I was in fights every day. While I couldn't speak English, I had no friends and I really had trouble at school... so then I started fighting. - Italo Martini
Mrs McQueen introduced my mother to the Australian
culture. I asked Mrs McQueen how
and she said she used the Italian language. I had never
but she meant she used her hands!
There was a little shop up the road and once Dida
to buy carrots. He said to me , "Ask the lady
for caro". So I asked for caro and
she gave me
kerosene. I said to the lady "No, no - that is not
right" with my hands
and I had to go back and ask
Dida again and he said carrots properly. I went
and she gave me carrots.
Many migrants who arrived in the fifties attended
government-funded English classes
at the Broken Hill High
School. They were taught by Patrick (Pat) Hackett
remembered by many with affection and gratitude.
I needed to learn a lot more,
so I went to English classes
two nights a week - Monday night from seven to nine and
Friday nights from seven to nine. This was a most
important time for me. My teacher
was Mr Pat Hackett.
He was a very good teacher and a gentleman.
We took the plane to Adelaide and the hostess offered
a coffee and I didn't know
how to say thank you. My
husband said to me "Can you say thank you?" The first
I used was "thank you".
I spoke only Italian while I was at Wilcannia. When I came
back to Broken Hill,
I went to classes at the Pig and Whistle
Hotel. I was supposed to go a second
year but I got a job in
the bush and I forgot about the classes. When I came
here, I was too far behind the others and I didn't go back.
Now, I realise
that was a mistake but at that time, I needed
I said to myself once I was here "If you want to live in this
country, you have
to start to learn the language." It is very
hard if you don't, and especially
hard if you want to go to
the doctor. You have to all the time take someone
"No" I said, "I have to start learning". So I did.
Rozalia (Rose) Cetinich
At first I had difficulty in understanding what
people were saying. That was
because I could speak the language , but in the
Philippines we are taught American-English and
Australian slang was confusing.
When dad arrived in Australia, he noticed that
outside of shops were many signs,
which said "Sale".
He thought to himself that Australians must use a
salt as "sale" in Italian means salt!
Greek children at the Greek Club
East School, c.1946