Primary School in Hawthorn celebrated
Italian Day on Thursday the 30th of October.
The sun came out, the parents came to assist and the students enjoyed
the varied cultural activities and had lots of fun!
‘Evviva L’Italiano’ was the theme and it was a sea of verde, bianco e
rosso! The students came to school dressed up as an Italian character
or in the Italian colours. There were Ferrari drivers, La Befana, a giant
gelato, pizzas and even ‘La Mona Lisa’ and Pinocchio the puppet made
a presence.
The day began with ‘Tarantella’ music. The students sang and the Vice
President from The Dante Alighieri Society Melbourne, La Signora
Marcuccio formally opened the day with the cutting of the ribbon.
The turf was transformed into mini soccer clinics with the students
practicing their soccer skills. Bocce was played, Pinocchio the puppet
was created whilst others practiced their number skills with ‘Tombola’.
The students learnt a little more about Michelangelo and about Mosaics
and The Leaning Tower of Pisa activity was a challenging Maths
session for the senior school. The students practiced their balancing
skills with The Waiter’s Race as well as trying to throw ‘3 Coins into
The Trevi Fountain’. The students were thoroughly engaged with all
aspects of the day!
Over 360 pizzas were delivered to the school for lunch and an Italian
gelato was a treat in the afternoon. Looking back now and reflecting
on the day, it was a wonderful feeling to know that we have such
a wonderful school community who enthusiastically and strongly
support our annual Italian cultural event and our Italian Program.
All the students learn about the Italian language and culture as part of
the Language and Literacy Curriculum of the school.
Signorina Paladino
Italian Teacher and Coordinator, Glenferrie Primary School
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
Commencing dates for Semester One, 2015 are as follows:
Mondays: 16th February – 1st June
(9th March public holiday)
Tuesdays: 17th February – 26th May
Wednesdays: 18th February – 27th May
Thursdays: 19th February – 28th May
Term 2 begins 13th April
Locations for Term 1 and 2 are:
• Dante Alighieri Society Office
308 Drummond Street, Carlton
• Parade College
1436 Plenty Road, Bundoora
• Our Lady of Mercy College
42 Cape Street, Heidelberg
• Sacred Heart Girls’ College
113 Warrigal Rd, Oakleigh
• Siena College
815 Riversdale Rd, Camberwell
• St. John’s Regional College
5-9 Caroline Street, Dandenong
• St Monica’s S.C.
16 Davvison St, Epping
• Strathmore Secondary College
400 Pascoe Vale Rd, Strathmore
• Mercy College
760 Sydney Road, Coburg
• De La Salle College
1318 High Street, Malvern
Dr Dominic Barbaro and Committee of Management
wish all our members and supporters
a safe and happy Christmas and a wonderful 2015.
La storia del Panettone
C’è una piccola storia legata al panetttone, poplarissimo dolce di
Natale. Si racconta infatti che ai tempi di Ludovico il Moro, viveva a
Milano un fornaio chiamato Toni. Un giorno si presentò a lui un giovane
dall’aspetto gentile, che voleva apprendere il mestiere. Toni lo guardò
un pò dubbioso e gli disse:
<Le tue mani sono troppo delicate; scommetto che non hai mai
<Perchè non mi metti alla prova? Ti mostrerò di che cosa sono capaci
le mie mani> rispose il giovane con una cert’aria di sfida.
A Toni piacque la risposta del giovane e acconsentì. In verità, il nuovo
garzone era un nobile che si era innammorato della figlia di Toni ed
aveva chiesto al padre per poter essere più vicino alla fanciulla.
Il giorno dopo, si mise all’opera e, aggiungendo uva secca e noci
all’impasto del pane, produsse un pane completamente diverso da
quello iniziale. I clienti di Toni furono così piacevolmente sorpresi che
cominciarono ad ordinare in quantità. Lo chiamarono Pan de Toni
trasformato in seguito in panettone.
Simo sicuri che, dopo il gran successo del Pan de Toni, il fornaio sia
stato più propenso a perdonare l’inganno e vedere di buon occhio il
Buon Natale a tutti!
Dante Alighieri Society - Melbourne Branch - Diecembre 2014
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