16 June, 2022
Family’s 100-year milestone
MAREEBA educator Lesa Moro knows just how important it is to celebrate family history and so it was recently when the 100th anniversary of her relatives’ journey to Australia from Italy came about.
Ms Moro, a deputy principal at Mareeba High School, is the great granddaughter of Luigia de Lazzari who made her way to Australia from Italy in 1922 in search of a better life.
The Moro family gathered in Townsville on 4 June to mark the milestone of when her great grandmother arrived in Australia from the port of Genoa.
“We wanted to get together for the 100-year celebration and we planned to go to Italy but Covid hit and we ended up going to Townsville where the boat landed and celebrated there instead,” Ms Moro said.
Poor conditions in Italy following the First World War resulted in many Italians searching for work and a better life abroad which is why Luigia - the second eldest of 14 siblings – wanted to come to Australia to join her brother Luigi and aunt Caterina who had migrated to North Queensland two years earlier.
The then 23-year-old left Genoa on 20 April 1922, travelling on the ship “Moncalieri” with her older sister Corona and Corona’s one-year-old son, Orfeo.
After a three-month journey the “Moncalieri” arrived at Townsville on 3 June with 226 Italian migrants.
The majority were men, with only 12 women and six children on board. By coincidence, Luigia’s future husband, Francesco Moro, was also travelling to Australia on the same ship.
Francesco disembarked separately from Luigia, and they wouldn't meet until they were both living at South Johnstone in North Queensland.
“They came over together on the same boat at the same time but didn't know each other but they met when they settled in Innisfail and got married a little while later in 1923,” Ms Moro said.
“My grandfather Angelo was the first born son of Luigia and Francesco and had my great Aunty Rena and then my great Uncles John and Gary.”
Ms Moro’s cousin Pauline Vallely looked into the history of the family and had discovered interesting stories about her great grandparents' journey on the boat.
“Pauline is putting together a book on our family and the journey and we've been helping her out where we can and making connections,” she said.
“Our family, the Moros, are a farming family and Luigia and Francesco Moro were very successful cane farmers at Mena Creek and we all grew up around farming.”
After some years of ill health, Luigia passed away in Ingham at the age of 60.
Last week, the family, including her great Uncle Gary and his children from Brisbane, gathered for lunch at Skybury Coffee to reminisce and recall stories about Luigia and Franscesco.