Entering a different world

Nonno’s trip to Australia.

Like many Mediterranean Europeans after World War 2, my nonno Ilario, my nonna’s father Ettore and brother Guerino left their homeland to start a new life in Australia. Many at this time usually went to either Australia, the United States, Canada, or New Zealand. My nonno saved up money to buy his ticket which was 197.800 Italian Lira (extinct Italian currency today) and went to the British consulate in Firenze (Florence) to get a photo taken in April 1951, to be prepared for his departure 2 months later.

They departed on the Cyrenia vessel, a retired Russian war ship, featured image, from the busy port in Genova (Genoa), Liguria, northwest from their villages. My great grandfather Ettore and son Guerino were heading over to Australia to make enough money to buy a house and a couple of years later sent my nonna, her mother, and her two younger brothers over to join them.

They were in third class and stopped off at many places along the way which they hadn’t even seen or heard of. The ports they stopped off along the way included Napoli (Naples) in Campania, Messina in Sicilia (Sicily), then onto Africa and Asia including Port Said in Egypt, Aden in Yemen, Colombo in Sri Lanka, Fremantle in Western Australia and finally arriving in Melbourne. It was a month long trip.

My nonno’s biglietto (ticket) for the trip to Melbourne

Credit: Ilario Bastiani

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