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From the Veneto to Frogmore Road:

Stories of Italian market gardening 1930's - 1960's (see videos below)

In the 1920s, a group of eight men, escaping the poverty of the Veneto region in Italy, arrived in Adelaide.

Together with their wives and children, the men established market gardens on neighbouring leaseholds near the River Torrens at what is present-day Kidman Park. The section of land they worked is now bounded by Grange, Findon, Valetta and Frogmore Roads.

The families grew tomatoes and beans in glasshouses that measured 15 feet by 112 feet. These were taken apart sheet by sheet and moved every two years to avoid disease. In 1950 most of the market gardeners bought their ten-acre lots.

In 2006, oral historian, Madeleine Regan, began an oral history project that led her to the stories of these men and their families. The sons and daughters of the first market gardeners have maintained deep and strong connections with each other. While the market gardens have gone, some have preserved their links to the land by living on or near Frogmore Road.

Several of these sons and daughters have generously shared with Madeleine their stories and memories of growing up in the 1940s and 1950s. They talked about their experiences of Italian family life, growing up as children of migrant parents, the war years, and their family livelihood of growing vegetables.

Watch four short videos of Johnny Marchioro sharing some memories of his Frogmore Road childhood and his life as the son of market gardeners.

About Johnny
Johnny Marchioro is the elder son of Vittorio Marchioro. Vittorio migrated to Adelaide in 1927 as a 21 year old, following in the footsteps of his brother and sister-in-law. They had migrated from Malo in northern Italy one year earlier. Angelina, Johnny's mother, married Vittorio by proxy and arrived in 1937. They too made their first home on Frogmore Road.
Johnny was born in 1940, the eldest of two sons. His first 10 years were spent on the Frogmore Road market garden where both he and his brother assisted their parents in the glasshouses.

For more information on this project please contact the Cultural Heritage Project Officer on 8408 1368.

 

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