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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Sociology »

Maria Tence on post war Italian migration

Mara Moustafine and Maria Tence.

Museum curator Maria Tence describes post war Italian immigration.



Date Added:

06 April 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

5.1 MB






In the post-war period, the preferred migration was for those of – those who could assimilate and Italians weren’t a favoured group in the way that they could assimilate. Although the community here was – was assimilated and had you know, done its part in the development of the Australian community. In the post-war period it was quite different because the preference was for Dutch and northern Europeans, part of that was then Germans, even though they were the strongest enemy during the war.


With mass migration program at the time, on the ladder of preferred groups, the Germans were above the Italians. And the Yugoslavs were above the Italians. The Greeks and the Italians were on a par I’d say. And that is simply because the Germans in their culture and customs were far closer to the Anglo Saxon community than the Italians and the Greeks were. So I think the Italians were discriminated against in the fact that you know, a number of reports had said that they were a lazy culture, that they didn’t have strong work ethic, which is quite remarkable considering the Italian community that were here were mostly self-employed and had worked and contributed and there was no evidence that it was anything but a strong, healthy working community who wanted to participate and contribute.


End transcript