Axe used by Salvatore Mazzarino to harvest and split the cane he grew to make his traditional Sicilian baskets, 1960s-2000s.
Salvatore Mazzarino migrated to Melbourne from Vizzini, a rural town in Sicily, Italy in 1961. From a farming family he had served in the Italian army during World War II. He married Gesualda Ragusa in 1947 and they migrated with their two children [a third would be later born in Melbourne] on the Flotto Lauro line 'TN Roma' in 1961. They finally settled in St Albans, purchasing the neighbouring block to provide for a generous market garden. Salvatore worked as a blacksmith at the Newport rail yards until he retired around 1984, but his passion was his garden and he utilised his farm cultivation skills to growing a diverse array of fruit, vegetable, herbs and flowers. The produce was primarily for family consumption but Salvatore gave much away to family, friends and neighbours. In order to collect and store the produce, Salvatore made baskets from cane that he grew himself in his garden. The baskets are woven in a Sicilian style and he probably learned the skill from his father.
Metal axe with wooden attachments on handle. The blade extends into the handle, formed from a single piece of metal. Two pieces of turned wood have been riveted to each side to form the handle.
This rich collection of hand-woven baskets, tools and photographs tells stories of migration, settlement on the outskirts of Melbourne, trade and industry, market gardening and traditional cultural practices through the baskets. This collection is particularly evocative because photographs document Salvatore Mazzarino at work in his market garden and with one of his hand-made baskets in use. It also enables the representation of disappearing male traditional cultural practices in the collection which is currently dominated by examples of women's creative cultural activities.
Donation from Marianna Rando, 10/10/2012
Past Owner & User
Cast into axe blade: "DROP FORGED / MADE IN GERMANY"
Type of item
330 mm (Length), 120 mm (Width), 25 mm (Depth)
Axe head is 20 mm deep.
34 mm (Width)