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Bread on the Table
When Vincenzo Macri and Caterina Italiano immigrated to “L’America”, as Australia was then known amongst the Calabrese of Italy, they were searching for a better life after the scourges of World War II; for a land “so rich that even the pavements were made of gold.”
Instead, the author’s parents were to endure great poverty and hardship before they saw any of the fabled ‘gold’ that had enticed them here. Gathering stories of generations past from her parents and siblings, Lena Elliott explores the dilemma that troubled many first generation Australian-Italians. How could she become the true Australian she longed to be whilst satisfying her parents’ need for her to grow up Italian?
Set in Beaufort River, Kojonup, in the southwest region of Western Australia, this true story documents the culture, beliefs, traditions and values brought to Australia by her parents’ generation, and tracks her family’s journey from surviving to thriving in “the land of milk and honey”, with no shortage of ‘Bread on the Table’.
Education for girls in the author’s culture and era was seen as a waste of time and money and not to be encouraged. After all, you would marry, have children and then what?
Not to be deterred, after marriage and children, the author enrolled in university and fulfilled her ambition to become a schoolteacher.
‘Bread On The Table’ follows a prior contribution to the book, ‘Tell Their Worth – Tales of the Shire of Kojonup, Western Australia,’ published by the Kojonup Historical Society.
The author is well aware that we all create history and that it’s best told in our own words, which is why she strongly encouraged her siblings to contribute their own chapters.