Black and white photograph of Gesualda Mazzarino and her daughter Marianna taken in their home town of Vizzini in Sicily, Italy before they migrated with Salvatore Mazzarino and son Angelo to Australia in 1961.

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.

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Black and white photograph of a mother and daughter in an outdoor setting, posing for the camera. There is a wall and overgrown buildings in the background.

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Digital Image


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.

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