Tasmanian Italians

17 Jul 2015, by cathhoward in Relations

picture 1Tasmanian Italians

The Italian community in Tasmania has been neglected by both historians of Italian migration and other Italian migrants in the Australian mainland as a consequence of its peripheral location and assumed cultural marginality.

Very little is known about their past and present, but it seems that Italians, firstly mainly musicians and entrepreneurs, started to arrive in the 1800s, and kept arriving until they reached a peak after WWII. Many Italian migrants worked in hydroelectric dam projects (http://www.hydro100.com.au/past), in the concrete industry and in one large silk and textile factory.

Two leading symbolic figures can be found among Italians in Tasmania: Diego Bernacchi (1853-1925), businessman and father of the explorer Louis Bernacchi (1876-1942), the first Australian to set foot in Antarctica; and Claudio Alcorso (1913-2000), industrialist, pioneer in winemaking, humanitarian and founder of the Italian club in Hobart.

Tasmanian Italians form a community that revolves around energetic clubs and cultural associations which have long strived for the creation of a specific diasporic identity and are now undergoing major transformations. Look here.pciture 2

This small gallery intends to show for the first time how memory is created through photographs in a community which self-identifies as Italian in one of the most remote areas of the world. It provides an initial glimpse on the community by focusing on the self-directed accumulation of photographic material by Teodino Ottavi, who has dedicated his life to the Italian community in Hobart. His efforts to record the history of the community are encapsulated in captioned photographic albums he has accumulated over a period of fifty years. These albums recount the activities that the community engaged with, as well as the efforts to combat isolation and solitude. ONLINE GALLERY.


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