• The side of the house in Morwell Avenue.
  • Ellen, Sam, Frank and Nick in their Morwell Avenue driveway.
  • Mum is happily glowing in this photo.
  • An image I found from 1963 of the Dandenong South State School.
  • Sam is in Grade 6A in 1967.
  • A proud photo in front of Dad's finished garage.
  • Frank's school photo from 1968.
  • A precious photo Dad took.
  • An image I found of the Milk Bar on Kirkham Road.
  • An old advertisement for Choc Wedges.
  • A disembarking passenger manifest from July 1965.
  • The inwards passenger disembarking manifest from July 1965.
  • 27 Morwell Avenue, Dandenong South.

When they first came to Australia in 1965, Dad and Mum had bought a block of land in Dandenong South at 27 Morwell Avenue. Nonno Salvatore and a few of Dad's brothers who had migrated here earlier also lived close by. Although a little difficult, they would have to stay with family and friends while their home was being completed. Dad had their house built just how Mum wanted it and she was so happy. Unfortunately, they didn't have the money to finish the garage at that time. Mum and Dad saved hard and a year or two later he would add on the garage and build it himself. Ellen recently told me that Mum was so happy as they had made our traditional Italian sausages that year, but this time she was able to hang them up in her garage.

Time had gone by a little which meant that Dad could not get the same colour bricks to match the house, but instead he got a very different reddy colour. They loved that colour and Dad would also use this colour brick for their house in their Gladstone Road home in the future.

In late 2019, I took Ellen on a memorable drive to Dandenong South where we went past their house in Morwell Avenue. Her eyes just lit up as not only is the house still there, but it still looks good and in reasonable condition. The brick garage that Dad built was still standing too. We parked outside and we talked for a little while remembering the good old times and how quickly it went.

Ellen remembering the milk bar that was around the corner from their house. Unfortunately, it's no longer there, but the memories are still with her and now with me. She remembers walking there and going to buy a vanilla choc wedge with her brothers.

Mum would be home with Nick as he was just a toddler, but Sam, Frank and Ellen would go to school at the Dandenong South State School. Lucky as it had only recently opened up and was located on Kirkham Road. It wasn't too far for them to walk and thankfully there was only one road to cross over.  Ellen got a bit emotional when I took her past the school as it's still there and looks the same, except there is now a fence to keep the kids in.

The following year, Ellen would have to start year 7 at Cleeland High School in Cleeland Street, Dandenong. She would have to walk there and without her brothers. On her first day she walked to school with a family friend and arrived there safely. She unfortunately got lost on the way back home though as she had to try and remember the streets all by herself. It was a little scary for everyone as no one had mobile phones back then to find out where she was.

Mum and Dad decided after that incident that maybe she was old enough to look for a job. Ellen was so happy and found work not far from the primary school and still on Kirkham Road. It was called Liberty which then turned into Kaiser. We tried to find the factory too on that day, but it's changed a little bit so we weren't quite sure which one it was.

Nonno Salvatore also lived around the corner on Kirkham Road as he had arrived in Australia in July 1965. Ellen remembered the house straight away. She told me that when she was home alone cooking, Nonno would walk over to check up on her. He wanted to make sure that she was ok, but he also wanted to taste her yummy cooking. Ellen told me that Nonno wanted her to cook fresh tomato sauce with lots of fresh chillies from Dad's garden. Eating the hot sauce with spaghetti was his favourite and Ellen loved making it for him and seeing the happiness on his face.

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