Bundaberg’s Italian-Australian community gathered at The Waves on Saturday for an annual social meeting with guest speaker the Italian Consul, organised by Honorary Consular Correspondent of the Italian Consulate of Brisbane for the Wide Bay region, Gabriela Corridore.
Consul of Italy for Queensland and the Northern Territory Salvatore Napolitano said he was thrilled to be in the Bundaberg Region, where Italy had strong ties that had lasted decades.
“I am very happy to be here,” he said.
“As you know, Bundaberg is closely linked to Italy for its historical presence in the Italian community, and many young Italians still come here for work opportunities.
“I came here mainly as part of the consular mission to assist the community. We collect biometric data for the issue of passports, and we take fingerprints and other things to save them (community members) from having to travel to Brisbane.
“We also come here to listen to them, to hear them and any issues they may have, to offer help and answer questions.”
Mr Napolitano said the social meeting was an important way to show Bundaberg residents with an Italian heritage they were valued members of the community and that they held a significant part of history, both here and in Italy.
“In a way they bridge the relations between Italy and Australia,” he said.
“The same way I learned today about (Bert) Hinkler and his history where he was flying through Italy, so we are also looking to explore with the Mayor something we can do to strengthen the business relations, and social and cultural ways based on the community, such as stories based on Hinkler.”
Speaking with Mr Napolitano was Italian-born Anna Serefini who has lived in the Bundaberg Region for more than 50 years. She said meetings like this were important for the local community.
“I was married in Italy and we came here, and we had a pineapple farm – would you believe it,” Mrs Serefini said.
“We ran that pineapple farm for 30 years here.”
Mrs Serefini said the meeting was an important event for all Italians in the Bundaberg Region.
“Of course, this is an event for all of us,” she said.
“We have been doing many things together for many years, 20 to 25 years ago we use to get all together with the committee every month, but over time we are all getting old. So, it is nice to have this now.”
Mrs Serefini said it was nice to sit back and listen to the Voice D’Italia Choir, which was started many years ago by Sarina Marano, in conjunction with the Catholic Parish of Bundaberg.