In 1956, there was a big frost in Italy, and nearly all the olive trees on our farm died. At that time, my father had friends in Australia telling him that money grew on trees, so he came over to see if it was true. Well, he arrived on a Saturday and started working on the Monday, in the Holden factory. When we arrived 3 years later, he was so excited to see us that he climbed up the anchor rope of the ship!
Dad worked hard, and Mum worked even harder. She would get up at 3 in the morning to go and work at Balfours, and I would get up that early to take her. Seeing my parents work hard was a part of my education, and gave me a strong work ethic.
As a result, I studied hard at high school, and got into Medicine. Even when I was still a student, I already had patients from the Italian community knocking on the door! Later, as well as working full time as a GP, I did a lot of work in the community. I was President of the Coordinating Italian Committee for 10 years, and had many other roles, such as President of the Multicultural Communities Council, Chairman of the Australia Day council and Convener of the Australian Republic Movement during the referendum. I’ve always liked helping people – I find it very satisfying. And when I feel strongly about something, I get involved.
I’m pleased that my parents decided to bring us here. I was lucky that they did all the hard work and we just took the fruits of it. But we saw what they did for us, and we appreciated it.
As a GP, I have a lot of patients who are new migrants, and they all want the same things that my parents wanted – just a good life for their kids, to be secure, and to be happy.
#migration #migrants #Italy #Australia #inspiration #storiesnotstereotypes
This is the true face of Italy- not that ghastly Tommy Soprano
The Italians, Greeks and other immigrants of the 1950’s and 1960’s bought such a wonderful diverse culture to Australia – and changed the “food” scene with all their culinary delights. Thank you so much!
What a great story Antonio! Parents play such a big role in the legacy they create for their children…you were blessed to have been modelled something that has shaped you for the rest of your life <3
Thank you for coming to Australia.
You spiced up our “meat and three veg” diet and showed us spaghetti did not need to come from a tin!
Hello fellow Australian. I am so pleased your father chose Australia and we are the richer for your family and most especially you, as citizens of our wonderful country. Best wishes
Same here for us Antonia but from Croatia In 1960. thank you for sharing your story – it will help to break down unfounded prejudices and fear.
I remember riding my bike meeting both mum and dad as they came home from work at 8.00pm after starting at 5.00am. I would hear the front door close every morning 4.30 Ish. They did it for us. Gee they had a hard life. That’s why I have alot of respect you doc. ????
Yes I am forever grateful to my parents for making the decision to come to Australia..my father came in 1952 and my mother, my elder sister and I followed in 1956 ..we have all worked hard …
Met him in 1974…looked after me and my family ever since..top bloke
One theme common to these stories of migrants to Australia is your work ethic and the gratitude you have for this country. That is something I hope to instill in my Australian born children. Put in, give back, and never take your life for granted.
The difference between these people and the ones that come here now is that these immigrants wanted to be Australian. They wanted to contribute to our society. The ones that come now don’t want to assimilate and are just looking for handouts from the government.
Wonderful story Antonio, we are so lucky to have had parents who sacrificed so much so we could have such a great life! I’m sure your parents would be proud!
We share a very similar story .father to Holden’s mum to Balfours only difference I didn’t study hard but still happy .great story and neither us or our children never forget the sacrifices of our parents .
So many examples exactly like this. So proud to have people in our country who have shown us so many cultures and really, set examples like this for all of us. It is this multi cultural Australia that we all love and should be so proud of.
Hey Doc .. fancy seeing you on my FB .. what a surprise .. I’m 51 and I’ve known you since I was about 5 … I think .. what’s up Doc Antonio … the best Doc in the world ????????????????
Clearly a very relatable story by so many Tony. Especially so considering Holdens is shutting down this year……
I imagine that if all those elderlies were still at Holdens, due to their work ethic, that it would have continued to be an extremely profitable organisation. The sacrifices they all made for us were incredible. Nice of you to share it.
Bravissimo caro Dr Antonio !!! A beautiful story !!! Of all our loved ones sacrifices !!!!!! To give us all a better place to live in !!!!! Nearly all of us !!!our Parents had to leave !! There was no staying back !! The family came first !!! A we all appreciate what our Parents did for us !!!! Thanks a beautifulllllllllllll story !!
Great story on your dad – yes, you should be very proud. I too can relate to this Rosalie Cocchiaro – my father too came to Australia and worked 3 jobs so that he was able to bring mum, his parents, all my uncles and aunties. Both mum and dad worked their butts off till retirement age to ensure not only that their children would be well looked after, but also all their grandchildren (they have 6!). So much respect for all the hard workers, especially when they had it hard.
Beautiful story but I’m a little freaked out… this man looks so much like my late grandfather that I’m wondering if we are related????
Proud of you Antonio and of Italian people that left our beautiful country and helped built a better culture all across the world. As other people do, of course. Thanks to the countries that host and welcome migrants.
The Italian immigrants were a fantastic asset to Oz. They brought only good things, great customs and food, and a wonderful attitude of joining our communities and becoming real Australians.
What a wonderful piece. Congatulations, just shows why you have such a beautiful and caring family… No wonder you are so proud of you parents Gino Cocchiaro x
Having known your parents, even after all this hard work, not unlike my parents they still remained a true “lady & gentlemen” …proud that we are part of the same family Antonio Cocchiaro
What a Beautifull story Dr Cocchiaro brought tears to my eyes. my dad came here also in 1952 thinking this was the land of opportunity to bring up a family I followed with my mum and sisters in 1957 a lot of people migrated here in the 50’s
What a beautiful story , Dr Tony .,, touched my heart & soul remembering the migrants that came here all those years ago .,, & made a better life . Thank you for sharing .., being my Dr since I was 11,,,,I’m so grateful to you !!
God Bless You !!!