I have been reading a most fascinating book about the story of Italian Migration to the Myrtleford district of Northern Victoria.
This area was for a long time a major spot for the production of tobacco. There are now no licenced tobacco producers but ten kilometres up the Ovens River Valley some of the best hops is grown.
The book is not about the growing of tobacco and hops – it is about the amazing effect of the mostly Italian migrants who came to Myrtleford and other areas of Australia in a number of specific waves. In the 1860’s the Unification of Italy was affecting the whole of the Italian peninsula causing disruption and displacement. It also coincided with the Australian Gold Rush.
Another wave was generated by the after effects of the First World War, and the rise of Mussolini and Fascism. Then came the Second World War and this time Australia made a conscious effort to attract migrants.
But this is not meant to be a history lesson. This is about a book that is fascinating to read. It could be read from start to finish or it could more easily, and in my opinion,be read in small tastes, to be sipped like Ovens Valley Wine.
The book was produced by a group from the Myrtleford and District U3A. There is probably a University of the Third Age somewhere near where you live. It began in France, spread to the UK and the Commonwealth including Australia and Canada, to Central and Eastern Europe. I have not been able to find anything in the USA and hope it is not because it has been labelled as “Anti-anything”.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s because it is a very interesting book to read during these locked down days. Also because I think the U3A concept is very valuable. You can look for one in your local area.
But mostly it is because Yvonne, of Hello World and ‘discarded shopping list‘ fame did a lot of the work. There are, for example about thirty interviews with thirty different families relating their family story. Yvonne interviewed and wrote up about half of these.
Of course – and this is a bit of a blatant piece of advertising – but I’m sure if you were interested you could acquire a copy through Yvonne. Mine arrive in thirty hours. Not bad for Covid-19 post.