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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Cultural Studies »

Maria Tence describes how Italians increasingly engaged with Australian society and its institutions

Mara Moustafine and Maria Tence.



Date Added:

15 April 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

6.7 MB






I think what changed was they – they pick up the language, they keep – they mind their own business, the kids start going to school, the kids brought status to them, you know, they became doctors and lawyers and – and became graduated and educated so – and the – and the ability to become landowners. I mean, a lot of these people worked for other people who had land in Italy and here, they were able to buy their own properties and owning homes was really important because in Italy that was not possible. So, in the ‘70s especially when Australia’s own social fabric was starting to open up and they – there was an acceptance of diversity and an acceptance of difference, Australians started to travel, you know getting on aeroplanes and going to Europe and seeing that people can live in harmony overseas. And appreciating different cultures, coming back with that all helped in the ‘70s.


You know, the higher education of their children, the immigrants themselves picking up the language, becoming accustomed to the system, knowing that it was a fair system, you know, they didn’t have to know someone in Council to get something done. You didn’t have to go to the – to get an appointment at the doctor, you know and bring four cheese wheels, that you know, you made an appointment and you were seen. You know, you could go to the bank and get a loan, you didn’t have to bring you know, the goat and the – and two chickens. And the Italians started to accept that – that that possibility was something they –that gave them opportunities, that they didn’t have back in Italy so that – that was all part of that period where Australia was opening up, they were becoming more accepting of Australians and we were contributing, the community as a whole was contributing to the broader community.


We were, you know making our own impact on the fashion industry, we were making our own impact on economic development. So I think that was all part of that development that was going on.


End transcript