a multicultural Research Library

Making multicultural Australia

Search the complete site: ... Sitemap » ... Links to other sites »

multicultural Video »

Category: Interviews »

Subject: Immigration »

Maria Tence tells of Italian immigrants of the 1920s

Mara Moustafine and Maria Tence.

Historian and museum curator Maria Tence tells of Italian immigrants of the 1920s who thought they were arriving in America



Date Added:

27 March 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

3.8 MB






There were, you know small waves of migration in particularly- in particular after America had closed its migration in the 1920s, the news of going to America had reached Italy so people were migrating. And of course, to the Italians who’d gone to America and written back to their relatives, but couldn’t get to America because America had closed its migration, the idea of migrating was one that really – how would I say? – they became used to the idea of migrating. So when they came to Australia, that group of Italians thought they were going to America.


Because who’d heard of Australia? But they certainly had heard of America. So in fact, those early Italians that had come to the city areas were calling Australia, “L’America” because it was so – it was -they didn’t know it was more distant than America, but then in those days when you got on a ship, you know, there was no understanding of distance in those days, until they actually were on the ships for two months and they realised how distant Australia was.


End transcript